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Maintaining Immigration Status

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Maintaining Immigration Status

Your Immigration-Related Rights and Responsibilities

While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your status, which relates to your purpose in coming to the US. As an F-1 or J-1 student, your primary purpose for coming to the US is to complete a program of study. For more information about how to maintain your status, please review the information below. 

You can find additional information about maintaining your student visa status on the US Department of Homeland Security page linked here

Report Address Changes

US federal regulations require all F-1 and J-1 students to report a change of address within 10 days. You must update your address in One. The OU ISS office will then be automatically notified of your address change.

Follow Academic Requirements

While studying in the United States, international students must:

  • Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your ISS advisor and acadmic advisor immediately.
  • If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with ISS about requesting a possible program extension.
  • You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your ISS advisor immediately. Do not drop a class without first speaking with your advisor. 


For more information about enrollment requirements, including online courses, concurrent enrollment, and requesting a Reduced Course Load, please visit our webpage linked below:

Enrollment Requirements

Check Your OU Email

Access your OU email account as soon as possible after being admitted. Go to New Account Setup to activate your account. You will receive periodic emails from the OU ISS office; this is our main method of updating students regarding important immigration regulations. We cannot send emails to personal email accounts.

Keep Valid Immigration Documents


You must maintain a valid passport at all times.This is a requirement of your student visa status while in the US.


Students may remain in the United States if their original visa expires as long as they maintain status.


Apply for an extension of stay before your I-20 or DS-2019 expires. It is not possible to extend the validity of this document after it has expired.

Extension of Stay form

Report Changes in Your Academic Program to the OU ISS Office

Students must notify OU ISS whenever there is a change in their academic program (for example, a change of major, a change of degree level, or an extension of stay).

Change of Major or Degree Level form

Follow Employment Laws

On campus

F-1 students in valid status may work a maximum of 20 hours per week on campus during the semester. During Spring, Summer, and Winter breaks, students may work more than 20 hours per week.

Off campus

Off-Campus employment requires authorization from ISS. Review the Jobs for Students section for details.

Depart the US within Your Grace Period

F-1 students

You must depart the US within 60 days of the I-20 expiration date or your program end date, whichever is earlier, unless you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT). If you are on post-completion OPT, you have a 60-day grace period following the completion date of your OPT.

J-1 students

You must depart the US within 30 days of the DS-2019 expiration date or your program end date, whichever is earlier, unless you have applied for Academic Training. If you are on post-completion Academic Training have a 30 day grace period following the completion date of your Academic Training.

Your Legal Rights

The US constitution guarantees certain rights to all people, not just US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Nonimmigrants in the US receive many of the same constitutional protections as US citizens; at the same time, nonimmigrants are subject to US federal immigration laws that do not apply to US citizens.

International students enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and other rights included in the US constitution.

Non-immigrants are protected against discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, color, and national origin. Federal, state, municipal, and university rules exist to protect citizens and non-immigrants from most forms of discrimination. The University of Oklahoma Office of Equal Opportunity is responsible for investigating situations where OU students or staff believe that an OU employee has treated them unfairly because of their race, religion, or national origin. The Office of Equal Opportunity is responsible for enforcing university rules about sexual harassment. 

For more information about your rights in the US, including in interactions with US law enforcement, please see the information on the American Civil Liberties Union page linked here