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F-1 Visa Regulations

Talk with your DSO First

Your Designated School Official (DSO) is your International Student Advisor at SBCC, and should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States. Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.

Speak with a DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Change your major, program, or degree level
  • Change your education level
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence
  • Take a break from school
  • Travel outside the United States
  • Move to a new address
  • Request a program extension

Visit Study in the States for more tips on maintaining your F-1 visa status!

Contact your DSO

Ask important questions about your F-1 Visa status and other support services.

We are here for you!
International Office Staff
Review these guidelines to refresh your understanding of F-1 Visa regulations.
  • F-1 Visa: Enter the U.S. with a valid F-1 visa in your passport. If your visa expires while you are still studying at SBCC, you can continue studying until the next time you travel outside of the U.S. You will be required to renew an expired visa if you travel outside of the U.S.
  • Passport: Your passport should be current at all times while studying at SBCC. Contact your Embassy about options for renewing it before it expires.
  • Form I-20: Your I-20 shows that you are in a current program of study at SBCC. It should always list your current major, and your projected program completion date. Check your I-20 each semester to ensure the information is updated. If your I-20 is expiring and you need to extend it, contact your International Student Advisor ahead of time.
    • Transfer students: Obtain your SBCC I-20 from the International Office within 15 days of the start of your studies.
  • I-94 record: The I-94 record is proof that you entered the U.S. in F-1 visa status. Access your I-94 record digitally at cbp.gov/I94.
  • Maintain enrollment in at least 12.0 credits/units each semester. 
  • Read and follow participation and attendance policies listed in each instructor's syllabus. Failure to meet minimum participation and attendance requirements may result in a student being dropped from a course.
  • Enroll in no more than 3.0 credits of online courses per semester. Only 3.0 credits of online or distance education courses will count towards the required 12.0 credits. Additional units above 12 may also be online.
  • English Language Program students are not allowed to enroll in any online courses.
  • If you want to study part-time at another school while attending SBCC, you must maintain your status at SBCC. Check with your Advisor to find out if you are eligible and to complete the Concurrent Enrollment Request Form.
  • If you want to transfer to another school to study full-time, you must transfer your I-20.
    • Submit your request to transfer to your Advisor along with a copy of your acceptance letter from the new school. 
    • Transfer requests must be received within 60 days of completing your program at SBCC.
    • Attend your SBCC classes until the date the I-20 is transferred to the new school if you decide to end your studies early.
  • Maintain a 2.00 GPA or better and make satisfactory academic progress toward the program of study listed on your SBCC I-20.
  • Students on Academic Probation are required to meet with an Advisor to create an academic success plan. 
  • Students who are Academically Dismissed must go home or transfer to another school, or meet with their International Student Advisor to see if they are eligible for an appeal. 
  • Update your physical address through your my.sbcc.edu account within 10 days of moving to a new location (every time you move).
  • Update your local phone number your my.sbcc.edu account.
  • F-1 visa students are eligible for on-campus employment, but approval from your International Student Advisor is required before you start working. Visit our employment page for information about your eligibility to work!
  • F-1 visa students may be permitted to work off-campus or participate in an internship during their 2nd year or upon graduation for up to 12 months. You must receive authorization from your International Student Advisor before you start workingeven if you are participating in an upaid internship. Visit our employment page for information about off-campus employment options and eligiblity requirements!
  • Request a travel signature on your Form I-20 from an SBCC Advisor before traveling outside of the U.S.
  • Carry your passport with current F-1 visa and I-20 in your carry-on bags; you will need them to re-enter the U.S.
  • Depart from the U.S. within 15 days from the last date of attendance if you to not complete the program listed on your I-20.
  • Depart from the U.S. or transfer your I-20 to a new program within 60 days after completing an Associates degree, Certification of Achievement, or Optional Practical Training.