Below are keys to maintaining your F-1 Visa status.
In order to be considered “in-status” for your F-1 Visa, OTC requires full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours) during the fall and spring semesters. (Reduced course load exceptions are possible in certain situations and must be approved by the IPO.)
If you drop any classes without the express approval of the IPO Director, OTC will consider you out-of-status for your F-1 Visa. This will result in the termination of your SEVIS account.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program states that F-1 Visa students can take no more than three credits per term or session of on-line or distance education. OTC will count these courses towards the full-course study requirement. 8 C.F.R. 214.2 (f)(6)(i)(G).
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) clearly states that OTC requires students attending college on an F-1 Visa to demonstrate “normal academic progress” (8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(5)(i). At the end of three consecutive probationary semesters, OTC will suspend students who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress. Once suspended as an international student, OTC will no longer consider you “in status” for an F-1 Visa. This will result in the termination of your SEVIS account by the IPO.
For more information concerning the institutional probation and suspension policy, check pages 16 and 17 of the Student Handbook, or use the link provided below. If you have any questions or need assistance in developing an academic plan to help restore your GPA to a satisfactory level, please contact the IPO.
F-1 visas do not permit international students to work off-campus while attending college. Waivers to work off-campus are possible only under situations of extreme financial hardship. You can apply for this after one year of successful academic performance, as approved by the IPO Director. Eligible students can apply for OPT or CPT to work off campus. Unauthorized work off-campus will result in termination of your SEVIS account. This will result in OTC considering you out-of-status for your F-1 visa.
- Change your address
- Change your degree or program of study at OTC
- Get married or otherwise change your name
- Want to get permission to drop below full-time status
- Want to apply for a waiver to work off-campus
Procedures for Temporary Protected Status Students
The government grants Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to people from selected countries which the US recognizes as currently in turmoil and therefore unsafe. TPS status held concurrent to or with the F-1 (international student) visa provides the following additional privileges for international students at OTC:
- A student will be eligible to work off-campus in the same manner as if they obtained an economic hardship waiver.
- Maintenance of the F-1 visa will allow students to remain in the US in legal status after expiration of their TPS status, provided their F-1 program end-date has not passed.
What does it mean that TPS status is limited?
As noted in the USCIS website, TPS status does not lead to a green card, and does not place the bearer in immigration status. Much like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which has a two-year expiration, TPS is a limited status. This designation of status does not confer permanent residence or the intention of permanent residence, unlike refugee or asylum status. If they so desire, students do have the right to apply for a green card through refugee or asylum or through the permanent resident immigration application process.
Because TPS is a temporary provision, not a means of obtaining permanent residence or citizenship, OTC charges non-immigrant (i.e., international student) tuition rates to TPS students. If a new TPS student does not go through the F-1 visa admission process at OTC, our institutions requires that they depart once their TPS status has expired. This requirement is because they will no longer be in legal status.
Additional information may be found on the links listed below: