MAINTAING YOUR VISA STATUS
International students in F-1 status are required to enroll in a full course of study for each Fall and Spring semester and make typical academic progress towards completion of their degree program to maintain their F-1 status.
Students must take at least 12 credits of in-person classes each semester during the academic year. If continuing, students are not required to register for the summer semester.
Exceptions to full-time enrollment
Students may request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) for the exceptions listed below. Failure to enroll in a full course of study without approval for RCL will result in a violation of legal status.
Acceptable reasons outlined by immigration regulations - 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii) to apply for RCL:
- Academic Difficulties
- Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements.
- Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods.
- Improper course level placement.
NOTE: Students must register for at least 6 credits during the semester in which they request RCL.
- Medical Reasons Due To A Temporary Illness Or Medical Condition
- Students can only use medical RCL for a maximum of 12 months per degree level.
- Students must provide a supporting medical letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist.
- Final Semester of Study
- Students must be enrolled for at least one in-person course during the RCL semester.
- If students have less than 12 credits remaining to complete a degree program, they can apply for RCL in their final semester.
Non-Acceptable Reasons to Apply for Reduced Credit Load (RCL)
- Medical condition of a family member
- Family or childcare
- Failing class(es) or Academic Suspension
- Auditing courses
- Financial Difficulties
Typical academic progress
F-1 students are required to make typical academic progress towards degree/certificate completion to maintain their F-1 status. Typical academic progress includes:
- Earning and maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 each semester
- Enrolling in courses that are required to satisfy the academic degree program listed on the I-20
- Satisfying all institutional enrollment requirements
Reduced Credit Load (RCL)
Students wishing to submit a request for Reduced Credit Load (RCL) must do the following:
- Call the International Center for assistance with the Reduced Course Load form and receive approval.
- Maintain a course load of at least 12 credits until permission is received from the International Center for RCL.
Please NOTE the following:
- Failure to meet with an advisor to request RCL when you are under-enrolled may cause you to be out of status.
- RCL permission is only valid for the semester indicated on your I-20
Your F-1 documents (visa, passport, I-20s and I-94s)
The I-94 record issued by U.S, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that you have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. You can print your I-94 record here. You may need your I-94 for employment reasons, Social Security, obtaining a driver’s license, etc.
CSN will issue your initial I-20 once your application has been processed and you have been accepted. You must bring it to your visa interview. Your I-20 will be activated once you have arrived and registered for classes. This confirms your official enrollment and active student status.
It is recommended that you become familiar with the rules outlined in this section to ensure your visa remains active.
*Mandatory Rule* - To maintain F-1 status, you must keep your I-20 valid
If you are unable to complete your degree program by the program end date on your I-20, you must call the International Center at least a month prior to the program end date on your I-20 to request permission for an extension. If you fail to request a program extension in a timely manner, you will be out of status.
According to immigration regulations - 8 CFR 214.2(f)(7)(iii), the following are the most common reasons to request an I-20 extension:
- Low placement test for ENG and MATH
- Change of major
- Unexpected degree requirements
- Medical reasons
NOTE: An extension reason cannot be approved for NOT making satisfactory academic progress.
TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE US
If you plan to travel outside the U.S., you must bring your current I-20 to the International Center to request a travel signature at least two weeks before your travel date. Things to do or consider before you travel:
- You must enroll in a full course of study and have a valid I-20
- You must have a valid passport
- Your visa must be valid beyond the date at which you plan to re-enter the U.S. (Canadian students are not required to have a visa to enter the U.S.)
- If you are traveling after the end of your current semester, you must be registered for the next academic semester
- If you are traveling during OPT, you need to check with the International Center to make sure you have all your documents before you leave
LEAVE OF ABSENCE / WITHDRAWAL / ACADEMIC SUSPENSION
Leave of Absence / Withdrawal
If you need to return to your home country for personal reasons or have applied for a change of status, you must submit a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal request through Terra Dotta and call the International Center to process your request. Your request must be approved before withdrawing from classes.
If your request for early withdrawal is authorized, you may be required to leave the United States within 15 days of the school start date or withdrawal date.
You must call the International Center to discuss your options if you are on academic suspension.
Transferring to UNLV
CSN and UNLV belong to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), which means that there are many academic degrees at CSN that translate to the first two years of coursework for a 4-year bachelor’s degree at UNLV.
Students who graduate from CSN with an associate degree may transfer to UNLV with 50% (half) of a bachelor’s degree already completed.
Students intending to transfer to UNLV should:
- Make an appointment with the International Center to create a transfer plan.
