It is extremely important for students to maintain legal immigration status while in the US. Violations can result in serious consequences. Here are some items that are necessary to maintain legal immigration status while in the US:
Report to the Center for International Education (CIE) as soon as possible after your arrival. We must update your record in SEVIS within 30 days after the program start date.
Pursue Full Program of Study
Students are required to be registered for full time credits during the Fall and Spring semesters. Only three credits of online courses may be counted toward full-time enrollment. The minimum number of credits to be considered full time is:
Undergraduate student 12 credits
Graduate student 9 credits
Completing Program of Study
Make normal progress toward your degree and complete program before the expiration date in section 5 on the I-20. The length of time for your program should allow you sufficient time to complete your degree, if you maintain full time enrollment each term. If you do not finish your program by the end date, you will be in violation of your visa status.
Extension of Stay
Follow proper procedure for extension of stay. If you discover you will not be able to complete your program by the end date on the I-20, contact the CIE. If you are eligible for an extension of the program, it must be done before the end date on the current I-20.
Change of Address
After you are here, you are required to report a change of residence within 10 days of your move. Contact the staff in CIE so we can update the SEVIS record.
Authorization to Work
International students may find they wish to work while in the US. There are some allowances for it, but it should be noted that there are limitations. Students should be careful to comply with all regulations as working illegally is considered a very serious offense. Be sure to check with the staff in the Center for International Education before accepting or beginning ANY type of employment.
Know your immigration documents and KEEP THEM VALID AT ALL TIMES
Generally, you are required to a valid passport at least six months into the future.
The visa allows you to apply for entry to the US at the port of entry. It shows the immigration status, the number of times you may enter the US (single, double, or multiple entry) and the last day on which you can enter the country. It is not illegal to be in the US with an expired VISA. Once you are within the borders of the US, if your visa has expired, it is necessary to obtain a new visa only if you leave and want to re-enter the US.
The I-20 authorizes you to attend Grand Canyon University (GCU). Be sure to read page 2 of the I-20 thoroughly and sign and date at the bottom of page 1 if you haven't done so already.
Form I-94 Arrival and Departure Record
Form I-94 will be distributed on the airplane prior to landing in the US. When you pass through the immigration check station, the border agent will make a notation of the date of entry and your visa status and will usually staple the form into your passport. In most cases a notation of "D/S" (duration of status) will be marked on the card, indicating you may stay in the US until you have finished your academic program as long as you are maintaining status. This card shows that you have been lawfully admitted to the US. DO NOT LOSE THIS FORM. Only one will be issued and replacements are expensive and take a long time to receive. If you travel out of the US, you will turn in the I-94 and receive a new one upon your return.
Safeguarding Immigration Documents
Do not lose or destroy ANY documents you receive from the US government or school officials. You should keep all documents issued to you in a safe and accessible place, in the event you need to show them to the authorities.