Degree-Seeking Students


For International Degree-Seeking Students (F-1 visa) - The I-20 form is used to obtain an F-1 visa and must be in the possession of the student at the time of entry into the U.S. To student must also pay the I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa. To pay the I-901 fee, go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs website. The I-20 form is dated for the period of time normally required to complete the specified program. Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date of this form and may stay up to 60 days following the expiration date of the I-20, or 60 days following the expiration date on the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) for students engaging in Optional Pratical Training.

Maintenance of F-1 Status

Please read our guide The Basics of F-1 Student Regulations

SEVIS Registration

  • A degree seeking student's SEVIS record must be registered no later than 30 days after the program start date. All students, including returnees, are required to report to the Associate Director, International Student Services and Engagement within the first week of classes at the beginning of every fall term.

Maintain required documents

  • Degree-Seeking students are at all times expected to maintain a:
    • Valid I-20
    • Valid passport
    • I-94 marked D/S (As of April 30, 2013 Chicago O'Hare international airport will no longer issue a paper form I-94. New students will be advised on how to print their I-94 record during orientation.)

    Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to reprint a lost I-94 record.

    Duration of status

    • D/S stands for "duration of status" and refers to the program period listed at item 5 on Form I-20. The definition of F-1 "duration of status" is the period specified on Form I-20 "plus a period of 60 days for the purpose of travel and departure from the USA".

    Engage in appropriate activities

    • A student is expected to carry a full-time course of study (12 credit hours per semester) and maintain "good" academic progress towards his or her degree. No student may drop under the full course load requirement under any circumstances unless otherwise advised by the Associate Director, International Student Services and Engagement. 

    Be employed only with authorization

    • Unauthorized employment is a violation of program status. Student's participation is subject to termination when he or she engages in unauthorized employment. Degree-seeking students are not allowed to take any part in any off-campus employment unless advised otherwise by the International Student Advisor. Students can seek guidance from the International Student Advisor regarding on-campus employment opportunities. Degree-seeking students may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours a week during official breaks. Government sponsored students are not allowed to work on campus as mandated by their program.

    Carry health insurance

    • Every international student is required to obtain health insurance through our North Central College policy with Geoblue insurance provider. This insurance must be maintained throughout the entire program participation period.

    Immigration Resources

    Passport Renewal - Your passport must be kept valid for a minimum period of 6 months into the future.

    Full Time Status - All students are required to carry a full course load.

    1. 12 credits per semester is considered full-time for undergraduate students and 9 credits per semester for graduate students.
    2. Students must have approval from the Associate Director, International Student Services and Engagement prior to dropping below the minimum course load. There are very few acceptable reasons for doing so. Please seek advice from the Associate Director, International Student Services and Engagement. 
    3. Violation of federal regulations can result in the termination of the student's F-1 status.