If you are a foreign student studying in the United States, you need to make sure you maintain your F or M student status. Follow these guidelines to make sure your status is up-to-date so you avoid overstaying your visa.
Know Your Duration of Status
When you come through a U.S. port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will give you an admission stamp. On the stamp, you will find the date that you have to leave the United States by. You can find the Duration of Status (D/S) or the “Admit Until” date on the Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record.” The date on Form I-94 is your authorized length of stay as long as you maintain your student status.
Maintaining Your Status
During the time you are studying in the U.S., you will have to fulfill the purpose of your nonimmigrant visa in order to maintain either your F or M status. You can learn more about actions international students must take to maintain their visa by clicking here: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/maintaining-status
Be Aware of Your Grace Period
The following are the grace periods in which international students can leave the United States:
- F-1 students can leave 60 days after the program or practical training end date on Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
- M-1 students can leave 30 days after the program or practical training end date on Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
If you don’t leave during your designated grace period, it could negatively impact your ability to re-enter the country with a different nonimmigrant or immigrant classification.
Can Foreign Students Take Vacations?
If you have an F-1 visa, you are entitled to take an annual vacation after you finish one academic year at an SEVP-certified school. However, before you leave the U.S. for a vacation, you need to make sure you have the correct documentation. You should also talk to your DSO to check if your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record is marked as “Active.”