Maintaining Your F-1 Status
F-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment while working toward completion of their degree program.
- Full-time Enrollment: minimum of 12 credits per semester (students are not required to enroll full-time for Summer or January intersession – these are optional).
- Of the 12 credit minimum enrollment, only one course may be taken in a distance-learning format. Distance learning formats are courses offered online or in a hybrid format.
- F-1 students are not allowed to drop below full-time (12 credits) enrollment without receiving prior authorization for a F-1 Student Reduce Courseload Request from the P/DSO. Earning a failing (“F”) grade will count as completion of a course. However, F-1 students must be careful to make Satisfactory Academic Progress, which is explained below.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Another requirement to maintain F-1 status is to make normal progress toward completing the degree program by the program end date, both of which are listed in Item 5 of the I-20.
- In order to make progress toward their degree, F-1 students must take the courses required for the degree program listed on their I-20 within the timeframe specified on their I-20. This may require a student to take more than 12 credits per semester and/or to take courses in the Summer or January intersession. Please work with a P/DSO to ensure you are going to finish on time.
- F1 students, like all students at Bristol, must make satisfactory academic progress each semester they are enrolled.
- If a student would like to discuss the possibility of an extension of their I-20, it must be requested at least two months before the program end date that is shown in Item 5 of the I-20.
- Extensions are not always granted, and the student must qualify for additional time to complete the program based on USCIS standards. Poor academic performance is not an acceptable reason for requesting an extension.
Upon completion of your degree program, you have 60-days to:
- Prepare for departure from the U.S.
- Transfer to another school/degree program by requesting a F-1 Transfer Out.
- Change your visa status
Please note that students may not exit and re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during their 60-day grace period.
F-1 students are required to have a valid local mailing address and permanent foreign address at all times (P.O. Box addresses are not valid).
- Local Address: must be a valid, U.S. residential address within Massachusetts or Rhode Island where you will be residing during your F-1 program at Bristol.
- Permanent Address: must be a valid, residential address outside of the United States (P.O. Box addresses are not valid).
- E-Mail: Your accessBCC student e-mail address will be the primary method of communication that the P/DSO will use to contact you. Please make sure that you check this email address regularly.
To update your address, financial or personal information with the College, please complete the F-1 Student Academic, Financial, and Personal Information Updates form. Changes in address (local and permanent) must be updated within 10 days of the change. Failure to maintain a valid local and permanent address will affect your visa status and eligibility for services at the College.
More information is available via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website: Maintaining Status.