Immigration Rights, Rules and Responsibilities of International Students in F-1 Visa Classification

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This information is for the use of international students in F-1 status at the University of Indianapolis. After reading this information, you should have a basic understanding of the important rights or benefits you have in relation to U.S. immigration regulations.

You should also have an understanding of your responsibilities for maintaining your lawful immigration status as an international student in F-1 status. You will not, however, have an understanding of the actual procedures which must be followed in order to apply for certain benefits. Consultation with, and assistance from, the International Services staff, will be necessary in order for you to exercise many of your rights.

Failure to Comply with Responsibilities

New laws passed by Congress include severe penalties for visitors who violate their status.

  • If you fail to comply with your immigration responsibilities, you may not be eligible for benefits associated with the F-1 visa status and, in some situations, may be subject to deportation and future exclusion from the U.S.
  • Violations include working without authorization, falling below full-time enrollment, and failure to request a program extension (I-20 Extension) prior to the expiration date on your Form I-20.
  • Monitor your immigration documents carefully and do not hesitate to consult with the International Services staff on any matter relating to your immigration status.

Registration and Course Load

You must register as a full time student and attend the school indicated on your I-20, while that school is in session. Summer enrollment is optional for most degree programs at the University of Indianapolis.   

  • For undergraduate students, full-time is defined as a minimum of 12 credits.
  • For graduate students the requirement is 9 credits or registration for Master's Thesis or Doctoral Research.

You request authorization to register less than full time if: 

  • you will complete studies by the end of the term and do not need a full course load to graduate; or
  • the International Services approves, in advance, a reduction in course load due to special circumstances such as illness, academic difficulties, etc.

Word Document Reduced Course Load Form

Transfer to a Different School

  • You are eligible to transfer from your present school to a different school if you maintain status and follow certain procedures.
  • You must consult the International Services staff for these procedures and notify them that you are planning to transfer.
  • Your new school must issue you a new Form I-20 in order to complete the transfer.

Word Document Transfer Out Form

Completion of Study

Upon completion of studies you may have the right to

  • continue study at the same school or a different school for a higher academic degree, certificate or program of academic work,
  • apply for Optional Practical Training ; or
  • take up to 60 days to depart the U.S. If you complete your studies before the expiration date listed on your I-20 you will have 60 days to prepare for departure.
    If you choose to remain in the U.S. for more than 60 days following the end of your program (without entering a new program or Optional Practical Training), you will be in violation of your immigration status, could be subject to deportation, and/or may be denied entry to the U.S. in the future.

Required Notification of Changes in Circumstances

  • You are required by immigration regulation to report changes in your address to the International Services within 10 days of the change.
  • You must notify the International Services if you change your major, your degree level, or source of funding, so you can be issued an accurate I-20.


  • You are required to file specific State and Federal tax forms each year and pay any taxes due, regardless of your status or whether or not you were employed. Additional information is available from the International Services.
  • The International Services sponsors a Tax Workshop every spring, during which an expert explains the tax obligations faced by international students and scholars.

Further information on the rights and responsibilities of international students in F-1 status, as well as counseling and assistance, is available from the International Services.