Maintaining Your Student Status

There are many statutory rules and school policies that affect international students. It’s your responsibility to get familiar with the government rules and school policies!

How To Maintain Your Legal Status

  • Keep a valid passport at all times
  • Sustain a full course-load of study
  • Report any changes to the school and Immigration such as: address, email, telephone number, status, dependents, etc.
  • Be aware of your I-20 expiration date and ask for extension when necessary.
  • Keep proof of your immigration status with you at all times, even if you are traveling within the United States
  • The Director of Admissions does not work for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but he/she does have to report status issues to USCIS. The Director of Admissions works for CalCC and is here to help you understand the immigration regulations, so please feel free to ask him/her should you have any immigration-related questions.
  • Keep your documents valid. Talk to the Director of Admissions if you see that your documents will expire in the near future.

F-1 Student Visa

  • As an international student and to keep your F-1 visa status you are required to attend minimum 18 hours a week.   All students must attend at least 80% of their classes and keep a Grade Point Average of minimum 2.0.  If students do not correct their grades and attendance to the minimum required level they will be dropped from the school and they may lose their international student status as a result of this.
  • If you move, you must update your present local address.  You need to notify CalCC within 10 days of any change of local address.
  • Notify any changes that may impact your F-1 student status (i.e. course load, change of status, marriage)
  • Make sure I-20 is always valid. Notify one month prior to the expiration date. You will need to submit official bank verification to cover the costs of education program extension.
  • Apply for a program extension before the expiration date on your I-20, if you need to continue studying in the ESL program.
  • See the International Students Advisor for approval if you have to miss several classes due to illness or an emergency, or if you plan to withdraw from the ESL program.
  • Inform the Dean of Education before registering concurrently at another institution. You must remain enrolled in these courses throughout the semester and receive a grade of “D” or higher in each class. The courses MUST be completed by the end date of the program that you are enrolled in at CalCC.
  • Before the end of your last quarter in attendance, inform the International Students Advisor of any intent to transfer to another institution.
  • No off-campus employment is allowed for F-1 students on an I-20 issued in the ESL program. You can work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the term of your study.
  • All F-1 students have a 60-day grace period to remain in the US after they complete the ESL program.
  • Read and comply with the instructions stated on page 2 of the Form I-20.

F-2 and Other Dependent Visa Categories

  • Your status depends on the primary (F-1) visa holder. If the F-1 student is not in status or has left the U.S., you lose your legal immigration status.
  • F-2's are not allowed to work on or off campus.
  • F-2 dependents can enroll part-time in a program of study, but cannot take courses toward a degree. Full-time enrollment is a violation of F-2 status.
  • Contact an International Students Advisor if you want to be a full-time student and would like to change your status to F-1.

Travel Reminders

When traveling outside the United States, request& obtain signature on the 2nd page of your current I-20 from DSO/PDSO at least 2 weeks prior to your travel.

Documents required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the first Port of Entry when you re-enter the United States:

It is important that students hand-carry (instead of packing in checked luggage) the following documents:

  • Valid passport with valid F or M visa (if applicable)
  • Signed Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”
  • Proof of financial support
  • Your contact information, including a 24-hour emergency phone number, if necessary


They also should consider bringing the following:

  • Evidence of acceptance to your school, like a recent tuition payment receipt or acceptance letter
  • Proof of paying the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee
  • Official Transcripts and current schedule for verification as an F-1  at CalCC
  • Each dependent must have his or her own I-20, even if traveling with the primary visa holder
  • Valid visa for third country, if required

Change of Status to F-1

Nonimmigrant in the United States (with J, H, B1/B2, R visas) may apply for a change of status to student (F1) for the following reasons:

  • They might be interested in studying English before they leave the United States.
  • Studying English will give them extra advantage to get better jobs in their countries.
  • They may also continue studying for higher degrees in the United States after they learn English.
  • CalCC will assist the prospective student in filing the proper forms and paying the right fees.
  • Currently the USCIS is taking around 6 months to complete a Change of Status request.

Extending your I-20

Your CalCC I-20 Form indicates that the normal length of study at CalCC is 3 to 18 months. If your I-20 is going to expire soon, and if you need more time to finish your program because of academic or medical reasons you may apply to CalCC for a Program Extension within the last 30 days before the expiration date.


Please ask for the I-20 extension to Director of Admissions. You will also need to submit a current bank statement with your request. If you are granted a program extension, you will be issued a new I-20 Form, reflecting the additional time you need to complete your course of study.


When you complete your studies in the U.S. and return to your home country, you should keep your I-20s and ID’s from all the schools you have attended, in your permanent record.  You may need to use them as supporting documents for a future change of status.

Visa Renewal

Your F-1 visa is the document issued when you were approved by the United States Embassy or Consulate to study in the United States. Check to make sure you have a multiple entry visa. It will be indicated with an "M" for multiple entries. We often have students concerned about their visa expiration date. Even if your visa expires, you are still in F-1 status and can still study in the United States as long as your I-20, passport, and I-94 are valid. You only have to renew an expired visa if you leave and reenter the United States.


International students are only permitted to work up to 20 hours per week on campus. There are limited employment opportunities on campus and most jobs require proficiency in English.

Off-campus employment for F-1 students is a violation of student visa regulations and will result in the student becoming out of status.