Maintaining Your F-1 Visa Status


  • Students must have a valid (unexpired) passport.
  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
  • Immediately contact your designated school official (DSO) when you enter the United States.
  • When you arrive at school, you need to contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."


  • Attend the school that you are authorized to attend based on your I-20 and make normal progress toward completing your course of study.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment with a minimum of 12 semester credit hours in the fall and spring semesters. This requirement does not apply to summer semester unless summer is the first semester you attend. Students may study under 12 credits in their last semester if they require fewer than 12 credits to graduate. See your advisor or the DSO regarding any changes to your schedule.
  • Dropping a class is not permitted unless a student still maintains 12 or more credit hours each semester.
  • Students cannot audit or withdraw from a class without prior permission from the DSO.
  • Students can only enroll in one fully online course each semester.
  • Students must report a change of address, name, or phone number to the DSO within 10 days of the change.
  • Be aware of your program completion date on your I-20. An extension to your I-20 will be permitted only once if you are progressing satisfactorily towards your degree.
  • Within 60 days of completing the course of study, you must transfer to another school, change level of education, or leave the United States.


  • Students are limited to 20 hours per week of on-campus employment when school is in session.
  • AVOID UNAUTHORIZED EMPLOYMENT. The Department of Homeland Security restricts international students from working off campus.


  • If you are transferring from another U.S. college or university to Middle Georgia State University, complete the MGA F1 Student Transfer Form so that both schools are aware of your intent to transfer and update your SEVIS records accordingly.
  • Notify the DSO if you intend to transfer to another school. Complete the MGA F1 Student Transfer Out Form.


  • Students must not leave the United States, even for a short time, without making sure that all travel documents are valid and, in their possession, and that the DSO signs their I-20. Signatures are valid for one year. Please be aware of date of signature.

Failure to comply with USCIS regulations will result in loss of F1 status and will require the student to apply for reinstatement by USCIS.

Dr. Kendra Russell (DSO)
Provost Fellow International Education
Middle Georgia State University
SOHNS - Jones Suite 257
100 University Parkway
Macon, GA 31206
Phone: 478.471.2776
Emergency Contact: 478.238.3930

Margo Woodham (DSO)
Middle Georgia State University
Peyton Enrollment Center
Phone: 478.471.2725

Virtual Advisor