Legal Status Maintenance

F-1 students’ main purpose for being in the United States is to be a student. So, it is very important and it is your responsibility to maintain your legal status while in the United States. If you need advice or have some concerns regarding your F-1 status, please come to see your DSO (Designated School Official). Do not rely on your friends or peers. The only people qualified to give visa regulation advice at KSU are the DSOs. Immigration regulations may change, so please contact your DSO if you have any questions.

The basic steps to ensure you are maintaining your F-1 status are as follows:

  • Maintain your immigration documents:
    • a valid passport: All international students must have a valid passport while in the United States. The passport must be valid at least 6 months all the times while in the United States. It is student’s RESONSIBILITY to maintain your passport valid.
    • a valid I-20
    • I-94

The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record. You will receive an annotated stamp in your passport when you arrive and pass the inspection at the U.S. Port of Entry. You can print your I-94 from the Department of Homeland Security website at You should print this form and keep it with your immigration documents.

full-time course load

F-1 students must register for a full course load per semester. The following are the full-time course load requirements for F-1 students at KSU:

  • For ESL students, full time is at least 18 hours per week.
  • For undergraduate students, full time is at least 12 credits per semester.
  • For graduate students, full time is at least 9 credits per semester.
  • Online classes: Only 3 hours of online classes may be taken each semester to count towards full time enrollment. F-1 students may enroll in more than 3 hours online each semester, but only 3 hours will count towards full time enrollment.

Part-Time Course Load

Part-time enrollment (RCL: Reduced Course Load) may be authorized for:

  • Severe difficulty adjusting to the U.S. educational system.
  • Unfamiliarity with American Teaching Methods
  • Severe difficulty with the English language in the first semester.
  • Severe difficulty with Reading Requirements
  • Improper course level placement.
  • Medical need (detailed documentation from a U.S. physician required).
  • Student is in his/her last semester and taking the necessary number of credits needed to complete all degree requirements.

Unacceptable reasons for part-time enrollment include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor grades in a prior semester.
  • Fear of failing a class.
  • Lack of money to pay tuition.
  • Report changes (address change should report to your DSO within 10 days of the change. If you change your major, you must also report to your DSO to update your I-20)
  • Have no unauthorized employment (F-1 students are not eligible to work off-campus unless otherwise specially authorized. F-1 students can work on campus, however, on-campus work cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the semester).
  • Obtain a travel signature before leaving the United States.
  • Notify your DSO if you plan to transfer to another U.S. institution.
  • File income taxes, if applicable.