Understand Your Legal Requirements while in the U.S.
As an international student in the US, it's important for you to understand that it is your responsibility to keep your F-1/J-1 status legal and valid throughout the duration of your studies in the US.
Make sure you follow this information while you are an international student at NYU:
- Keep your immigration documents valid and unexpired
- Register for full time enrollment every fall and spring semester
- Enroll in at least 1 in-person course during your final semester
- Keep a US address and phone number in your NYU record and update within 10 days of any changes
- Do not begin work without authorization
- Follow University and US government requirements
- Carry all the required documents when traveling and reentering the US as an international student
1 - Keep your immigration documents valid and unexpired
- 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 US or in your home country.
- Your I-94 record should be correct and printed out every time you travel outside of and reenter the US to ensure you entered the country in F-1 or J-1 status. To learn more, visit I-94 Record.
- Your I-20 or DS-2019 must be accurate and unexpired. You must keep all original I-20s ever issued to you in a safe place. Do not throw away any I-20. If any information is incorrect or you need to update anything on your I-20 or DS-2019, contact us. If your I-20 or DS-2019 is expiring, learn more about getting an extension.
- Your visa must be valid if you are traveling outside of and reentering the US. To learn more about getting a new visa, visit get a US visa.
2 - Register for full time enrollment every fall and spring semester
- You must register for full time enrollment every Fall and Spring semester. January term and Summer term are not mandatory semesters.
- You must be making normal progress towards your program completion.
- Only one online course may count towards full-time enrollment in any fall or spring semester.
- If you think you need to enroll part-time, get OGS permission to register for a reduced course load before your registration is finalized.
3 - Enroll in at least 1 in-person course during your final semester
➪ F-1 Students
OGS strongly advises that F-1 Students remaining in the US in their final semester to take at least one in-person course. Only 3 credits or 1 online course may count towards the full-time enrollment requirement. You may register part-time in your final semester only with OGS permission to register for a reduced course load. If you enroll in only online courses in your final semester, you do so at your own risk.
These risks include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty with or denial of future OPT requests
- Difficulty with or denial of future visa or change of status requests such as H1B, O1, Permanent Residency, etc.
- Difficulty with or denial of F-1 visa renewal, including the fact that it may be difficult or impossible to renew an F-1 visa while outside the U.S. during a final semester consisting of only online classes.
Students must remain in the US for their final semester if they intend to apply for post-completion OPT.
➪ J-1 Students
J-1 students cannot consider online course enrollment as part of their required full-time enrollment. Online course enrollment should be in addition to full-time in-person enrollment.
4 - Keep a US address and phone number in your NYU record and update within 10 days of any changes
You must keep a current US address and US phone number in your NYU record. If there are any changes, you are required to update the information within 10 days. For more information on how to update the address in your NYU record, visit How to Update Your Local US Address.
5 - Do not begin work without authorization
For more information on working in the US as an international student, visit Employment & Tax.
6 - Follow University and US government requirements
- You must have health insurance while you are a student at NYU. To learn more about your insurance and what you can do if you want to waive coverage, visit Insurance and Patient Accounts.
- Each year you are required to file a tax form regardless of whether you work in the US. For more information about how and when to file, visit our Tax Page.
- You must provide the NYU Student Health Center with records of your immunizations. If you don’t, you could be de-enrolled from your classes. To learn more about your health requirements, visit Health Requirements for all NYU Students.
- 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. For more information, please visit Effect of Arrest on Immigration Status.
- As international students, you need to avoid receiving government funding or benefits that might make you seem to be what is known as a 'public charge' - someone dependent on government funding or benefits that are intended only for US Citizens and/or Permanent Residents. See our public charge information to learn more about this.
7 - Carry all the required documents when traveling and reentering the US as an international student
See the list of required documents at Travel & Visitors.