Northwest College

Current International Students

Understanding F-1 Legal Requirements

As a F-1 international student in the United States there are certain legal requirements that you must follow in order to maintain your legal immigration status. If you have any questions regarding maintaining your F-1 status contact the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP). 

Make Sure Your Immigration Documents are Accurate and Unexpired

Your I-20, passport, F-1 student visa, and I-94 must always be valid, accurate, and up to date. 

I-20: Do not let your I-20 expire. If you need to extend your program end date contact OIP before it expires to see if you qualify for an extension. Make sure all information on your I-20 is correct, including your major of study. If you change your major you will need to inform OIP and request a new I-20. You must keep all original I-20s ever issued to you in a safe place. Do not throw away any I-20.

I-20 Extension Form (extend program end date)

I-20 Request Form (change I-20 major, replacement I-20)

Passport: Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future at all times. If your passport is expiring soon, renew it with your country’s consulate in the U.S. or in your home country. Begin the renewal process at least 6 months before your passport expires.

I-94 Record: You should print your I-94 record every time you reenter the U.S. to ensure you entered the country in F-1 status and that all of the information on your I-94 is accurate. Keep a copy of your most recent I-94 with your immigration documents. Visit On-Campus Employment & Social Security for step-by-step instructions on obtaining your I-94.

F-1 Student Visa: To enter the United States you must have a valid F-1 visa. A visa is an entry document which grants you permission to apply to enter the United States. It is okay to remain in the U.S. after your F-1 visa expires as long as your I-20 is valid and you are a full time student (or following the OPT regulations). The F-1 visa is only required for reentry to the U.S. if you leave. If your F-1 visa has expired, and you travel internationally, you will need to apply for a new visa to return to the U.S. Students with expired visas should consult with OIP before making international travel plans.

Maintain full-time enrollment at all times

As an F-1 student you are required to maintain a full course of study and make normal progress toward your degree. At Northwest College that means you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits during the entire fall and spring semesters. Only one online course can count toward your full-time enrollment each semester.

Do not work off campus without proper authorization and documentation

During your first academic year of study in the U.S. you are allowed to work on campus only. No exceptions! You can work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and additional hours during official college breaks. Visit On-Campus Employment & Social Security for more information.

F-1 students are eligible for off-campus employment after completion of one academic year of study. All off-campus employment must be approved by OIP and requires additional documentation before you begin working. International students are eligible to work off campus through the CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and OPT (Optional Practical Training) programs only. Visit Off-Campus Employment & Internships

Report any change of address, phone number, and/or name

By law, you are required to report any change to your address, phone number, or name to OIP within 10 days.

I-20 Request Form (name change)

Obtain a travel signature before leaving the United States/Reentry into the United States

Before departing the U.S. you will need to request a travel signature from your OIP advisor. Allow three business days for OIP to process your request. 

To reenter into the United States all F-1 international students are required to present:

(1) an I-20 with a valid travel signature (on page 2 of the I-20)

(2) passport valid for at least 6 months

(3) unexpired F-1 student visa

You should also be prepared to show additional documents such as evidence of financial support, NWC current class schedule, and SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. Students who have questions or concerns regarding travel should contact their OIP advisor.

Follow Northwest College and U.S. Government Requirements

Health Insurance: You must have health insurance while you are a student at Northwest College. Visit Health Insurance & Healthcare to learn more about insurance coverage requirements and deadlines.

NWC Account Balance: The deadline for payment of all charges for the semester is the first day of class. The charges include tuition, fees, housing, meal plan, etc. Visit Payment Info & Deadlines for more information. If you are withdrawn from classes for failure to comply with payment deadlines, your I-20 will be terminated.

Laws: You are required to obey all local, state, and federal laws during your stay in the United States. Any violation of the laws could impact your immigration status. Contact OIP if you have been arrested or had any interaction with the police or immigration officials.

Taxes: All international students are required to file a tax form every year, even if you did not work in the United States. For more information visit Filing Taxes.





Amanda Enriquez
International Student & Scholar Services Manager


Kara Ryf
International Student & Scholar Services Coordinator