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Maintaining Status

Students are responsible for maintaining their immigration status at all times and for notifying CISP of any changes in major, address, or financial support throughout the duration of their program.

In order to maintain status, F-1, and J-1 students are required to adhere to the following: 

  1. Have a valid I-20/DS 2019 form at all times.
  2. Have a valid passport.  Passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times.  Students must renew their passport through their embassy before it expires.
  3. Have an entry stamp in their passport with visa type (F-1 or J-1) and duration of status, a valid F-1/J-1 entry stamp, or a valid Approval Notice (Form I-797C) as proof of status.
  4. Remain in good academic standing and maintain above a 2.0 cumulative GPA if you are an undergraduate student, and above a 3.0 GPA if you are a graduate student; 
  5. Register for classes every Fall and Spring term and meet both the full-time and in-person requirements based on their program level and immigration status. 
    • F-1 students are permitted limited online course instruction, but must follow the guidelines below: 
      • Undergraduate F-1 students must be enrolled in at least 12 units to be considered full-time. Of these 12 units, at least 9 units are required to be for an in-person/classroom or hybrid course. 
        • For exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement, please speak to an immigration advisor. NOTE: There is NO EXCEPTION to the in-person requirement. 
      • Graduate F-1 students must be enrolled in at least 6 units to be considered full-time, or in a culminating experience or continuous enrollment. Of the 6 units, at least 3 units must be for an in-person/classroom or hybrid course. The culminating experience or continuous enrollment should also be for an in-person or hybrid section. 
        • For exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement, please speak to an immigration advisor. NOTE: There is NO EXCEPTION to the in-person requirement. 
    • ​​​​​​​J-1 students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units, and cannot take more than 3 units of online-only instruction. Therefore, it is recommended that J-1 students enroll in only in-person courses. NOTE: There is NO EXCEPTION to the in-person requirement.​​​​​​​

For more information on maintaining status review Study in the States website at

To make an appointment with our immigration advisor please visit

Maintaining Status FAQ

What Are the Travel Requirements

Prior to traveling outside the United States, students must obtain a travel signature endorsement on their I-20 and DS 2019 forms. Travel signature endorsements on Forms I-20 / DS 2019 are valid for one (1) year.

If you have received a travel signature within the last year, then an additional travel signature is not required unless one of the following is true:

  1. You are returning to the United States after your travel signature expires,
  2. You are not enrolled full-time (12 units for undergraduate students, 8 units for graduate students).

Please note, that if you have an expired visa stamp inside your passport, you are required to apply for a new visa stamp while outside the U.S. 

If traveling to Canada or Mexico, you can re-enter the U.S. within 30 days without renewing the visa stamp.

If you need a travel signature, you can submit a request at CISP’s online services at

For additional questions or concerns regarding your visa status, please schedule an appointment to speak with an immigration advisor at

What Is the Reduce Course Load Waiver

International students in F-1 and J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment each Fall or Spring term. All students planning to enroll in less than a full course of study must obtain PRIOR authorization to maintain status within the U.S. A new RCL Waiver request is required for reauthorization if a student needs an RCL for more than one (1) term.

Students are also required to complete a Leave of Absence: form is with their department and with the Registrar’s Office if they are taking a year (undergraduate) or one term (grad) off.

Undergraduate students shall submit the leave of absence from MyCoyote Student Center.

Graduate students will follow instructions from this website:

U.S. immigration regulations allow students to drop below full-time enrollment only after the Designated School Official (DSO) -CISP’s Immigration advisor approves and updates the student’s SEVIS record reflecting the reduced course load.

See 8 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) sec. 214.2(f)(iii) 

"(iii) Reduced course load. The designated school official may allow an F-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study as provided in this paragraph (f)(6)(iii). Except as otherwise noted, a reduced course load must consist of at least six semester or quarter hours, or half the clock hours required for a full course of study. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the DSO will be considered out of status."

For more information, visit our Reduce Course Load Waiver page.

What Is a Program Extension

The program end date is the date in which students are expected to complete their academic program.  The I-20 form reflects the beginning and end dates associated with student’s  academic program dates.   If for some reason F-1 students need additional time to complete the required courses for their program, students  must request a extension of their I-20 end date.  The extension request must be submitted to CISP so that the program end date is updated on the student’s SEVIS record. To submit a request visit

I-20 extension are not automatic. Students must request an extension BEFORE the I-20 expires. Request can be submitted through CISP’s online service portal at

How Do I Transfer In / Transfer Out

Transferring Into CSUSB

Student’s SEVIS records follow the students to the campus which he or she is attending.  In order attend CSUSB students must have their SEVIS required transferred to our campus.  Upon admittance to CSUSB students will be provided specific instructions from the International Admissions office to have their SEVIS record transferred from their previous institution to CSUSB.  SEVIS records must be complete prior to the first day of classes.

Transferring Out of CSUSB

If leaving CSUSB to attend another institution, the student must request the SEVIS to be transferred out to the accepting school through CISP online services portal.  In order for the SEVIS record to be transfer to requested school, students must provide the following:

  • A copy of their acceptance letter from the school they are planning to attend and
  • The school’s SEVIS program number (example LOS 214F90000)
  • An effective release date. 
How Can I Change My Status

There are two ways student can obtain a new nonimmigrant status

  1. Students can leave the U.S., apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate, and reenter the U.S. or
  2. Students can remain in the U.S. and apply for a change your status through the U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

For more information, visit our Change of Status page.