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Maintain F-1 Status at MCC

Maintaining F-1 Status

It is the F-1 student's responsibility to abide by the federal regulations. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the F-1 student status. To maintain status, F-1 students need to:

  • Keep the passport valid at all times.
  • Keep the SEVIS record and I-20 valid by:
    • Register and successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits each quarter, unless ISS approves a vacation quarter or a reduced course load. Plese see below for more information.
    • Making progress towards completing the program before the expiration date on the I-20.
    • Following proper procedures for requesting a program extension, changing programs or changing an educational level
    • Following proper procedures for transferring to another SEVP-approved school.
    • Staying in good academic status.
    • Reporting a change of address to ISS within 10 days of the change by emailing iss@mccneb.edu.
    • Depart from the U.S., transfer to another institution, apply for a change of status, or apply for Optional Practical Training no later than 60 day after completing a program of study.
    • Obtain appropriate permission to work on and off campus. Working off campus without authorization is a violation.

Full Course of Study - 12 Credits

F-1 students at MCC must enroll in 12 credits each quarter at MCC and not only in one of the five-week sessions, unless they have prior approval from ISS.

Online & Hybrid Courses

  • According to federal regulations, no more than the equivalent of one online class or three credits per quarter may count towards full-time enrollment.
  • F-1 students may not enroll only in an online course, even it is is their last required class in the final quarter at MCC. They must also have physical presence on campus through an on campus or hybrid course.
  • There is no limit on the number of hybrid classes that may be counted towards full-time enrollment. 

Reduced Course Load (RCL) For Enrolling In Less That 12 Credit Hours

Please see ISS Forms for the "Reduced Course Load Form". F-1 students need an appointment with an academic advisor, counselor, or navigator to complete the form.  Afterwards, the student needs to make an appointment with ISS to turn in the form and update the SEVIS record. These are the following reasons for an RCL:

  1. Academic Difficulty RCL - F-1 students may request an RCL due to academic diffuculty only in the first quarter. If F-1 students receive an academic difficulty RCL, they must resume a full course of study in the next available quarter in order to maintain status. Academic difficulty are limited to the following reasons:
    • Difficulty with English language or reading requirements
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods or
    • Improper course placement (registered for the wrong course level)
  2. Medical RCL - F-1 students may request a medical RCL due to a temporary medical condtion with an appropriate doctor's letter recommending the RCL for medical reasons. Requirements of the medical RCL include:
    • Letter from a U.S. based licensed physician, medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist that recommends the F-1 student to take less than the minimum credits required for full-time enrollment.
    • Receive prior approval from ISS.
    • No more than 12 months total of medical RCL is permitted per educational level.
  3. Final Quarter RCL - The ISS may authorize a final quarter RCL if F-1 students are in the final quarter of study and have less than 12 credits remaining to meet academic program requirements. F-1 students may request an RCL due to final quarter once per educational level: ESL, certificate of achievement, associate. The students must complete the requirements in the quarter that the RCL is approved for in order to remain in status.

Vacation

F-1 students are eligible for annual vacation after completing three consecutive quarters at MCC. Summer Quarter is not an automatic vacation quarter. ISS may consider past enrollment at another institution if there was no break before the transfer. F-1 students need to be complete and submit a "Vacation Request" form to ISS for review. The form is available in ISS Forms.

Examples:
Start in Fall Quarter: study Fall, Winter & Spring Quarters.  Summer would be the earliest to request a vacation.
Start in Winter Quarter: study Winter, Spring & Summer Quarters. Fall would be the earliest to request a vacation.
Start in Spring Quarter: study Spring, Summer & Fall Quarters. Winter would be the earliest to request a vacation.
Start in Summer Quarter: study Summer, Fall & Winter Quarters. Spring would be the earlist to request a vacation.

Concurrent Enrollment

F-1 students may register for a minimum of 6 credit hours at MCC and take additional credits at another Dept. of Homeland Security - approved institution to count towards full-time enrollment. F-1 students need to complete a "Concurrent Enrollment" form, and provide ISS with a copy of the registration from the other institution. At the end of the other institution's term, the students will need to provide proof of the final grade to indicate that they completed the course and met the full-time requirement.  Please contact ISS with questions or to request a form.

Out of Status

There are several situations where an F-1 student may violate the student status, such as not registering without authorization, registering part time without authorization, letting an I-20 expire and not requesting a program extension, falling into academic suspension or dismissal, unauthorized employment, etc.  ISS recommends that F-1 students who have terminated SEVIS records consult with a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. Information about reinstatement is available on the ISS Forms page. The American Immigration Lawyers Association offers an Immigration Lawyer Search at www.ailalawyer.com.  Under “Type of Lawyer”, select “Students and Exchange Visitors”. Then type in your zip code and hit “Search”.

Program Extension

Eligible F-1 students may apply for a program extension if they need more time to complete a program for longer than the allotted time on the I-20. The Program Extension form is available on the ISS Forms webpage. F-1 students will need to make an appointment (not walk in) to see an academic advisor or an advocacy counselor before making an appointment with DSO in ISS. The application should be submitted within the 30-day period before the expected completion date noted on the I-20.

F-1 Students Should Contact the International Student Services at (531) 622-2281 if they:

  • want to travel outside the U.S. before completing the studies at MCC. Page two of the I-20 must be signed to support re-entry into the U.S.
  • cannot take full-time classes (at least 12 credit hours)
  • want to work on or off campus
  • desire to change status
  • want to change programs
  • plan to transfer to another SEVP-approved institution
  • need to update contact information

Scheduling Appointments

In order to provide the best possible service, please make an appointment.

Procedures for making an appointment:

  1. Call ISS at (531) 622-2281 or email iss@mccneb.edu for an appointment.
  2. Be prepared to tell the person the reason for the appointment.
  3. Please call the office to reschedule or cancel an appointment.