Most Suffolk international students hold F-1 student status, a non-immigrant classification which allows you to remain in the U.S. as long as you are a properly registered full-time student.
It is important that you maintain lawful F-1 status while in the U.S. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your stay in the U.S. remains valid:
If you do not maintain your F-1 status per above, you may be eligible to apply for reinstatement through an application process with immigration.
There are some exceptions to the full time study rule. However, you must obtain special permission from ISSO prior to reducing your course load.
If a student encounters academic difficulties due to:
If a student needs less than full-time enrollment in the final semester of program to complete degree requirements.
F-1 students who do not complete their program of study by the expiration date noted on the I-20 form must apply for a program extension before the I-20 expiration date. Failure to extend your stay could jeopardize your legal status and will result in your having to file an application with the USCIS for reinstatement to status (with a $290 fee).
If you are in lawful F-1 status and are completing or leaving your current program with confirmed arrangements to continue your studies in the U.S. at a different institution in the next academic semester, you must complete the F-1 transfer process. The transfer procedure is initiated by the school you are currently attending and is completed through SEVIS by the new school.
F-1 students who have made a commitment to attend another institution must notify ISSO of their intention to transfer within 60 days of the completion of their Suffolk program.
F-1 transfer students are eligible to remain in the U.S. in the summer between two programs
F-1 transfer students may travel outside the US during the transfer pending period. If your current visa in the passport is valid, it can be used for new entry to the US prior to the start of your new program. If your current F-1 visa is expired, you must apply for a new F-1 visa prior to returning to the US, using the I-20 from your new school.
Student must check in at new institution within 15 days of the start date on the new I-20
Your new school will complete the F-1 transfer in SEVIS and issue you a new I-20 noting the transfer completion
If you are currently an F-1 student at another academic institution and will be enrolling in a Suffolk program this Fall your I-20 will be issued to you through the F-1 transfer process.
Your current international student advisor will set your current SEVIS record to be electronically released to Suffolk on a mutually agreed upon date of release. Discuss the appropriate date of release with your current international student adviser.Once the SEVIS record is released to Suffolk and all other admissions materials have been submitted, the new Form I-20 from Suffolk will be issued and sent to you by your admissions office.
If you are currently a Suffolk student, completing a program and have been admitted to a new Suffolk program to begin the next academic semester ISSO will need to issue you new I-20 through the SEVIS system. Please visit ISSO to speak with an advisor to make appropriate arrangements. You must notify ISSO within 60 days of completion of your previous program.
If you are considering a leave of absence, you must consult with ISSO before making your final decision. In most instances, an F-1 student may not remain in the U.S. in F-1 during a leave of absence. You will either have to depart the U.S. or make arrangements to hold another non-immigrant status.
A student who has failed to maintain F-1 student status and who wishes to return to or transfer to Suffolk, must apply for and be granted reinstatement to F-1 student status by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Maintaining F-1 student status means that you have been a full-time student and have not overstayed the authorized period of stay as identified on your I-20 form. If you have taken less than a full course of study, not extended your I-20 or not completed the F-1 transfer procedure, you are likely out of status and must apply for reinstatement before you can be granted any additional benefits from the USCIS (e.g. authorization to accept practical training.) A student who has worked without authorization is also out of status, but is not eligible for reinstatement. If you think that you may be out of status, please consult with ISSO immediately. The longer you wait to address the problem the more difficult it can become.
The reinstatement application includes the following documents:
ISSO will review your letter prior to your submitting the application. Do not apply for reinstatement without first speaking with an ISSO adviser.
Applications for reinstatement are sent to the USCIS Service Center in Vermont. The address is:
USCIS Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
As with all immigration applications, you should keep copies of all documents submitted. A decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 student status is completely at the discretion of the USCIS. If the application is approved, USCIS adjudicates the new I-20 form, makes appropriate entry in SEVIS and returns the I-20 to you along with the I-94 form.