- Make an appointment with a CSN/UNLV transfer advisor at one of three CSN campus locations.
Transferring to a College or University in Another State
Students intending to transfer to a college outside the state of Nevada should:
- Make an appointment with the International Center to create a transfer plan.
- Review the programs and admissions requirements for the institution to which they wish to transfer.
TERMINATION OF YOUR F-1 STATUS
The International Center staff are responsible for complying with immigration regulations and assisting students in maintaining their F-1 status. As a student in F-1 status, you are responsible for maintaining your status.
If you fail to maintain your status, the International Center staff are required to terminate your SEVIS record and you will be considered "out of status". When you are out of status, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment, practical training, re-entry to the U.S., or other benefits of F-1 status.
The following are considered violations of F-1 status including failure to:
- Enroll or maintain in a full course of study
- Maintain normal academic progress
- Request for a program extension prior to the I-20 expiration date
- Report an address change in MyCSN within 10 days
- Request for change of major on your I-20 if you change your major or degree level
In addition, unauthorized employment is considered a violation of F-1 status.
F-1 STATUS REINSTATEMENT
You have two options to regain your status if your F-1 status is terminated:
- Apply for reinstatement within five months. You must call the International Center for assistance with the reinstatement process in order to apply for reinstatement.
- Travel and re-enter the U.S. using a new I-20 from CSN. If you re-enter with your initial I-20, you will be required to complete one academic year to apply for off-campus practical training employment.
International students with a F-1 visa are allowed to work on campus. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and 40 hours during vacation periods. International students are allowed to start working on campus as soon as they begin attending CSN.
Application Requirements and Procedures for On-Campus Employment
- Register at CSN in a full course of study to work on campus during fall and spring semesters.
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
- Work on campus in a capacity that serves students.
- Complete a document request through Terra Dotta to obtain a work authorization letter from the International Center (work authorization must be renewed every semester).
- Complete a document request form through Terra Dotta from the International Center to obtain a social security number.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined to be any alternate work-study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)). To be considered for CPT, the work must be an integral part of the established curriculum.
Application Requirements and Procedures
- Call the International Center to discuss the practical training opportunity.
- Enroll in the appropriate CPT course on the degree sheet listed in the CSN catalog.
- Currently be in good academic standing and must maintain a full course of study.
- Submit all required documents through Terra Dotta to receive work authorization:
- CPT approval form signed by the appropriate instructor for the CPT class
- A job offer letter typed on company letterhead indicating:
- Job title
- Date of employment
- Hours of work per week
- Job description,
- Start date
- Employer contact information
- Students may work part-time for 20 hour or less per week while enrolled in classes or full-time for 40 hours per week during vacation periods and summer.
- Students will receive a new I-20 once approved for CPT.
- Students MUST NOT begin working until they receive CPT authorization from the International Center or will be considered to be violating their F-1 status based on unauthorized employment rules.
- Students are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number once they receive the CPT authorization.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is intended to provide hands-on practical experience complementary to the academic program, 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii). OPT is designed to provide students with an opportunity for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.
Application Requirements and Procedures
- Must be in currently good academic standing and must maintain a full course of study.
- Are required to attend an OPT workshop to discuss how to apply for OPT and the process to obtain OPT. At the workshop, students will be provided with application instructions, handouts, and an OPT form I-765 application.
- Call the International Center to discuss your options.
- It can take more than 90 days to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. We strongly recommend applying for OPT three months prior to finishing your program.
While Students are on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training, students must:
- Submit a copy of their OPT card to the International Center.
- Begin working within 90 days of the start date listed on the EAD card and must provide employer information to the International Center by completing the OPT Employer Verification form.
Students unable to find a job within 90 days of the start date on the OPT, must call the International Center.
- Students may travel outside the US while the OPT is pending with a valid passport, visa, Notice of Action letter from USCIS, and travel signature on your I-20. However, traveling during OPT is not recommended.
- If you have been approved for OPT, you need your EAD card, a letter from your employer, and a travel signature on your I-20. Warning! – It is difficult to obtain a new visa while on OPT.
- If you decide to leave the US during your OPT, you must notify the International Center and submit a form so we can close your SEVIS record.
Economic Hardship is off-campus employment authorized by the USCIS for F-1 students who have proved that they are experiencing severe financial difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. If you are experiencing severe economic hardship, please call the International Center to schedule an appointment with an advisor.
MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE
All CSN students are required to have health insurance coverage and must enroll in CSN's approved health insurance plan. Students cannot register for courses until they have purchased insurance.