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Maintaining Your F-1 Visa Status

It is your responsibility to know, understand and follow the rules and regulations of Macomb Community College and the federal government in order to maintain your F-1 visa status.

Full-Time Status Required

You are required to be a full-time student and therefore must maintain a course load of at least 12 credits in the fall and winter semesters.  You are not required to register for spring/summer unless you are approved for a spring/summer start, in which case you must be full time.  You must register and pay in full for at least 12 credits prior to the beginning of each semester or you could lose your status.  You cannot drop or withdraw from classes that will lower your credit hours to less than 12 without permission from an International Student Representative.

Grade Point Average

You are expected to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all classes and make progress towards a degree.  If you are struggling and need academic assistance to maintain your status, Macomb offers free tutoring.  For more information, please email

Online Classes

Students with a grade point average of 2.0 or better may take 1 online course each semester. Students with a grade point average below 2.0 may only take full-semester (16 week) classes on campus per federal regulations.


There are two (2) opportunities for employment at Macomb Community College.  Any and all employment must first be approved by the International Student Representative and the student’s I-20 must be annotated to include the employment information* Working without approval is cause for termination.  A detailed letter of employment must be provided by the employer indicating the student’s hours, schedule, and how the position relates to his or her degree.   It must include the name and address of the employer and be on company letterhead.

  • On Campus---An F-1 student may be allowed to work part time on campus only after successful completion of one (1) year of classes (fall and winter). A student must be in good standing with a 2.0 or better GPA and have taken at least 12 credit hours each term. The student can work up to 20 hours a week.  
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)---OPT is temporary employment for up to one year, allowing students to work post graduation to gain hands-on experience that complements his or her related degree.  OPT is granted after all degree requirements are complete and only when the job is directly related to the student’s degree. If you are thinking about applying for OPT, please make an appointment with an International Student Representative.

*If you are approved for employment, you will need a Social Security Number for tax purposes—please contact your International Student Representative for instructions on how to obtain one.  In January, you will receive a W-2 form that you will use to file an income tax return, due April 15 of each year.  For more information about filing a tax return, please visit

Change of Address/Phone/Email or Change of Program

You must always keep your current contact information on file with Macomb in order to stay in good status.  It is very important that Macomb have a current email that you check daily, as this is the primary source of communication the College and you.  If you move, change your phone number or email address, you must submit a Student Update Form to an International Student Representative within 10 days of the change.

If you decide to change your degree program, you must submit the request in writing to an International Student Representative who will issue a new I-20 listing the new program. It is very important to always have the correct program on your I-20.

You may send both the student update form and the request to change programs to

The I-20

Your I-20 is your certificate of eligibility to be a student at Macomb.  It is as important as your passport and must be kept on you at all times.  Generally, Macomb will validate your I-20 for 3 years.  At least 30 days before your I-20 is set to expire, you must inform an International Student Representative at Macomb of your intentions to:  return home, transfer to another college, extend or change your program, apply for graduation, or apply for OPT (if graduating).  Please keep your old I-20’s for your records.

  • Return home---Please state in writing a request to terminate your record in SEVIS, giving reasons for your request. This is for your benefit only so that your record in the system is terminated in good status.  You may download the SEVIS termination form or pick one up in the enrollment office during your scheduled appointment.
  • Transfer to another college---To be eligible for a transfer, you must apply to the new school and receive an acceptance letter. An International Student Representative must see a transfer form and acceptance letter before they will release your SEVIS record to the new school. 
  • Extend or Request a new Program---If your I-20 is expiring, you must submit a request in writing to extend your I-20 and the reasons for the extension. If you have already earned an associate degree and would like to begin a new program, you must submit a request in writing to change to a different program.  It is your responsibility to secure an extension of your stay.
  • Apply for Graduation---If your I-20 is expiring and you are ready to graduate, you must apply for graduation.
  • Apply for OPT---Please see information for OPT in the Employment section above.

Maintaining Valid Documents

Just as you must make sure you have a valid I-20, you should also maintain current records of other documents regarding your status in the United States.   If your visa or passport is about to expire, it is recommended that you visit the closest embassy to have it renewed at least 6 months before the expiration date.  Up-to-date copies of I-20’s, visas, passports, and I-94 cards should remain on your person at all times, especially if you plan to travel.  If your documents are expired, you may not be allowed to return to the United States and risk losing your F-1 status.