Coordinator of International Student Affairs
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
phone: (727) 864-7678
Visa in jeopardy.
If you violate your status by working off-campus without authorization, by dropping below the 12 credit load without permission, or by being suspended or expelled for unsatisfactory academic progress, your F-1 visa can be revoked. These are serious infractions that can cause you serious problems and could require you having to leave the country.
Click on each step to view details.
Upon arrival at Eckerd College, you must bring the following documents to the ISP office located in Brown Hall so we can make copies for your file:
- most recent I-94 admission document
- your I-20 (or DS-2019)
By law you are required to notify your change of address within 10 days of the change. All you need to do is to send a notification by email to the International Student Programs office at ISP@eckerd.edu, we do the rest. We notify the immigration services electronically of your new address.
All F-1 Students are required to maintain a full course load. That means that they must be registered to take 4 classes minimum, or 12 credit hours minimum, per semester except during the official summer break. (PEL students need to be registered for 2 classes per session except during the summer break). Furthermore, all F-1 students need to register for all classes by the end of Eckerd’s Add/Drop date.
On special occasion, an F-1 student may drop below the required course limit and take a reduced course load (RCL) for the following reasons:
- If there is some sort of illness or medical condition that impairs the ability of the F-1 student.
- If the student is having initial difficulty with the English language
- If the student is having difficulty with the reading requirements
- If there is a certain unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
- If the student was improperly placed at a course level
- If the student is going to complete their course of study (graduate) during that same term
A student can only receive RCL, based on academic reasons, for only one term and must resume a full course load the following term. Furthermore those students that receive RCL for academic difficulty can only receive it once per academic level (i.e. undergraduate, graduate studies). A student that receives RCL for medical reasons may remain on RCL for no longer than 12 months. Receiving RCL for medical reasons may jeopardize that student’s employment.
If you need to apply for RCL, come to the ISP office to get the authorization before reducing your course load.
Download the RCL application form
As an F-1 student, you have a completion date indicated on your I-20. Any F-1 Student that does not complete their course of study by that date will be “out of status” (which means in violation of the law). However for the F-1 students that are maintaining status and making normal progress, but for some unforeseeable reason are unable to complete the degree program by the listed end date on the I-20, a program extension is possible. Some reasons that may qualify a student for this extension would be a change in major or research topics or medical reasons with documented illnesses. To be granted this extension the student must first come to the ISP office BEFORE the program end date on the I-20, once that date passes it is NOT possible to receive an extension, and you would be out of status.
Download the Extension application form
For F-1 students there are several types of employment available, on-campus employment, off-campus employment, curricular practical training (CPT), and optional practical training (OPT).
On-Campus Employment: At Eckerd College, this option is available to F-1 students who have received International Work Study from the Office of Financial Aid or a promise of employment from an on-campus employer. The student may work at any on-campus position for no more than 20 hours/week while school is in session, but on official school breaks a student may work full-time.
Off-Campus Employment:Do not work off-campus without approval from the International Student Advisor!! There are several ways to qualify for off-campus employment.
a) Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is available to all students to receive practical training in their area of study. A student must be enrolled full-time for one full academic year before being eligible. The work must be an integral part of the student’s curriculum, and the employer needs to make a written offer of employment. There are no restrictions on the amount of hours a student can work or the amount of times a student uses CPT, however F-1 Students who use 12 months or more of full-time CPT will be ineligible for OPT. You will show your endorsed I-20 to your employer as proof that you are employable under CPT. The CPT must be approved by the Director of ISP before starting work.
b) Optional Practical Training (OPT): Similar to CPT, OPT is available to all students that are maintaining their F-1 Status and are enrolled for one full academic year. You must have completed nine months in F-1 status. OPT can last up to 12 months. Part-time OPT may only be issued to students that are still in school. There is a post-completion OPT, this allows the student to remain in the U.S.A. legally working full-time for an additional year after graduation (It is highly suggested to do this). The training must be directly related to the student’s course of study, but does not have to be an integral part of the curriculum. A student must also apply for and receive an EAD from DHS. The student must apply for OPT prior to the completion of his/her studies, so come see us before graduation.
c) Severe economic hardship: if a student is victim of an “unforeseen circumstance” he/she can apply for a work authorization with the DHS. The student must have been an F-1 for at least one full academic year, must be able to prove the economic hardship, and must be approved for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by DHS prior to employment begins.
d) Work for an international Organization: A student may also receive off-campus employment if it is with an International Organization. For this the student must receive a written offer from the employer and they will also need an EAD issued by DHS. For both instances the student must remain in active status with a full course of study.
When transferring to another school or to go to Graduate school right after graduation, you need to give the ISP office the name of the new school and the date of your transfer. To be eligible to transfer the student must have maintained F-1 status. The student must be eligible to receive an I-20 from the new school (That means you must be accepted). Also the student must also begin a full course of study at his/her new school within 5 months of leaving Eckerd College.
To travel outside the U.S.A. and re-enter while on valid F-1 status a student needs a valid passport, a valid visa, and a valid I-20. If the student is working with post-completion OPT, he/she will also need an EAD (employment Authorization document) to re-enter. It is important to know that if a student does leave the U.S.A., he or she needs to re-enter before 5 months to resume the course of study and maintain status.
Be sure to maintain your status!