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Office of International Programs

F-1 Regulations Overview

As an F-1 student at MSU, you have certain responsibilities. At the F-1 Regulations Workshop, you agree to abide by these regulations. You must also agree to remain informed and abide by any changes in regulations or those not listed here, which can be found on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website

1. Immigration Documents: I understand that a Form I-20 is the document I received from a Designated Signing Officer (DSO) at Minot State University. The I-94 is the card stapled to my I-20 or into my passport, unless I didn’t enter the U.S. by land, in which case I have an electronic form of the I-94. I authorize the OIP staff to print my electronic I-94 on my behalf for record keeping purposes. Current students may apply for no more than two new initial I-20s during a single program at MSU following termination.

2. Financial Guarantee: I understand that by signing my Form I-20 I am certifying that I am able to support myself financially while in the United States. The I-20 lists the estimated costs of attending school at Minot State. I am required to provide documentary evidence of means of support if requested upon entry.

3. Student Signature: When issued a new Form I-20 I will read page 3 carefully and be sure I understand the terms and conditions concerning my admission and stay in the United States as a non-immigrant student, before I sign the student certification at the bottom of page 1. I understand that the list of regulations on page 3 is not exhaustive and may change.

4. I-20 Signatures: I understand that my I-20 needs to be signed twice a year even though it says once a year on the form. I should take my I-20 to the Office of International Programs (OIP) at the end of each semester to be signed. It does not have to be signed every time I leave the country. I understand that failure to have it signed may cause me delays at the border and may result in the border agent at the port of entry not allowing me to re-enter the United States.

5. Travel: I understand that my Form I-20 and I-94 are my legal immigration documents. They are the only documents that prove that I am in legal status within the U.S. I must bring the I-20 with me any time I travel, even within the United States. I understand that failure to have my I-20 with me when I leave the U.S. will result in me not being allowed to re-enter the country. I understand that the OIP cannot fax or email copies of my I-20 to me for any reason, and that I must remember to carry the document with me.

6. Duration of Status: I am aware I am admitted for the “Duration of Status.” This means I am authorized to stay in the United States for the entire length of time that I am enrolled as a full time student in an educational program, and any period of authorized practical training, plus 60 days. I must maintain a valid passport. I may continue from one educational level to another by following the procedures outlined by the OIP. Changes to educational level must be made prior to the completion date on my I-20. Changes made after the completion date will require me to re-enter the country in initial status. If I drop my courses prior to the completion date, I do not have a grace period and must leave the country immediately.

7. Extension of Stay: If I am unable to complete my program of studies prior to the completion date on my Form I-20, I must apply for an extension of stay. This can be done by requesting the OIP to extend my program of study for one year. Each year of additional study will require an extension. The extension must be requested prior to the completion date on the Form I-20 or it cannot be granted.

8. Fulltime Enrollment: I understand that I must be enrolled in, and complete, a fulltime load every semester at the university I am authorized to attend. If I am an undergraduate student I must maintain 12 hours of study each semester. If I am a graduate student I must enroll in no less than 9 hours each semester. I am allowed to take summer semesters off, and am not required to return to my home country during the summer or winter breaks.

9. Online/Distance Courses/Physical Presence Requirement: I understand that I may take only one online or distance education class per semester to count toward my fulltime load. Undergraduate students in F-1 status must be registered in at least 9 credits face-to-face on campus each semester; and graduate students in F-1 status must be registered in at least 6 credits face-to-face each semester. If an international student in F-1 status needs only one course to finish his or her program of study, it cannot be taken through online/distance education. There must be a physical presence requirement for the course.  Per federal regulations, international students in F-1 status are limited to classes at the main MSU campus location, so I am not allowed to enroll in MSU courses offered at the Minot Air Force Base. However, I am allowed to take a course from another SEVIS certified university or college only with prior permission from the OIP.

10. Academic Progress: I understand that as an F-1 student I must make academic progress in order to maintain my status. This means I must successfully complete 12 credit hours each semester. Failure to make academic progress can result in the termination of my F-1 status.

11. On-campus Employment: I understand that F-1 students are allowed by federal law to work on-campus, up to 20-hours during any given week while classes are in session. Minot State University defines a work week as Sunday through Saturday. I understand that international students at Minot State University are only allowed to work up to 18-hours per week and that this limit on employment applies to all types of on-campus employment combined (including Residence Hall Assistants). I understand that 18 hours per week is not an average but a strict limit. When school is not in session (i.e. spring break, winter break) I am allowed to work 38 hours per week. If I am enrolled in more than 6 credit hours during the summer break, I am only allowed to work up to 18 hours per week.

12. Off-campus Employment: I am aware that I am not permitted to work off-campus or engage in any type of business without specific prior employment authorization. After my first full academic year in F-1 student status, I may apply for off-campus employment authorization based on the necessity to obtain Curricular Practical Training for my degree program. Off-campus employment is not guaranteed--it must be a required and integral part of my program of study, and it must not exceed 20 hours per week. I understand this is not an average of 20 hours per week, but a strict limit.

13. Volunteering: I understand that I may not volunteer to work a job that is normally a paid position, and I understand that trading a service (i.e. babysitting, yard work, house-sitting, etc.) in exchange for any type of compensation (i.e. food, housing, small gifts, etc.) is illegal and grounds for termination of my student status.

14. Optional Practical Training: I understand that I may be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after I have completed my program of study at Minot State University. I understand the OPT application process can take more than three months once the application is submitted. The purpose of this employment is to receive practical work experience in my degree field. I understand I can apply for OPT no later than the date of completion on my Form I-20. I may not work until I have received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). I understand my employment must be directly related to my major and correspond with the level of education earned. I must report changes in employment or my address to the OIP within 10 days.

15. Student Privacy: I am aware that the school is required to provide information including my name, country of birth, current address, and any other requested information upon request to various government agencies. Some requests, such as academic information, may require a warrant or a signed agreement from the student before such information is released.

16. Current Regulations: I understand that immigration regulations can, and do, change quickly with very little notice. I am aware that many of the regulations and changes or updates can be found online at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) web site. The Office of International Programs will try to keep me informed of changes in regulations, but I am ultimately responsible for knowing the requirements of my status.

17. Taxes: I understand it is a requirement and my responsibility to file U.S. taxes each year. The OIP will make arrangements with a tax preparation service to assist with taxes. If I decide not to utilize the tax assistance provided, I understand it is my responsibility to find my own assistance and file taxes in a timely manner. It is not the responsibility of MSU or the OIP to assist with this requirement.

18. Communication with the Office of International Programs (OIP): I understand that I must inform the OIP within 10 days, by email, when my address, major, or name changes. This includes both permanent home addresses as well as local addresses. As an F-1 student, I am in a non-immigrant status and I am required to maintain a permanent residence in my home country. It is my responsibility to read all emails from the OIP and checking MSU email accounts regularly.  

Last updated October 11, 2016