Maintaining Your Status

As an international student you are required to:

Register for and complete a full-time course load every semester.
Full-time enrollment at Hostos Community College is 12 credits per semester. You must have authorization from the DSO before you can register for less than a full course load. Immigration regulations allow very few exceptions to the full-course requirement. To obtain this authorization, have your advisor complete a part-time enrollment form, which must be submitted to the DSO. Failure to obtain DSO authorization or to submit this form could affect your F-1 or J-1 status in the United States.

Make sure your passport is always valid.
If your passport will be expiring while you are here in the United States you must contact your consulate in New York City or embassy in Washington D.C. for renewal procedures.

Be sure to review your I-94 card. It must be stamped F-1 or J-1 and D/S.
Onboard the plane you will be asked to complete an I-94 form. The custom official at the airport will stamp the form F1 or J1 AND D/S. If your card is not marked D/S (duration of status) bring it to the DSO immediately. The eleven-digit number on this card is very important; it serves as the key to your immigration records while you are in the U.S. as a student. Do not lose this card; it is required for all applications you submit to the DSO or the USCIS.

Make sure all information on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 remains correct.
The SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 is a very important document. It serves as the record of your purpose in the U.S. If there are any changes to the information on the SEVIS I-20/DS-2019, you are required to notify the DSO as soon as possible. Changes include name, citizenship, degree level, major, source and amount of funds.

Notify the DSO if there is a change in your "completion date" on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019. Section #5 of the SEVIS I-20 or section #3 of the DS-2019 indicates the date you are expected to complete your program at Hostos Community College. If you are going to complete before the date listed, you need to notify the DSO of this change, as it affects your legal stay in the U.S. If you will not complete your program by the date listed, you will need to apply for an extension of your F-1 or J-1 status. An application for extension must be made at least 30 days before the completion date indicated on the SEVIS I-20/DS-2019.

Acquire written work authorization from the DSO or the USCIS.
You can NOT work without authorization. Working in the U.S. is a benefit for which you must apply and obtain written authorization. There are regulations for on-campus and off-campus employment. Authorization from USCIS for certain off-campus employment can take up to 3 months.

Contact the DSO before you transfer to another institution or take a leave of absence.

Report any change of address to DSO, the registrar's office and your local U.S. Post Office.
Changes of address must be reported within 10 days of your move. Students are required to provide both a mailing address and a physical address.

Consult the DSO first for all immigration concerns and questions.
Students will often obtain information from friends, family, various web sites, and newspapers. While convenient, it is likely that the information you obtain this way may not be up to date or accurate. To avoid confusion and risks to your status, always consult the DSO first.

Never go to the USCIS unless instructed by the DSO.
It is very rare that you will have to go directly to the USCIS to submit an application. Since most USCIS officers do not work with student regulations, it is likely that if you visit a USCIS office on your own, you will not be able to meet with an officer who the appropriate official. If you have a complex case that requires a trip to the USCIS or needs to be handled by an attorney, the DSO will instruct you accordingly.

It is your responsibility to maintain F-1 or J-1 student status.

Make and safeguard photocopies of your immigration-related documents.

Students transferring from another school must process their SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 within 15 days from the start of classes. You must contact the DSO immediately so that we can begin to process your new SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019.

The DSO is on duty daily at the Admissions Office.
If you have questions, concerns, or an application to process, please stop by the DSO’s Office. The hours for the 2008-2009 academic year are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Appointments with the International Student Advisor are Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Plan ahead!
The DSO serves the entire international student populations in the college. With so many students the wait time for processing of documents is normally 5 to 7 business days.  Whenever possible and depending on the urgency documents submitted by students may be processed faster, but this is not guaranteed.  Please keep this processing time in mind when looking at certain deadlines that may jeopardize your F-1 and J-1 status.

Need more info about admissions? Call (718) 319-7900 or Send us an e-mail