F-1 STATUS
    F-1 STATUS



If you cannot complete your program of study prior to the completion date listed on your current I-20, you must request a program extension from your international student advisor prior to the expiration of the I-20. Both you and your academic advisor must complete the F-1 program extension form (pdf) »

A program extension can be granted under two conditions:

  1. That you have continually maintained status; and
  2. That the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, or documented illnesses. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons. You must provide financial documentation for a program extension request.

If you are ineligible for a program extension or fail to apply for a program extension prior to the completion date on I-20, you are considered to be out of status.

Change of Program at WSU

Your I-20 must accurately reflect the program of study that you currently pursue at WSU. You are responsible for updating your I-20 once your change of program becomes official in the WSU system.

Change of Major

If you change your major (i.e., from biology to history), you must obtain a new I-20. Submit an I-20 request form (pdf) to your international student advisor with financial documentation to demonstrate that you have the resources to meet estimated expenses »

Change of Educational Level

If you complete one educational level and plan to continue to another at WSU (such as advancing from baccalaureate to graduate study), you must obtain a new I-20 to reflect this, which effectively notifies the DHS that you are changing educational levels. You must obtain a new I-20 within 60 days of completing the previous level.


If you have questions about maintaining your immigration status, contact Kristie Brink, your international student advisor (SAC 145, kkclark@wsu.edu, or 509.358.7963).

Federal regulations

In order for you to stay temporarily in the U.S. as a lawful F-1 student, you must comply with specific Department of Homeland Security regulations, listed below (not an exhaustive list). This is referred to as "maintaining status" or "being in status." In addition to making normal progress toward completing a course of study at WSU, you must:

  • Enroll full-time during fall and spring semesters at WSU. Full-time enrollment means twelve semester credits for undergraduates and ten semester credits for graduate students. Audited classes do not count toward the full course of study.  
  • Do not enroll for more than the equivalent of one online or distance education class (or three credits) per semester as part of the “full-time” course load requirement.  
  • Keep your passport valid at all times.  
  • Complete your degree or request a program extension prior to the program end date specified on your I-20.  
  • Comply with required procedures for a school transfer.  
  • Obtain a new I-20 for changes in your major, educational level, or source of funding.  
  • Obtain appropriate employment authorization for any work; do not work on-campus for more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.  
  • Update your current residential U.S. address via zzusis within ten days of any change.  
  • Depart the United States within 60 days following completion of your program or a regular semester or session. Depart the U.S. within fifteen days if you cancel enrollment in the middle of a semester.  
  • Disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by the DHS.  
  • Obey all federal and state laws that prohibit the commission of crimes of violence.


If you fail to comply with any of the above regulations, you will be considered out of status. Subsequently, your status violation will be reported to the DHS via SEVIS, and you will be ineligible for any immigration benefits.


Before leaving WSU, please fill out the international student departure notification (PDF), which will help your international student advisor update your record accurately.

Program Completion

Upon finishing a WSU Spokane program, your options include:

  • Departing the United States within 60 days (F-1).
  • Applying to Immigration Services for a change of non-immigrant status to remain in the U.S. lawfully.
  • Requesting a SEVIS school transfer or change of educational level within the grace period.
  • Engaging in F-1 Optional Practical Training »


Cancellation of Enrollment

To cancel enrollment after the semester has begun, you must fill out a cancellation form. Immigration Services requires international students to notify an international student advisor of early withdrawal. Please contact your international student advisor prior to canceling enrollment online.

SEVIS School Transfer

If you plan to transfer to another school or program within the U.S., you must follow the SEVIS transfer procedures »


Transfer only applies to students who come to WSU from another U.S. university, college, or high school, or from an F-1 status language program.


You must have maintained lawful F-1 status throughout your program of study. If you are out of status at WSU, you must leave the United States and make a new entry before attending another U.S. school.

Transfer timetable

Graduating students beginning a new program of study must transfer their immigration status within the 60-day grace period that follows successful completion of the current program of study or the period of authorized optional practical training.

Students intending to transfer before completing their program should request the transfer prior to their last date of attendance at WSU. Speak with an international student advisor to determine the transfer release date.

You must begin your study at the new school in the next available regular academic term and no later than five months after the date you attended WSU.

Transfer procedure

Step 1

  • Apply to another U.S. school; be admitted as a new student.
  • Meet with an international student advisor to discuss your plan.
  • Complete the transfer-out form (pdf) » to notify your international student advisor that you intend to transfer. You must indicate the name of the school you plan to transfer to and your expected completion date at WSU.
  • Complete the departure notification (pdf) » and return it to your international student advisor.

Step 2

  • Your SEVIS record will be released to your new school after your last date of attendance at WSU.
  • Your new school cannot create an I-20 until after the "release date"—the point when WSU transfers your SEVIS record.

Step 3

Most schools ask you to complete a transfer clearance form signed by your WSU international student advisor before they will issue you a new I-20.

Travel between transfer

If you plan to travel outside the United States after leaving WSU, you must reenter the country with the I-20 obtained from your new school. Once your SEVIS record is released to the new school, your WSU I-20 and travel endorsement will be invalid.

If you reenter the U.S. with the "transfer pending" I-20 from your new school, you may use a valid F-1 visa issued for attendance at WSU or a previous school.


Kristie Brink
Academic Center 145
Telephone: 509.358.7963
E-mail: kkclark@wsu.edu