Maintaining F-1 Status header-img

Maintaining F-1 Status


Once you have completed your mandatory check-in and visa workshop requirements at TMU, it is your responsibility to review and understand the guidelines for maintaining F-1 status to ensure compliance with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) F-1 regulations during your academic program.

Failure to comply with F-1 regulations may result in the termination of your F-1 status and loss of future eligibility to enter the U.S.

Full-Time Enrollment

F-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment and make normal academic progress toward completion of their degree program.

  • Full-time Enrollment: minimum of 12 units per academic semester. (students are not required to enroll full-time for Summer classes)

Failure to maintain full-time enrollment during your program will result in severe consequences for your F-1 status.

*F-1 students are not allowed to drop below full-time enrollment without receiving prior authorization for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) from ISO.

Address Reporting

F-1 students are required to have a valid local mailing address and permanent foreign address at all times (P.O. box addresses not valid).

  • Local Address: Must be a valid, residential address in the Los Angeles area where you will be residing during your F-1 program at TMU. This address cannot be an address outside of the U.S., outside of California, or an academic department address (P.O. Box addresses not valid)

  • Permanent Address: Must be a valid, residential address outside of the United States (P.O. Box addresses not valid).

  • E-Mail: The e-mail address will be the primary method of communication that the ISO will use to contact you.

**Please keep all of your addresses up-to-date. Changes in address (local and permanent) must be updated using the I-20 Request Form within 10 days of the change. Failure to maintain a valid local and permanent address will affect your visa status and eligibility for services at ISO.

Valid Passport

All F-1 students must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future.


On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time (more than 21 hours per week) during winter and summer vacation. On-campus employment may include tutoring, lab work, reader appointments, or student positions at the campus library, bookstore, food/dining services, etc. F-1 students can work on-campus without obtaining employment authorization from ISO or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For jobs with TMU departments, please contact that specific department for job opportunities.

Off-Campus Employment

F-1 students may not engage in off-campus employment (including paid and unpaid internships) before receiving proper employment authorization from DCISS.

Types of Off-Campus Work Authorization:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Employment authorization approved by ISO for you to engage in an internship or employment opportunity directly related to your field of study and integral to your academic program.

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): Up to 12-months of employment authorization approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for you to gain practical experience in your field of study upon completion of a degree program.

**You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive wages from employment in the U.S.

Program Completion

Grace Period

Upon completion of your degree program, you have 60-days to:

  • Prepare for departure from the U.S.

  • Transfer to another school/degree program by requesting a SEVIS Transfer Out

  • Change your visa status

**Students may not exit and re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during their 60-day grace period.

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