International students must maintain status while studying at the University of Tennessee. A student who maintains status follows all immigration rules and regulations. A student who does not maintain status falls out of status. This is a polite way of saying that a student has broken the rules and is no longer legally residing in the US. The consequences of falling out of status can be severe and call for quick action on the part of a student to regain legal status.
Common Reasons for Being Out of Status
- Failure to complete a full-time course load during either the fall or spring semester
- Not attending the university during a regular semester but remaining in the US
- Working off campus without authorization or working more than 20 hours per week on campus
- Failure to properly complete a SEVIS transfer
- Failure to complete a change in degree level (change of program)
- Failure to obtain an extension of I-20/DS-2019 before the expiration date
- Failure to work at least 20 hours per week while under OPT employment authorization
Consequences of Being Out of Status
- Loss of all F-1/J-1 status benefits
- Ineligibility for on-campus work
- For GAs, UT can no longer waive tuition or pay a stipend
- All off-campus employment authorizations end
- Ineligibilityfor CPT or OPT or Academic Training
- Transferring to another US university becomes very difficult
- A student may be required to leave the US
Regaining Legal F-1 Status
There are two ways a student can regain legal status:
- Apply to USCIS for reinstatement to legal F-1 status (while staying in the US).
- Leave the US to re-enter with a new I-20. The student must have a valid visa to re-enter.