Current Students: General

In this section you will find more information on opportunities, rules and requirements for current F-1 International students.  One of the most important services we can offer is to make sure students understand the rules they need to follow, to be able to remain in the US.  Thus, please find a brief summary here of the most important requirements for maintaining your status, and read through this section of our website for more information on these and more important pieces of information to help you understand your immigration status.


Full time academic registration

F-1 students must enroll full-time every semester.  There are other circumstances where a student can register less than full time – for example, for unexpected medical reasons. Students must seek permission from one of the international student advisors prior to dropping below the required full time status, which must be reported to USCIS.


International students are permitted to work on campus ONLY. Students cannot, under any circumstances, work off campus unless authorized by an international student advisor.   Off-campus employment opportunities and work limitations are detailed in our website. ISSS offers regular workshops on CPT and OPT to help you learn more about how to take advantage of these opportunities as well.

I-20 expiration

If the program end date on your I-20 is nearing and you need more time to finish your program, you should speak to an international student advisor prior to your I-20 expiring. If you realize that you need more time to finish your studies but find that your I-20 has already expired, you are out of status and will need to apply for reinstatement. Always be aware of your program end date on your I-20.


Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future to obtain an F-1 visa. Once in the United States, if you passport is about to expire please make the necessary plans to get it extended or apply for a new one. Plan to do this at least 3-4 months prior to the passport expiring.

Transferring from one school to another

If you decide that you are going to transfer from UMBC to another school of vice versa, please speak to the international student advisor about the transfer process. If it is not done correctly you could fall out of status.

Maintain status of F-2 Dependents

Students who have their spouse or children at UMBC on F-2 visas, based on their F-1 visa, must also make sure their dependents are in status.  F-2 visa holders must have a valid dependent I-20 at all times.

Additionally, F-2 visa holders may NOT work, and have restrictions on the types of educational programs they can begin, except for “vocational or recreational” courses, such as those taken as a hobby, like art or photography.


Committing a crime is a violation of your status and you will be arrested. You can be deported or denied a visa in the future. Be sure to review the information in your UMBC student handbook to be fully aware of UMBC rules and expectations.  Be sure to ask for clarification if you are unsure of any policy or regulation.

Please review this section of our website carefully for more detailed information about these requirements and opportunities, and the consequences of breaking immigration regulations.