F-1 Orientation

Registration and Course Load Requirements

  • Students must register for full-time study (12 credit hours) no later than the first day of the semester. This enrollment must include any fast track or flex term classes a student wants to take for the semester.
  • Why? Richland College is required to register all students into SEVIS immediately after the semester commences.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is an internet based system implemented by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to track student enrollment for F, J, and M visa holders in the United States.

  • Nine credit hours of the 12 required hours must be taken in class lecture courses.

Example: Registration Schedule

BIOL 1401 – 4 credit hours (online)
ENGL1301 – 3 credit hours (online)
MATH 1314 – 3 credit hours (lecture)
HUMA 1301 – 3 credit hours (lecture)

To maintain status, a student will need to add 3 in-class credit hours by selecting a regular term, fast track or flex term class not taught online.

Online Learning Courses
  • An F-1 student may be enrolled only in 1 class online per semester. The online class should not be more than three credit hours class.
Concurrent Enrollment
  • Richland College International Student Services require F-1 visa students to receive written approval from an International Student Advisor prior to seeking concurrent enrollment.
  • The concurrent enrollment must reflect a minimum of 6 credit hours lecture (on campus) at Richland College. Registration at any school outside the DCCCD requires prior approval from an International Student Advisor.
Attendance Requirement

Attendance in classes is very important to maintain your F-1 visa status. International students on an F-1 visa must attend classes regularly (and must arrive in class on time) in order to maintain their immigration status in the U.S.
There will be severe consequences of excessive absenteeism and tardies.

If you miss 5 days, you will likely fail your classes. If you miss more than 10 days without a medical justification, we may require you to transfer out to another institution for the next semester. If you are late three times, it will count as one absence.

Excessive absenteeism and tardies may jeopardize your F-1 visa status!

If we need to terminate your SEVIS I-20 record due to failure to maintain status, you will need to transfer out to another institution to seek reinstatement for your F-1 status.

If you have a medical need to miss the classes, please inform your instructors and International Student Advisors.


Please request the proper procedures to apply for the following types of employment from an International Student Advisor in the Multicultural Center.

On-Campus Employment
  • Students may work 19.5 hours on the Richland College Campus.
  • Students may work anywhere on Richland College Campus including the bookstore, the cafeteria and the custodial service.
  • You may continue your campus employment if you demonstrate that the acceptance of employment will not interfere with you carrying a full course of study and it will not interfere with your grades.
Obtaining a Social Security Card

To obtain a Social Security card, students will need to find employment on campus, obtain a letter offering employment from the employer and bring the letter to an International Student Advisor.

Curriculum Practical Training
  • Curricular practical training is defined as an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.
  • An F1 student may be authorized to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.
  • The Curriculum Practical Training must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
  • Students at Richland College are eligible only for Part Time CPT – Curriculum Practical Training.
Optional Practical Training

An F-1 student may be authorized to have 12 months of Optional Practical Training, and become eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he/she changes to a higher educational level (Associate, Bachelor, Master and doctorate)


If you are going to travel to your home country, or to another country, you must get travel authorization from an International Student Advisor at least 10 days before your trip. Please bring your I-20 and passport to get a travel endorsement. Please check if your passport and F-1 visa are still valid. Let us know if you need a letter for a visa renewal. If you leave the country without advisor’s signature on the 2nd page of your I-20 and without a travel authorization, you may experience serious problems with your return to the U.S. at the airport (or other port of entry).

After each trip, upon arrival in the U.S., please go to: www.CBP.gov/i94 and enter required information in order to print your I-94 admission number (based on the electronically submitted data). You will be provided with a CBP admission stamp (with the date of your arrival in the U.S.) on your passport.

Important: You must keep your passport valid for at least 6 months into the future.

Check your passport expiration date!

If you need to renew your passport, please contact your embassy/consulate in the United States for further details.

If you need to travel during the academic term due to an emergency situation, please see an International Student Advisor and inform your instructors immediately.

