Tips for Maintaining your Status


Below is a list of tips you need to observe in order to maintain legal status, while you complete your studies in the United States. For a detailed explanation, download the ISS Student Handbook (PDF).

1. You must keep a valid passport at all times.

2. You must attend the school listed on your current I-20.

3. You must register and complete a full course of study every fall and spring term.



• 18 clock hours for ELP students

• 12 credit hours for undergraduate students

• 8 credit hours for graduate/professional students

• 6 credit hours for graduate/professional students with assistantship or fellowship appointments


No more than one online or distance education class per semester. If the F-1 student’s course of study is a language study program (ESL) or elementary or secondary school program, no online or distance education classes may be considered to count toward class room hours or credit.


4. You must not drop classes or be registered below a full course of study until you speak to an ISS Immigration Counselor.

5. You must maintain an accurate and up to date local address and local phone number in Purdue University Calumet’s Student Information system and in the ISS Office. Report any changes to the International Students and Scholars and the office of Registration within 10 days.

6. You must report to ISS if there is a change in your program, degree level, or funding. Any of these changes requires that a new I-20 form must be issued to reflect the updated information.

7. You must not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Do not work off campus without USCIS authorization.

8. You must maintain adequate health insurance for yourself and for your dependents.

9. You must leave the US no later than 60 days past the completion date shown on the I-20, or past completion of your academic program, whichever comes first. If it is academically necessary, you may request a program extension from the school’s designated school official.

10. You must always pay attention to whether there are changes made to U.S. regulations regarding immigration. You are responsible for abiding by any new laws and regulations that relates to your F-1 status. You can find updates at or consult with your Immigration Counselors in the ISS Office, CLO 176.