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Maintaining Your Immigration Status

  • Please note the following items that are critical for maintaining legal status in the U.S.

    All F-1 and J-1 students are required to follow the following federal, state, and Gannon University policies:


    Always enroll full time. Undergraduate students must take at least 12 credit hours per semester and graduate students must take at least 9 credit hours per semester.

    Dropping Classes

    If you must drop below full time or take a leave of absence, authorization is required from the OGSSE prior to doing so.  It is a violation of your status if you drop below full time and seek authorization later.


    Update your local residential address with the OGSSE within 10 days of moving. This applies while you are a student and includes when you graduate and begin OPT (F-1 students) or Academic Training (J-1 students).

    Program Extensions

    If you need more time to complete your program than the end date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019, you must apply for an extension of program with OGSSE before the program end date. 


    Keep your passport valid. Contact your embassy to renew your passport well before the expiration date. We recommend that you renew it six months before it expires.


    If you plan to transfer to another school or go on to another degree program, contact the OGSSE to complete the appropriate immigration procedures before the end of your grace period (60 days for F-1 students; 30 days for J-1 students).

    On Campus Employment

    F-1/J-1 students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week on campus while the semester is in session, and full time or above 20 hours per week on campus during summer break, winter break, or spring break periods.

    Working Off Campus

    NEVER work off-campus (paid or unpaid) without prior authorization. Always discuss off-campus work authorization with the OGSSE before you start working off-campus.

    Follow the Law

    Comply with all other U.S. federal and state laws. For example, never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never carry a weapon. Comply with all other Gannon University academic and conduct policies.


    Always carry the required documents when traveling. This includes your I- 20 or DS-2019, your valid passport with visa, and preferably your Gannon University ID card. For students on OPT, this also includes your EAD card and your employment offer letter.


    Students who have graduated and are on OPT or STEM OPT must complete the reporting requirements on time.

    Grace Period

    Students who complete their programs or OPT must depart the U.S. within the grace period (60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students) unless another immigration status is obtained. 


    F-2 and J-2 dependents rely on the F-1 or J-1 to maintain conditions of status. The F-2 or J-2 will lose legal status if the F-1 or J-1 loses legal status. In addition, the dependents must adhere to the following regulations: 

    F-2 Dependents

    • Are not allowed to work in the U.S
    • May not pursue full-time studies
    • Must comply with all federal and state laws.