If you are traveling and will not be able to register in person, please provide a completed and signed Proxy Form to the authorized person (your friend or relative) who can come to see an advisor and register for your classes. You must provide a copy of your student ID card (both sides) or photo ID to the authorized person.

You may obtain Proxy Form


Before you transfer to another school please contact an International Student Advisor for the proper procedures.

If you want to transfer to another university you need to:

  1. Seek guidance from the International Student Advisor at the university you are seeking to attend for the following semester.
  2. If required, please submit the Transfer Clearance Form to a Richland College International student Advisor to verify your status.
  3. Please submit proof of acceptance from the transfer school.
  4. Complete the Richland College SEVIS Release Form to transfer your record to the school of your choice. Once your record has been released in SEVIS to the transfer school, Richland College will not be able to cancel this process.


Registration & Grades
  • Students need to register as early as possible to obtain the best schedule of classes.
  • It is always important to register for a full-course of study of each Spring and Fall semester in order to maintain status.
  • Summer is an optional term, unless Summer is the first semester of student attending Richland College.
  • If you find that you are going to receive a failing grade in a course(s), please come to the Multicultural Center to speak with an International Student Advisor immediately. Do not wait until the end of the semester.
Probation, Suspension, Dismissal
  • Probation (PROB) on your advising report indicates you did not have a favorable semester.
  • If you do not increase your GPA in the following semester, you will be placed on Suspension (SUSP) which means automatically termination on SEVIS.

You will lose your F1 status and you will need to leave the United States immediately.

Information regarding academic probation, suspension and dismissal is available in the Richland College Catalog and on the following websites:

Suspension-to-Probation Program

Student must carry a 2.0 GPA to maintain F1 status

International Student Advisement in the Multicultural Center

Please visit an International Student Advisor in the Multicultural Center when you have any questions regarding immigration issues or maintaining your F-1 status.

Student guidelines to maintain legal F-1 status

Please review the following guidelines. Each one is important to maintain your F-1 Status

  1. Maintain a passport valid for at least six months into the future
  2. Attend the college or university that the United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) has authorized you to attend
  3. Continue to carry a full course* of study (12 credit hours) each regular semester (fall and spring). If a problem arises, talk to your International Student Advisor prior to dropping below full course of study.
  4. 9 credit hours (on campus) of the 12 required credit hours must be taken as in-class lecture courses.
  5. Only 1 class online is allowed of the 12 required credit hours per semester
  6. CLEP exams and credit by exam cannot be used as part of the required 12 hours.
  7. Registration for the required 12 hours must be done prior the first day of the semester.
  8. Attend classes regularly in order to maintain your F-1 visa status. There will be severe consequences of excessive absenteeism.
  9. Concurrent enrollment at other DCCCD colleges or other colleges/universities must be approved by your International Student Advisor.
  10. Maintain good academic standing of 2.0 GPA or better.
  11. A change in educational level from the Intensive English Program to college level programs or change of major requires a new I-20. Please contact your International Student Advisor at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the new program.
  12. Do not change schools without first contacting your International Student Advisor for the proper procedures.
  13. Limit on-campus employment to 19.5 hours per week while school is in session. **
  14. Do not engage in off campus employment without authorization from the USCIS.
  15. Report a change of address, phone number or email address to the International Office within 10 days.
  16. Meet all financial obligations at Richland College. If problems arise, talk to your International Student Advisor.
  17. Request travel authorization from the International Student Office at least two weeks before leaving the U.S.A.
  18. Please contact the Multicultural Center regarding any immigration issues or questions.


  • A minimum of 12 credits hours for college level. (no more than the equivalent of one online/distance education class for three credits per session may be counted toward the “full course of study” requirements; 9 credits hours of the 12 required hours must be taken as in-class lecture courses)
  • 18 clock hours for the intensive English program

Student who fail to maintain a full course of study are out of status and ineligible to work on campus, or to apply for off campus employment. Failure to maintain status may also affect the ability to transfer to another school.

**ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT: F-1 students who maintain their legal status and are in good standing at Richland collage are eligible to work on campus up to 19.5 hours per week without immigration authorization.

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