Information for Current Students

All students holding the F-1 student visa are required to maintain their status according to federal immigration law. Please review the documents listed below:

  1. Responsibilities of Students in F-1 Visa Status
  2. Options for those whose I-20 is expiring
  3. Travel advisory

Responsibilities of F-1 Students Under SEVIS

Please Note: You must return the signed Student Responsibility Checklist Under Sevis to International Student Services in the Center for the Global Learner (White Building (Building 1), room 1-148 ). Please retain a photocopy for your records. Please show the copy to your academic advisor.

All students holding the F-1 student visa are required to maintain their status according to immigration law.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is the national database maintained by the United States government to keep track of international students attending US schools. Durham Technical Community College is required by law to regularly update all F-1 students’ records in SEVIS. Only staff in International Student Services (ISS) are Designated School Officials (DSOs) for SEVIS.

Maintaining Your Legal Status

  1. Students are required to take and maintain a full course load of at least 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester. Summer term classes are not required unless it is the student's first term (9 credit hours required). If a student has excessive absences, his/her instructor may drop him/her from a course. Only DSOs in the ISS Office can approve any reduced course load due to medical or other reasons in advance. An academic advisor or EFL advisor cannot grant approval for a reduced course load.

  2. Only 3 credit hours of online courses are permitted in any semester. Some programs at Durham Tech offer many courses online, therefore, a student may have to take additional courses or extend his/her time at Durham Tech in order to comply with this F-1 regulation. Discuss this with your academic advisor and ISS.

  3. Students admitted to the United States for duration of status (D/S) as long as he/she pursues a full course of study and makes normal progress toward completing the program. In the case that the student is not able to complete his/her studies by the original authorized completion date, the student will contact the ISS office before the completion date to request an extension. Updated financial support documents and authorization from an academic advisor are required. An extension cannot be granted after the completion date.

  4. Students will keep his/her passport, I-20 document, driver’s license, and health insurance current. Students will observe all federal, state, and local laws.

  5. Students may have difficulties applying for or renewing a driver’s license while pending a change of status, starting a new program at the same school, or transferring from another school until classes begin.

  6. If a student plans to travel outside of the country, he/she must make an appointment with a DSO in the ISS office to have the I-20 signed and prepare any necessary documents before traveling.

  7. Some programs have extensive prerequisites. In order to maintain a full-time course load each term students may need to take courses outside of his/her program of study. Some Health Technology programs (such as nursing) are competitive and students are not guaranteed to be accepted into his/her chosen program of study.
  8. Students who have a B1/B2 (visitor) visa status and are applying for a change of status (COS), cannot register for credit courses until the COS has been approved. Students may need to consult an attorney regarding his/her B1/B2 status.

  9. It is the student's responsibility to maintain his/her legal status in the US. If a student fails to maintain his/her status, they will become “out- of-status.” Visit the USCIS website for more information.

Transferring Schools

  1. Students must be “in-status” at his/her current school in order to transfer to Durham Tech. Durham Tech will issue the new I-20 once the current school verifies the student is “in-status” and releases his/her SEVIS record.

  2. Students must notify the ISS office at Durham Tech if he/she intends to transfer to a different school. Once accepted to the other school, Durham Tech can release the student's SEVIS record with proper documentation so the new school can issue an I-20. However the student should not officially request a transfer of the SEVIS record until he/she is definite about his/her decision to transfer.

F-2 Dependents

  1. F-2 dependents (spouse and children) are not eligible for employment at any time. F-2 adult dependents can enroll in credit classes part-time.


  1. Although on-campus employment for less than 20 hours per week is permitted, Durham Tech rarely has on-campus jobs available.

  2. Students are NOT permitted to work off-campus at all during his/her first year as an F-1 student. If an F-1 student works illegally off-campus he/she will become “out-of-status.” Students do not receive get a social security number unless he/she has a job offer or employment authorization.

  3. After the first academic year a student may apply for off-campus employment. The student must first attend an employment workshop, and meet with someone in the ISS office. Off campus employment options are:
    1. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
      Enrollment in a Work-Based Learning (WBL) course in my program of study is required for CPT authorization. CPT authorization is only approved for one semester per WBL course. CPT can be paid or unpaid.
    2. Optional Practical Training (OPT)
      Temporary employment in a student's field of study. Up to 24 months of part-time employment (pre-completion), or up to 12 months of full-time employment (post-completion).
  4. Any Employment Authorization Documents approved by USCIS, and used by the student, will automatically terminate if he/she transfers to another school.

Reporting to the ISS Office

The ISS office at Durham Tech is required by law to report certain changes about a student's status to SEVIS. The student must notify the ISS Office about any of the following events/changes so that ISS can complete the required reporting:

  • Enrollment or failure to enroll each term
  • Dropping below a full course of study
  • Failure to otherwise maintain status
  • Change of program of study
  • Program extensions
  • Change of student’s or F-2’s legal name or address
  • Completion of studies or early withdrawal
    (includes graduation or dropping out)
  • Termination date and reason for termination
  • Change of Status to another immigration status
  • School transfer
  • Employment authorization
  • Criminal conviction
  • Change in F-2 dependent status
  • F-2 departure (with no plan of return to the US) or
    F-2 change of status to another immigration status
  1. Students will report any changes to their legal name, address, telephone, email address and program of study to ISS within 10 days of the change.

  2. Students will notify ISS if they plan to leave Durham Tech or terminate their studies for any reason.

If you have questions regarding your F-1 student visa status, please contact International Student Services in the Center for the Global Learner White Building (Building 1), room 1-148 . Appointments can be scheduled by calling 919-536-7264 ext. 3228 or emailing the staff: Heidi White, (PDSO), Director of International Student Services,; Gina Perryman, (DSO), International Student Services Advisor,