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    Maintaining Immigration Status

    It is very important to maintain your F-1/J-1 student status while in the United States. To maintain valid F-1/J-1 status:

    Check in with the GEC office upon arrival in the US
    In order to register your immigration record with the Department of Homeland Security, you must provide copies of all immigration documents (passport, US visa, I-94 card, and I-20/DS-2019) to the GEC office at the start of your academic program. This is generally done during international student orientation.

    Register as a full time student

    • Each semester you must register as a full time student. Full time enrollment at Hamline University is defined as 12 credits for Undergraduate students and 8 credits for Master's and Doctoral students.
    • You must be registered within a maximum of 30 days following the start of each term in order to maintain your status. However, please note that the last day to add/drop classes at Hamline is typically 2 weeks or less after the semester start date. Thus, you may be unable to add classes that you need to maintain your full time status if you wait to register. Please check the Hamline Academic Calendar for specific program deadlines.
    • In limited cases you may be eligible for a reduced course load but must have the appropriate F-1 Reduced Course Load form or J-1 Reduced Course Load form approved in advance.
    • Because the MBA program is a trimester program with a mandatory summer term, MBA students must also register for the summer term.
    • Each semester, only one online class may count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.

    Work only with permission
    See our Employment page for more information.

    Report changes in personal information
    You must report any change of name or immigration status by providing official documentation of the approved change to the GEC office. If you move, you must also update your address within 10 days: 

    • To update your local US address: Change your contact information in Piperline.
    • To update your permanent foreign address: This cannot be done through Piperline. Report any changes using the online Change of Address form.

    Make normal academic progress toward completion of degree
    You must complete degree requirements before the expiration of your I-20 or DS-2019, or apply for a program extension in advance. Failed classes, probation, or academic suspension is not a legally valid reason for extending an I-20 or DS-2019.

    Keep immigration documents up to date
    Passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times (contact your home country's embassy or consulate in advance to renew or replace your passport). Upon initial entry and with any subsequent change, F-1/J-1 students must present their own and any F-2/J-2 dependents’ documents to the GEC office including: I-20 or DS-2019, passport, US visa, and I-94 card. Keep documents safe and save all old I-20s/DS-2019s during your stay in the US.

    Comply with your grace period
    F-1 students receive a 60-day "grace period" following completion of degree requirements. J-1 students receive a 30-day "grace period" following completion of exchange visitor program requirements. Prior to the end of the grace period, you must do one of the following:

    • Apply for and begin OPT or Academic Training, if eligible (see Employment page of website)
    • Begin a new degree program at Hamline (requires extension of I-20/ DS-2019 and admission to the program)
    • Transfer SEVIS record to begin a new degree program at another institution (requires admission to the program and Transfer Out form)
    • Change immigration status, if eligible
    • Travel and leave the United States

    Maintain adequate health insurance
    It is Hamline's policy that all international students maintain health insurance unless eligible for a waiver. J-1 exchange visitors are required to maintain adequate health insurance that meets Department of State requirements for self and all J-2 dependents for the duration of their stay in the US. For additional information about J-1/J-2 insurance requirements, see the Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure.

    Other reminders 

    • Check your Hamline email account regularly for important information regarding your student status. This is the university's official form of communication.
    • If you have any questions please contact the GEC office. Do not rely on information from friends. Each person's situation is unique, and regulations can change frequently!
    • You are required to pay all tuition, fees, loans, and other Hamline bills in a timely manner. If you are financially sponsored by another person or agency, it is your responsibility to make sure that your sponsor fulfills financial agreements. You are responsible for monitoring your billing status and payments made to your student account. Failure to make payments may result in a hold on your student account, which would prevent you from registering and using Hamline University services.
    • Keep copies of all I-20s/DS-2019s and important immigration documents throughout your time in the US. The GEC office only keeps records for a limited period of time.
    • You should not use any type of public funding during your stay in the US as a non-immigrant visa holder. Examples of public funding include medical assistance, public housing, the WIC program, or other public assistance programs.
    • Due to privacy laws in the US, information about you cannot be legally released to anyone without your written permission. The GEC office, however, is required by law to report information to the Department of Homeland Security about your presence in the US and your student status at Hamline. If you would like the GEC office to communicate with a friend or family member about your personal information, you must complete a Release of Information Waiver.
    • Click here to learn more about immigration terms and government agencies that pertain to you as an international student.