Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Back to Current Students

Maintaining Legal Status

Maintaining Legal Status

  • Retain an activated Fordham University's I-20 for F-1 students or DSP-2019 for J-1 students under our University's program, P-1-0439. Some Fulbrighters retain DSP-2019 under the G-1-1 program.
  • Make sure your passport is always valid. If it will be expiring soon, contact your consulate in New York City or embassy in Washington D.C. for renewal procedures.
  • Retain an I-94 card that is marked F-1 or J-1 and D/S. Upon entry to the U.S., the Immigration officer issues a small white card to you or Immigration offices might have issued an I-94 responding to an application of change of status. The eleven-digit number on this card is very important; it serves as the key to your immigration records while you are here in the U.S. as a student. Do not lose this card; it is needed for all applications you submit to the OIS or the INS. If your card is not marked D/S (duration of status) bring it to the OIS immediately. What is Duration of Status?
  • Do not work illegally!!
  • Make sure all information on your I-20 or DSP-2019 remains correct. The I-20/DSP-2019 is very important document. It serves as a record of your purpose in the U.S. [to study full-time at the school indicated]. If there are any changes to the information on the I-20/DS-2019, you are required to notify the OIS as soon as possible. Changes include name, citizenship, degree level, major, source and amount of funds. Once you notify the OIS of a change, we will advise you how to apply for a new I-20/DSP-2019.
  • Notify the OIS if there is a change in your "completion date" on your I-20 or DSP-2019. Section 5 of the I-20 or section 3 of the DSP-2019 indicates the date you are expected to complete your program at Fordham University. If you actually complete before the date listed, you need to notify the OIS of this change as it affects your legal stay in the U.S. If you cannot complete your program by the date listed, you will need to apply for an extension of your F-1 or J-1 status. The application for extension must be completed at least 30 days before the completion date indicated on the I-20 and for DSP-2019s, before the completion date which appears in section 3.
  • Register for and complete a full-time schedule every semester. What is full-time schedule? If you are unable to register full time for any reason, please make an appointment with the Director because there are many exceptions, which allows a student to maintain F-1 status even though you are not registered full-time. Failure to address such situation could affect your F-1 or J-1 status in the United States. This also includes matters of taking leaves of absence. YOU MUST TALK TO US BEFORE NOTIFYING YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR A LEAVE OF ABSENCE!
  • File a federal income tax form for every year you are in the U.S., even if you have no income. This requirement also applies to dependents on F-2 and J-2 status. Consult with OIS for any guidance on this matter. · Beware of becoming a "public charge". As a nonimmigrant in the U.S., you are not allowed to accept government funds. · Report any change of address to the registrar's office and your local U.S. Post Office.

Visits Abroad and Re-entry to the United States

In order to re-enter the United States after a temporary absence (5 months or less) you must have in your possession the following documents:

  1. A valid passport;
  2. A valid United States Visa stamp in your passport (unless you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands less than 30 days OR you are a Canadian citizen) 
  3. A properly endorsed Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

WORDS OF WISDOM from the Director

  • Consult with the Director first for all immigration concerns and questions. Then, if you wish, consult with other students, friends, family, attorneys, various web sites, newspapers, etc. If you follow the Director's advice, he would continually be involved with your case to its conclusion. If you follow other source's guidance, when things go wrong, will the source be able to help with you?
  • For your own well-being, never go to the USCIS, IRS, Social Security Administration, U.S. Embassies and Consulates unless you have consulted with OIS. Always bring your passport, I-94, and SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 when you make a request an appointment with the Director. Finally, it is your responsibility to maintain F-1 or J-1 student status. Keep informed by taking advantage of the variety of ways the University supplies regulatory information, including advising, handouts and workshops. You could always communicate with the OIS staff at or with the director at .


Site  | Directories
Submit Search Request