Maintaining Status

  1. Enroll full time each semester. You are required to complete a full course load each main semester (spring and fall). Undergraduate students at USC Aiken must complete 12 credit hours and graduate students 9 credit hours. You can only take no more than the equivalent of one class (three credit hours) per semester online. Students who have been admitted for summer session must complete at least 6 credit hours during the summer. You are also required to enroll for summer semester if it is your final semester to complete your degree. You must receive the authorization before you drop or take below full-time hours.
  2. Do not engage at any sort of off-campus employment without an authorization from the office of International Programs or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must either have authorization on page 3 of your I-20 or an employment authorization card (EAD) from the USCIS. All off-campus employment has a start and ending date. Renewals must be done before resuming work.  The U.S. government takes illegal employment very seriously. Students who engage in illegal employment are not eligible for reinstatement.

    On-campus work does not require authorization, but you must be in good standing by maintaining your full-time student status in order to be eligible for on-campus employment. You can only work 20 hours or less per week during the fall and spring and possibly be full-time during the summer. You are no longer eligible for on-campus employment after you have completed your studies or graduate. 
  3. You are required to have a valid passport, I-20 and I-94 card all the time. Original documents should be kept at a safe place and copies should be carried with you at all times. It is your responsibility to keep up with the expiration date on all your immigration documents. We encourage you to contact us at least 30 days in advance if you need an extension of your I-20’s program end date.
  4.  Inside the United States, you must maintain your visa status, not your visa sticker in your passport. Your F-1 visa stamp in your passport has an expiration date. While attending school in the United States, you are required to maintain a valid I-20 and I-94. Even if your visa expires, you are legal in the United States if you maintain your F-1 immigration status by having a valid I-20 and I-94. The visa stamp only allows you to enter the United States from a trip overseas. You will be required to renew your visa stamp when you travel outside the United States. Visa stamps cannot be renewed inside de the United States. Visa can only renewed at a US Consulate or Embassy abroad.
  5. You are required to report any change of address to the United States Citizenship and I immigration Services (USCIS) and the Office of International Programs within 10 days every time when you move by using DHS electronic Form AR-11.  You may file the AR-11 by visiting the USCIS website at on "change of address online". You should also report within 10 days the new address, phone number and email to the Office of International Programs.
  6. Prior to transfer to another school, you are required to contact the Office of International Programs to complete appropriate transfer documents.