International Students

Immigration Regulations

Duration of Status (D/S)
An F-1 student will be admitted to the United States for “duration of status," which is stamped as “D/S” on both Form I-94 and SEVIS Form I-20 A-B by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Duration of status means the period during which the student is pursuing a full course of study or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies.

The I-94 Goes Electronic
Foreign visitors to the U.S. arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 or I-94W. Those who need to prove their legal-visitor status—to employers, schools/universities or government agencies—can access their CBP arrival/departure record information online.

CBP now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

If travelers need the information from their Form I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number and other admission information they are encouraged to get their I-94 Number.

Upon arrival, a CBP officer stamps the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant traveler with the admission date, the class of admission, and the date that the traveler is admitted until. If a traveler would like a paper Form I-94, one can be requested during the inspection process. All requests will be accomodated in a secondary setting.

Upon exiting the U.S., travelers previously issued a paper Form I-94 should surrender it to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. Otherwise, CBP will record the departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.
(Source: US Customs and Border Protection Agency)

SEVIS Transfer Process:
If a student arrived in the United States using a different I-20 for F1 visa and wants to attend Rivier University the student must notify his/her school of her/his intent to transfer to Rivier University and complete the following process:

  1. Send a copy of your Rivier University acceptance letter
  2. Complete the SEVIS Transfer verification form from ISS
  3. Request a transfer release date (recommended at least a week before the mandatory orientation held at Rivier Univeristy).
  4. Register full time
  5. Upon verification of SEVIS transfered record, the international student advisor could create a new SEVIS I-20 using the “transferred in” I-20.

For more information on SEVIS transfer process, please visit:
(Source: Immigration and Border Protection Agency)

Full Course of Study at Rivier University  
An F-1 student must register as a full-time student during the fall and spring semesters. For undergraduate students, full course of study is a minimum of 12 credits and for graduate students the full course of study requires 9 credits.

Out-of-status is usually one of the following situations:

  • Failure to report to the school for SEVIS confirmation within 30 days from the start date of each semester.
  • Failure to enroll full-time (with the exemption of the last semester prior to degree completion) for each academic session.
  • Failure to seek program extension in a timely manner
  • Failure to file a change status or leave the country, in accordance with USCIS regulation following completion of studies.
  • Working without appropriate authorization.

A student who has failed to maintain status may apply for reinstatement if the student has been out of status for five months or less. Our staff assists students with this process.

Travel Abroad and Re-entry
If a student is planning to make a trip outside the United States, he/she must have page three of his/her SEVIS Form I-20 form endorsed by the International Student Advisor. The advisor will verify if the student is maintaining a full course of study and if he/she is eligible to continue to study at Rivier University upon his/her return to the U.S. before signing the SEVIS Form I-20. Please seek advice from the international student advisor when planning to travel while on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Check travel and re-entry reminders for more information.

Employment in F-1 status
An F-1 student is allowed to work, provided he/she has been authorized to do so. In order to maintain your F-1 status, required employment authorization must be secured before starting any type of employment except on-campus employment. The following types of employment require authorization:

  • Curricular practical training
  • Optional practical training
  • Off-campus employment due to economic hardship

On-campus employment does not require authorization but it is important to know that you should have a valid SEVIS Form I-20, be currently maintaining legal status (registered full-time),and have a social security card.

Changes requiring SEVIS Notification 

  • Report change of address to Advising Office at ISS within ten days of the change.
  • Report change of education level to Advising Office at ISS as soon as possible.
  • Report change of major to Advising Office at ISS as soon as possible.
  • Notify Advising Office at ISS of any plan to reduce course load. F-1 students are expected to maintain full-time status. Emergency situations must have prior authorization and supporting documentation.

Notifying the Advising Office at ISS about the above situations will ensure accurate updates of the SEVIS Form I-20 record and proper advising.

Maintaining F-1 Status
It is very important for every non-immigrant to maintain legal status while in the United States. F-1 status should be maintained at all times. Please review the helpful reminders below:

  • Report to the International Student Advisor to register SEVIS confirmation of attendance   within 30 days of the program start date (for initial students) or each school’s semester start date (for continuing students) thereafter.
  • Register full time for each semester (minimum of 9 credits for graduate students and minimum of 12 credits for undergraduate students)
  • Do not work off-campus without authorization from the Advising Office at ISS and/or USCIS.
  • Notify Advising Office at ISS of an address change within 10 days of moving to the new address.
  • Stop by Advising Office at ISS for endorsement on your I-20 before you travel outside the U.S..
  • Apply for program extension in a timely manner. Seek advice of your International Student Advisor as soon as you face a possible program delay.
  • Make normal progress towards completing the degree program requirements.
  • Inform your International Student Advisor if you plan to make any changes in your academic program.
  • Remember to follow proper procedures if you are transferring.

Remember, if you think you might have violated any of the above F-1 rules and regulations, see your International Student Advisor and discuss applying for reinstatement to return to your legal status. Without reinstatement, all of the benefits of being an F-1 student will all be forfeited. Reinstatement applications do not always guarantee an “approval” from USCIS.

Maintaining contact with your International Student Advisor will help you understand the regulations and benefits of F-1 students.

Reminder for initial F-1 students (students who have not reported to school yet)
If you have been issued a SEVIS I-20 and do not plan to enter the U.S. before your program start date, notify the International Student Advisor immediately at There is an option to defer attendance. If your intent is to defer your attendance, specify the term on when you wish your program start date would be.

Email-F-1ISS Welcome HandbookPre-Arrival Guide