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F-1 Visa Information

Summary of Requirements

The section below contains actions that you are responsible for as a student at UMass Dartmouth on an F-1 visa.  To make the information clear, we have simplified it. For more detailed information: visit F-1 Visa Regulations Details


The most important thing for you to know is that you should contact the International Student & Scholar Center if you are unsure about any of the regulations or procedures that affect your F-1 status.

Things you must always do as an international student

  • Register full-time every semester according to your academic program/degree level; no more than one on-line course is allowed each semester to meet full-time requirements; if you have only one course to complete your program, it cannot be an on-line course.
  • Get passing grades in your courses according to your academic program/degree level; make progress towards completing your program or degree; grades of W or WF do not count towards full-time enrollment.
  • Keep your passport current; preferably, at least 6 months into the future.
  • Keep your I-20 paperwork current; this means full-time enrollment in a program of study or an approved post-study program such as Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Accept only ISSC-authorized off-campus employment, and at a maximum of 20 hours a week while enrolled in classes.
  • You are legally required to report all US address changes within 10 days of moving. Failure to do so could jeopardize your status:
    • Immediately update your COIN account with any address change – or within 10 days at the latest, even in the summer.
    • If you have a pending application with USCIS please follow instructions on USCIS Change of Address Information page
  • Tell us immediately if you change your name.
  • Maintain a permanent address outside the U.S.
  • Obey all U.S. laws.
  • Notify us if you have dependents accompanying or joining you.
  • Read all ISSC communications and check your UMD account.  Such communications and emails may contain important information regarding your legal immigration status in the U.S.
  • Come to the ISSC office immediately if you are not doing any of the above; you may be eligible for reinstatement or record correction.

Things you must never do as an international student

  • Do not work anywhere off campus without permission.
  • Do not let your passport or I-20 paperwork expire; your passport must be current to at least 6 months in the future.
  • Your visa must be valid when entering U.S.
  • Do not stop going to class or drop a class without telling us; we must authorize any changes in your enrollment; a grade of W or WF does not count towards full-time enrollment.
  • Do not enroll in more than one on-line class per semester; your full-time status will be invalid.
  • Do not travel outside the U.S. without valid travel signatures on your  I-20 form.
  • Do not forget to report any change of address.

Things always requiring special permission

  • Off-campus employment
  • Change of major
  • Requesting a leave of absence from your program of study
  • Changing to another non-immigrant or immigrant status
  • Extending your program of study; the request must be prior to the expiration date on your I-20
  • Withdrawal from the University
  • Transferring to another school

When must I leave the U.S.?

  • After the "date of completion" on your current Form I-20, including any program extensions you may have received; or when you complete your authorized academic program requirements, whichever comes first.
  • Students who are approved for authorized employment (Optional Practical Training, OPT) after they complete their academic program may remain until the end of the training period.  OPT includes a 60-day grace period when you may not work but may travel inside the U.S. and prepare to return home no later than 60 days after the end of your training period/employment.

More information

Visit  for more information on your F-1 visa responsibilities and requirements.

A Note About Health Insurance

All enrolled international students must carry health insurance; those in the F-1 visa category are required to purchase the University student health insurance plan each year they are studying here.  These students are enrolled in the plan automatically and charges will appear on your UMass Dartmouth bill.  Please see additional information in the Health Insurance link.

Authorized officials

The following University officials are authorized to sign the I-20 forms and other F-1 paperwork:

Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)

Daniel Pirbudagov
Executive Director
International Education
(508) 910-6633

Designated School Officials (DSO)

Meghan Houghton
Associate Director ISSC
(508) 910-6633

Pat Mooney
Administrative Assistant ISSC
(508) 910-6633 Avoiding Immigration Scams

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