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Current F-1 Students

Have questions about your F-1 status? Ask a Designated School Official.

A Designated School Official, or DSO, is familiar with F-1 student visa rules and regulations. Only DSOs can sign immigration documents regarding F-1 student status. F-1 students must visit the International Student Services Office to obtain signatures.

Student Information Reporting

F-1 students must inform the Center for International Education and Global Engagement of name and physical address changes within 10 days of the change. Post Office Box addresses are not accepted.

SEVIS, Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is a computer system for sharing information about international students and exchange visitors. It's used by

  • colleges and universities.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Department of State (DOS).

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. As amended in 1974 [20 U.S.C. § 1232g], this act protects the privacy of student records. FERPA does not apply to the information that Pima must report to SEVIS on F-1 students.

You are responsible for maintaining legal F-1 status while studying at Pima Community College.  For a general overview of your responsibility as an international F-1 student to maintain status in the U.S. while studying at Pima Community College (PCC). The following information is to be used for guidance only as laws and regulations can change frequently. Please contact the Center for International Education and Global Engagement (CIEGE) for the latest information and questions regarding your individual situation.

  • Contact the CIEGE with any questions or concerns before taking any actions that may affect your F-1 student status.
  • Maintain and carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 at all times. Please contact the CIEGE if your documents are lost or stolen.
  • International students must always keep all of their contact information such as U.S. address, home country address, phone numbers, and email addresses current. Notify the CIEGE of any change in information including address, academic, demographic, and legal information within 10 days of the change.
  • Adhere to the PCC Student Code of Conduct.
  • Must maintain the cumulative grade point average (GPA) required by your program or at least a 2.0; and must satisfactorily complete a cumulative minimum of 67% of the credits/courses in which you enroll.
  • Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program or English as a Second Language (ESL) program and make satisfactory academic progress toward completion of this program by following a PCC degree plan.
  • Be enrolled full-time (minimum 12 credits) every semester unless officially authorized by the PDSO or DSO in advance to take a reduced course load. At least 9 out of the 12 credits must be in a face-to-face classroom delivery method.
  • If at any time during the semester, you drop or withdraw below 12 credits, it may result in an immediate termination of your I-20.
  • Pay all tuition and fees in full by the payment deadline, otherwise, your registration could be dropped and your I-20 could be terminated immediately.
  • Submit an I-20 extension request no later than 30 days before the SEVIS I-20 Form expires. An expired I-20 form will risk your immigration status.
  • Seek employment (on or off-campus) only with the appropriate CIEGE authorization. Please refer to the CIEGE for employment guidelines before applying for any work or related benefits.
  • Have a valid travel signature/endorsement on your current SEVIS I-20 Form before leaving and re-entering the U.S.
  • Depart the United States or transfer in a timely manner (within 60 days) after successfully completion of your program.
  • If you should fail to maintain Good Academic Standing and/or your Immigration status, your I-20 may be terminated, resulting in your immediate departure from the United States. 

These exemptions for less than full-time enrollment (fewer than 12 credits) must be approved by the Center for International Education and Global Engagement before you are authorized to drop a course or fail to enroll in courses.

You must consult with an advisor in the Center for International Education and Global Engagement before changing your schedule.

Last Semester

  • You need fewer than full-time status to complete your program.
  • Request an exemption before the beginning of the semester.
  • You must take appropriate action to maintain status, apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), change your status, transfer to another school or depart from the United States.

Illness or Medical Condition

  • May justify an interruption or reduction in a full course of study.
  • You must present medical documentation to substantiate the condition. The documentation must come from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or clinical psychologist.

You must complete your program of study before the program completion date on your SEVIS I-20 record.

If you don't complete your program on time and cannot get an extension, you are considered out of status and must apply for reinstatement with the USCIS.

You can become eligible for a program extension if you have met all these requirements:

  • Applied to the Center for International Education and Global Engagement for an extension 45 days before the program completion date.
  • Continually maintained status.
  • Completion was delayed because of compelling academic or medical reasons. Some examples include changes in program or documented illnesses.
  • Completion was not delayed because of academic probation or suspension.
  • Provide a new, current Affidavit of Support form.

Notify the Center for International Education and Global Engagement as soon as possible if you are transferring to Pima Community College or to another college or university so that we can help you complete the transfer on time.

You can transfer to another SEVIS approved school if you are maintaining status. However, you may jeopardize your student status and become ineligible for F-1 benefits if you fail to have your new Form I-20 processed for transfer. You must present your new Form I-20 to your new school within 15 days of the program's start date listed on the new Form I-20.

If you are an F-1 student who is not pursuing a full course of study at the school you were last authorized to attend, you

  • cannot get a school transfer.
  • must apply for reinstatement or depart the United States and return as an initial entry with a new F-1 non-immigrant status.

You cannot remain in the United States when transferring between schools or programs except under these conditions:

If You're Maintaining Status
Classes at the school or program to which you're transferring start within five months (use the earliest date) of either the:

  • completion date on your current I-20.
  • transfer release date.

If You Have Optional Practical Training (OPT)
You can request to transfer up until the end of the 60-day period following post-completion OPT, as long as the transfer release date will occur within five months or at the start of the next available session, whichever is sooner.

Practical Training may be authorized if you have maintained status and enrolled full-time for one year. A DSO has information on eligibility requirements and procedures.

Optional Practical Training, OPT
Temporary employment for training directly related to your major area of study.

On-Campus Employment
Students may find on-campus employment opportunities that are limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students can work full-time during official school breaks. Please see a DSO for more information.

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