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Tips to Stay in Compliance With Your Visa

Communicate with your assigned international school official regularly

If your address, telephone number or e-mail address changes, please let me know right away. Also, please tell me if you are ready to graduate, if you will be leaving PPCC for any reason, or if you plan to transfer to another school.


If you plan to travel outside the USA for any reason, contact your international school official to get your I-20 signed.


Avoid missing classes

If you must be absent from a class, please make arrangements with your instructor to make up anything you missed. If you have a pattern of missing classes regularly, you may be in violation of the terms of your F-1 visa. You may not stop attending classes or you will lose your status as an F-1 visa student.


Keep a 2.0 grade point average or higher

If your overall grade point average falls below 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation. If you do not earn at least a 2.0 the following semester, you will lose your F-1 student status. If you are having difficulties with your classes, please speak with your instructors about ways they may be able to help you succeed. In addition, there are other resources available to help you succeed as an international student including tutoring resources.


Do not work off campus

You are not allowed to work off campus while you are studying in the USA on an F-1 visa, unless you have been approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Career Practical Training (CPT). If you would like to work on a PPCC campus, you may do so but you may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. On campus jobs at PPCC are not easy to find so please do not assume you can work while studying at PPCC.


Do not use marijuana

Although marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, the US federal government did NOT legalize it. Since marijuana is not legal at the federal level, it is our recommendation that you not jeopardize your visa status by using marijuana. If caught using it, you may be in violation of your visa.


Using public benefits

F1 visa students are required to be financially self-sufficient while studying in the US. Applying for and accepting public benefits, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), public housing, Medicaid, etc. could negatively affect your ability to later apply for an extension of your F1 visa status or a change to another status.    


Social media

Prospective student’s social media may be reviewed by US officials as part of the visa review process. Computers, cell phones and social media content may also be reviewed by customs and border patrol officers when you are coming through a US port of entry. Content may be used to determine whether a student is admissible to the US or not.


Traveling with cash

If you are ever traveling with $10,000 or more in cash when going through a US border, you need to declare it to customs and border control agents at the border. Declaring it just means you are saying you have it. Not declaring cash of $10,000 or more is serious and you risk it being taken from you. 


Health insurance

Although not required, we STRONGLY recommend you obtain insurance while you are in the USA. Unexpected medical costs can be quite expensive in the USA. You may use any international student insurance provider you would like, but I do have some brochures for a few companies I can provide to you.


Graduating PPCC or transferring

Notify your international representative if you are ready to graduate, if you plan to transfer to another school, or if you will be leaving PPCC for any reason.


Important visa status information!

There are consequences for not maintaining your visa status! If you fail to maintain status and your SEVIS record must be terminated, you will be required to return to your home country unless you have other lawful status in the USA. If you do not have lawful status, and do not leave the USA, please be aware that failure to depart could result in a reentry ban. Please see the information below:

From the United States Customs and Immigration Service:

Individuals in F, J, and M status who failed to maintain their status before Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on that date based on that failure, unless they had already started accruing unlawful presence, on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit;
  •  The day after their I-94 expired; or
  • The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), ordered them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).
  • Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:       
  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence during a single stay, and then depart, may be subject to three-year or 10-year bars to admission, depending on how much unlawful presence they accrued before they departed the United States. Individuals who have accrued a total period of more than one year of unlawful presence, whether in a single stay or during multiple stays in the United States, and who then reenter or attempt to reenter the United States without being admitted or paroled are permanently inadmissible.

Those subject to the three-year, 10-year, or permanent unlawful presence bars to admission are generally not eligible to apply for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status to permanent residence unless they are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief.