F-1 Visa Status Rules
In this video, you will review 10 important F-1 rules:
Transfer Out Requirements
You must submit the THREE documents below no later than 60 days after your last day of Academic English (AE) class.
Step 1: Contact your INTO Mason Academic Advisor to complete your study plan. Contact INTO Mason’s Finance Department about possible fees.
Step 2: Get an Acceptance Letter from your new school. The acceptance letter must have a valid start date. The start date must be the next available term at your new school and within 5 months of your last day of study at George Mason. OIPS will check the program start date on your acceptance letter and will let you know if you are eligible to transfer.
Step 3: Get a Transfer-In Form from your new school. Remember to complete and sign the Student Section.
Step 4: Complete the George Mason Transfer-Out Form. Complete all sections of the form. On the “Requested SEVIS transfer release date” line, enter the last day of your current semester.
Step 5: Upload your Acceptance Letter, Transfer-In Form, and George Mason Transfer-Out Form online.
After we receive all of your transfer-out documents, we consider your decision as FINAL and will transfer your SEVIS/ I-20 record out on the official last day of class of the given semester.
Important: You must have good attendance to transfer to a new school. You must attend classes until the end of the semester.
Program Extension Requirements
You must submit the documents below BEFORE your current I-20 ends. See OIPS for specific deadlines or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Get your Proof of Funding (Bank Statement OR Financial Guarantee OR Admission Purpose Only letter). To see Proof of Funding requirements, read the AE Financial Document Requirements.
Step 2: Complete the INTO Mason Affidavit of Support (if applicable). Note: if you are sponsored by your government, if the bank statement is in your name, or if your sponsor has not changed you do not need to submit the INTO Mason Affidavit of Support. However, if your sponsor has changed they will to complete the INTO Mason Affidavit of Support and you will need to submit it.
Step 3: Upload the Proof of Funding and the INTO Mason Affidavit of Support (if applicable) online.
Important Travel Information
1. Remain in good academic standing
2. Make sure your I-20, passport, and visa are valid for re-entry into the U.S.
3. Come to OIPS during walk-in hours to receive a travel signature on page 2 of your I-20.
NOTE: OIPS also offers Travel Signature Sessions at the Global Center at the end of both the Spring and Fall semesters. Check your Mason email for the specific schedule.
Home and Not Studying in the US Information
If you do not plan to study in the US after the current semester, please let OIPS and INTO Mason know. You MUST leave the US within 60 days after your last day of classes.
10 Important F-1 Rules
Rule 1: Check in with OIPS by the end of the first week of the semester
- New Academic English and Pathway students and students changing from Academic English to Pathway MUST check in with OIPS by the end of the first week of the semester
- Please bring your I-20, passport, and visa
Rule 2: Do not let your passport or I-20 end
- Your passport should be valid 6 months after today’s date.
- Your I-20 should NOT end while you study in the same level. Complete a Program Extension to get a new I-20.
Rule 3: Make sure George Mason University always knows your U.S. address
If you move:
- Give your new address to George Mason no more than 10 days after you move
- Complete an address form at the front desk of the Global Center
Rule 4: Enter and leave the U.S. on the right dates
- Enter no more than 30 days before your I-20 program start date if you are a new student.
- Leave no more than 60 days after your I-20 program end date if you will not study at another school or change your educational level.
Rule 5: Study full-time. Do not stop attending any classes. Meet with an OIPS advisor before you drop any classes
- AE: full-time equals 18-20 hours of study per week
- Undergraduate Pathways: full-time equals 14-17 credit hours each semester, depending on program
- Graduate Pathways: full-time equals 9-14 credit hours each semester, depending on program
Rule 6: Follow the Attendance Policy and complete class requirements
- Do not go over the number of absences allowed in any class
- Do all of the work your teacher assigns
Rule 7: Transfer to another school
- Submit transfer documents to OIPS
- Start studies at your new school by the next available term. The next term should not be more than 5 months from your last day of class at George Mason
If you transfer to George Mason, make sure you have a George Mason Continued Attendance I-20 no later than 15 days after the start of the semester.
Rule 8: Get a travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 if you will leave the U.S. and return to study the next term
- Meet with an OIPS advisor to get a travel signature
- Bring your I-20
Rule 9: Know the rules for working
- Do not work at George Mason until your academic advisor and OIPS approve your work request
- Do not work outside of George Mason while you are at INTO Mason
- You cannot work outside of George Mason until you complete a year in your degree program
Rule 10: Renew your expired visa if you will leave the U.S. and return to study
- You must renew your visa outside of the U.S.