Maintaining your Eligibilty


Maintaining Your Nonimmigrant Visa Status

Maintaining your nonimmigrant visa status is essential to living, working and studying in the United States. We can help you navigate the process.

Use this page to find out:

  • The basic rules you must follow in order to maintain your nonimmigrant visa status
  • What to do in special circumstances
  • What your options are after your program ends

To maintain your status, you must:

You must notify the ISS office within 10 days of an address change. This includes address changes of dependents. You should also notify the UCR Registrar by changing your address in Growl.
You can deviate from this schedule only with prior authorization from an international student advisor and only under very limited circumstances. Students must attend UCR fall, winter and spring quarters. Summer quarter is optional.
Notify us if you leave before the date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.
Notify us of any change of major, minor, degree objective or financial sponsorship.
  • When school is in session, F-1 students can’t work more than 20 hours per week on campus, which includes any teaching assistantship or graduate student research hours. 
  • F-1 students can’t work off-campus without receiving prior authorization from the U.S. government and/or an ISRC international student advisor.
  •  J-1 students must obtain permission from our office before working on campus.Learn about legal employment options.

Learn about legal employment options.

  • If your I-20 or DS2019 will expire before you program ends, you may apply for an extension at our office. You must apply before your current document expires. You can renew your passport while in the U.S. at your country’s embassy or consulate.
    • Note: Not all countries have embassies or consulates located in Los Angeles, or even California. Other popular US cities with consulates are Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York. You should look up your country's nearest consulate in advance in order to be prepared in the event you may need to travel to the East Coast, or elsewhere.
  • Complete the form and submit to our office:
  • Federal regulations require you show a mandated amount of funds to finance yourself while a student in order for us to extend your certificate of eligibility. You can see the charts indicating how much would be required for the different lengths of time below. Note that we can only extend certificates of eligibility for 1 year at a time:
  • Always file your federal and state taxes by April 15.
  • Learn more about tax resources.


If Your Visa Expires

You only need to renew your visa stamp if you are traveling outside of the U.S. and need to reenter. As long as you maintain F-1 or J-1 visa status and stay in the U.S., you do not need to renew your visa. For questions, contact us.

If You're Traveling or Working 

Learn more about visa issues including how to travel and work legally while you are in the United States.

After Your Program Ends

F-1 Students

Within 60 days of your program completion date (which may be different than your graduation date) you need to choose one of the following:

  1. Leave the U.S.
  2. Transfer to another school.
  3. Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Once you complete OPT, you have 60 days to leave the U.S. or transfer to another SEVIS-approved school.

J-1 Students

Within 30 days of your program completion date (which may be different than your graduation date) you need to choose one of the following:

  1. Leave the U.S.
  2. Transfer to another school.
  3. Apply for Academic Training.
  • Unless you have been authorized for Academic Training, you must leave the U.S. within 30 days of your program completion date or transfer to another SEVIS-approved school.
  • You may not work during the 30-day grace period.
  • At the end of your 30-day grace period, if you travel outside of the U.S., you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. as a J-1 student before returning to your home country.

If You Need More Help

For more immigration and visa guidance, please schedule an appointment with one of our international student advisors.




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