In order to be able to complete your degree/program, it is incredibly important that you maintain your status as a student. We're here to help, but YOU need to be an expert too. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) provides international students with clear, concise guidelines for maintaining student immigration status. Carefully review the Maintaining Your Status website and let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Remember, when in doubt, ask your Designated School Official (DSO)!  At Siena, your DSO is Susan Ambrose.

what is f-1 "status"?

To be in F-1 “status” means that you have entered the U.S. in the F-1 visa category (student) and are complying with all regulations that apply to the F-1 visa category (see below). To maintain status, F-1 students must be full-time students and are expected to complete their studies by the end date on their Form I-20 issued by Siena College.  F-1 students can remain in the US up to 60 days beyond their program end date.

Below are actions to take in order to properly maintain your status. Please read these carefully and contact Susan Ambrose if you have any questions.


When arriving to the United States, F-1 students must:

  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins,
  • Immediately contact your DSO when you enter the United States.
  • Meet with your DSO during the first week of every semester for SEVIS registration


While studying in the United States, F-1 students must:

  • Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
  • If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
  • You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
  • Do not drop a class without first speaking with your DSO.

work and practical training

An F-1 student may only work when authorized by a DSO in some cases, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in others. If you choose to work without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States immediately, and you may not be able to re-enter the United States at a later date.

For more information about employment and training options available for F-1 students, visit the Government’s Working in the United States page, Siena’s Working in the USA page and always talk with your DSO.

period of authorized stay and departure

Your admission to the U.S. in F-1 status is for "duration of status” – this is the authorized length of time you are studying in the US as indicated on your Form I-20. F-1 status covers the period when you are a full-time registered student making normal progress toward your degree (or exchange program), plus an optional period of practical training following completion of studies, plus a 60-days "grace period" to prepare to depart the U.S. or change to another status. Your length of authorized stay is not related to your F-1 visa expiration date. The F-1 visa is specifically for entry into the U.S. The F-1 visa might expire before your status expires, and your status might end before your visa expires.

  • Status refers to the amount of time given to you to complete your Siena program as indicates on your Form I-20.
  • Visa refers only to the sticker placed into your passport which allows you to lawfully entry into the United States.

talk with your dso first

As an F-1 student, your DSO should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States. Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.

F-1 students must speak with their DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Change your major, program, or degree level
  • Change your education level
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence
  • Take a break from school
  • Travel outside the United States
  • Move to a new address
  • Request a program extension