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International Center

Maintaining Immigration Status

  • Check-in Process

    As part of the U.S. Immigration and Federal Regulations, the International Center must indicate in SEVIS (immigration database system) every semester that each and every international student is present on campus and attending classes. At the beginning of every fall and spring semester, and the summer semester if it is your final term at UNF, you are required to come to the International Center to sign in on the SEVIS list. The International Center uses the SEVIS check-in process to document your presence and update your SEVIS record. Failure to do so will result in the automatic system termination of your F-1 record.

  • Address
    You are required to comply with address change reporting obligations by notifying your International Student Advisor of an address change within 10 calendar days of the change. This includes address changes of you and any of your dependents. You may update your address via the Personal Data form. You should also update your address with the University system through your student portal. Changing your address in one system will not update the other system.
  • Changes to your academic information
    Any changes to your academic information such as change of major, adding a new major/minor or change of academic level, must be reported through SEVIS within 21 days of the change. Please contact the International Center to report any of the changes indicated above. Once changes have been made to your SEVIS record, an updated Form I-20 will be printed and provided to you. Please make sure that you always carry your most up-to-date Form I-20 with you when traveling or applying for any benefits. We also recommend that you keep all of your Form I-20s for your records.
  • Full-time requirement

    International students are required to engage in a full course of study with very few exceptions. A full course of study is defined as 12 credit hours (undergraduate students) or 9 credit hours (graduate students) in the fall and spring terms. Attendance during the summer term is optional unless you are a new international student who begins attending UNF during any summer term, in which case you must be enrolled full-time. Exceptions to the full-time course registration requirement must be approved by the International Center via the Request for Reduced Course Load form.

    Full-time Requirement Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
    Fall/Spring Semesters 12 credit hours each 9 credit hours each
    Summer A/C Term* 12 credit hours 9 credit hours
    Summer B Term* 6 credit hours (FTIC only) -


    * If you have been admitted and begin at UNF in a summer semester, you must enroll full-time. Future summer semesters do not require full-time registration.

  • Online/distance learning classes

    No more than the equivalent of one online/distance education class or 3 credits per session may count towards the full course of study requirement. For example, if you are required to register for 12 credits per semester to maintain a full course of study, you could take 3 of those credits through an online class each semester. If you wish to take more than one online class, you are allowed to do so after you have met your on campus course requirement.

    Note: If you only have one course to finish your program of study, it cannot be taken through online/distance education. There must be a physical presence requirement for the course.

  • Normal progress

    You are considered to be "making normal progress" if you pursue and complete a full course of study before the program end date recorded in SEVIS and on your currently valid Form I-20.

    If you do not complete your course of study by the program end date in SEVIS "you are considered out of status," unless you are eligible for and apply for a program extension before the Form I-20 end date.

  • Extension of the Form I-20

    Your current Form I-20 indicates your expected graduation date. If you need additional time to finish your academic program, you must obtain a new Form I-20 prior to your Form I-20 end date. You will be required to submit a new Affidavit of Financial Support and Bank Certification, and a Request for Extension of Program.

    Note: I-20 extensions cannot be performed in the SEVIS system after the Form I-20 end date.

  • Concurrent Enrollment
    After consultation with your academic advisor and with prior authorization from the International Center, you may enroll in courses at another school while continuing to study at UNF. The majority of your courses must be taken at UNF. Proof of course registration will be required.
  • Travel outside the U.S.
    In order to re-enter the United States, you must obtain a valid travel signature from your International Student Advisor. Your travel signature is generally valid for 12 months, however, you should always consult with the International Center at least two weeks prior to your trip outside the United States to make sure that the signature on your I-20 is still valid.
  • Authorized Employment
    The Department of Homeland Security authorizes on-campus employment and off-campus practical work experience under certain circumstances for international students. All off-campus work must be authorized in advance by the International Center. Working without authorization is a serious violation of F-1 status. Please check our employment page for information on working in the United States as an F-1 student.
  • Transfer

    Follow transfer procedures. If you are currently in active F-1 status, while either attending another institution in the U.S., within your 60-day grace period, or engaging in OPT, you must request that your previous school transfer your F-1 student record to the University of North Florida. This process is called a 'SEVIS transfer" which is different from an academic transfer.

    By transferring your SEVIS record, you maintain the same current SEVIS ID number and you may remain in the U.S. between programs. Please note that the start date at the new university must be within 5 months of your last date of enrollment at your previous school or OPT authorization end date.

    You will need to contact your current school to have the SEVIS transfer process started. On the SEVIS transfer date, your new school will gain access to your SEVIS record and therefore will be able to issue your Form I-20. Please note that in order to issue your I-20, the new school will require a copy of your passport and proof of funds.

  • Passport
    You must have a valid, unexpired passport. The U.S. government requires that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or re-enter the U.S. If your country appears in the Passport Agreement List, you are allowed to enter the U.S. on your current passport up to the actual date of expiration. Your passport should always remain valid while you are in the U.S. Only your government can renew or extend your passport and it usually takes several weeks for a passport to be renewed, so be sure to allow enough time. Contact your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. for information.
  • Failure to comply with responsibilities
    Falling out of status carries severe penalties including loss of all benefits and possible forced departure from the United States. Only in some instances may you apply for reinstatement. Applying for reinstatement requires paying a fee and can take many months, during which time you are ineligible for any international student benefits. It is sometimes preferable to leave the United States and apply for a new visa rather than apply for reinstatement. However, doing so does not 'reinstate" you to the lawful student status that you previously had. Rather, you enter in 'initial" student status and have to begin again the nine months requirement before applying for certain student benefits.