When to Report to ISS


The following are federal regulations under the Patriot Act that require compliance by all international students. Any changes need to be reported to the Designated School Official (DSO) so that your records may be updated with USCIS.


Graduation Prior to Program End Date Listed on the I-20:

If for any reason you expect to complete your degree program prior to the date listed on your official I-20, you are required to notify the International Student Services immediately.


Expiration of the I-20:

You must notify International Student Services no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date listed on your I-20. Extensions will be granted if you are in compliance with all USCIS rules and regulations.


Dropping a class or terminating studies:

If you are dropping below 12 credit hours or are terminating your course of study for any reason, you must schedule a meeting with the international student advisor first.


Optional Practical Training:

If you desire optional practical training you must apply to the International Student Services prior to the completion of your course of study. Failure to do so will prevent you from being granted the opportunity to participate in your optional practical training program.


Address and Name Change:

If your name or address, or that of your dependent(s), has changed for any reason, you are required to notify International Student Services within 10 days of said change. For immigration purposes, the address provided by international students must represent the actual physical location where the student and/or dependent(s) reside. P.O. boxes or office addresses are not considered acceptable addresses. Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated.


Transfer to another Academic Institution:

If you are planning to transfer to another institution, you are required to notify International Student Services immediately, so that your records are released for transfer in the SEVIS system.


Important Immigration Documents

The following documents are very important and must be valid at all times in order for you to maintain lawful F-1 status:

  • PASSPORT (Should be valid for a minimum of 6 months into the future)
  • Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student (F-1) Status)


To maintain F-1 status, a student must:

  1. Report to ISS to have your SEVIS record Registered in SEVIS in a timely fashion.
  2. For the first entry for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and on the I-20 must be the same, and that is the school the student must intend to attend.
  3. Pursue a "full course of study" towards the program listed on your form I-20 during every academic session or semester except during official school breaks, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the Designated School Official (DSO).
  4. Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on Form I-20.
  5. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay.
  6. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for change in educational levels or programs of study.
  7. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools.
  8. Abide by the F-1 grace period rules.
  9. Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated.
  10. Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
  11. Abide by any special requirements, such as Special Registration requirements.
  12. Not work, either on or off-campus, unless specifically authorized under the regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(9) or § 214.2(f)(10)-(12)
  13. Abide by the aggregate unemployment rules while on post-completion OPT
  14. A student should also keep his or her passport valid


Immigration Acronyms You Should Know

ISSInternational Student Services (at Florida SouthWestern State College)
SEVIS  Student and Exchange Visitor Information System — a tracking system for F-1 students, and their F-2 dependents
DHSDepartment of Homeland Security — an office of the U.S. government that houses, among other entities, the three immigration-related departments (USCIS, ICE and CBP)
USCISU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — oversees SEVIS and is charged with enforcement of immigration-related infractions
ICEImmigration and Customs Enforcement — oversees SEVIS and charged with enforcement of immigration-related infractions
CBPCustoms and Border Protection — operates U.S. ports of entry and departure
DOSDepartment of State — office of the U.S. government that oversees U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad