F-1 Regulations

Regulations for F-1 International Students

Compliance with the Federal Regulations for international students' SEVIS F-1 Status is critical. Calvin College requires international students with F-1 student status to attend an Immigration Workshop in their first year to learn these regulations. Please read below for a broad overview.


  • Undergraduate students are required to carry no fewer than 12 credit hours each semester.
  • Graduate students are required to carry no fewer than 9 credit hours each semester.
  • Students may be pre-authorized by the International Student Advisor to be less than full-time under certain circumstances.
  • Dropping below full-time makes a student out of status.

Employment for F-1 Students

There are employment benefits for F-1 Students.

On-campus Employment

Students may not work more than 20 hours per week. This is self-monitored as it is part of maintaining one's F-1 Student Status. You may not feel any immediate consequences, they may catch up to you when you are applying for a different status like H1B or a green card.

Off-campus Employment

Students must have their F-1 Student Status for 9 months, one complete school year, to be eligible for off-campus employment. All off-campus employment must be in a student's field of study.

Options for this are:

Unauthorized Off-Campus Employment

NO unauthorized employment. No unauthorized employment means that a student does not work off campus unless they have an I-20 with authorization for off campus employment on page 3. Any employer besides Calvin College qualifies as an off-campus employer. Unauthorized employment subjects one's SEVIS record to termination.

Extensions of I-20 for F-1 Students

If additional time is needed to meet the requirements for graduation, an extension has to be done BEFORE the end date on a student’s I-20. Students who go on academic probation during their years at Calvin are ineligible for an extension.

Paperwork required:
Stay Extension Procedure
Academic Advisor Recommendation
Financial Aid Extension Form

Change of Address for F-1 Students

Federal Regulations require that when students change their residence, they must to submit their new address to Calvin College Registrar’s Office within 10 days of moving.

Travel for F-1 Students

Students wishing to leave the country to travel for any reason must have page 3 of their I-20 endorsed (signed) by the DSO once a year. Please allow at least 2 days for this signature. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that the I-20 has this signature. The signature is necessary for re-entry into the U.S. but not for leaving it.

Passport for F-1 Students

Passports must be kept current.

An F-1 Visa in a passport does NOT need to be current as long as you do not travel. If you leave the United States and your visa has expired, then you will need to renew your visa to re-enter the U.S. Otherwise having a current visa in your passport is not required to maintain your F-1 student status.

Detailed regulations are available at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.