An F-1 visa allows an international student to enter the United States to study in a language and/or academic program. If you are studying at Walla Walla Community College on an F-1 visa, you must comply with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements, as well as the college’s requirements.

Enrollment Requirements

F-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status of at least 12 credit hours.

In certain situations, you can request to drop below a full course load. For example, if you are in your last quarter before graduation or have a qualifying emergency.

Inform WWCC of any Change in Program

Your Form I-20 must accurately reflect your current status as a student. You are responsible for keeping it up to date. If you change your academic program in any way, please inform the Office of International Programs.

Your I-20 will need to be changed and updated before any of the following:

  • Change of major
  • Graduating from your academic program
  • Change of level (e.g. from a certificate program to undergraduate study)
  • Extending your F-1 immigration status
  • Dropping below full-time enrollment
  • Canceling enrollment

Check the detail status requirements to be sure you follow proper procedure and meet U.S. government requirements.

International students with an F-1 or M-1 visa must be “in status” with all U.S. immigration policies. Students who do not maintain status will be reported in SEVIS to the Department of Homeland Security.

To keep your F-1 visa status you must do the following:

  • Have a valid passport while in the U.S. (it should always be valid for at least six months into the future).
  • Have a valid visa to enter the U.S. (see the section below on expiration of visa)
  • Have a valid I-20 while in the U.S. (you are responsible to make sure all information is accurate).
  • Attend the school to which you have been authorized to attend.
  • Be a full-time student. At Walla Walla Community College, full-time means 18 credits per term for IEP students, and 12 credits per term for college-level students. Immigration regulations do not allow you to enroll in more than 1 online course each quarter.
  • Make satisfactory progress toward a degree program. At Walla Walla Community College, satisfactory progress is a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.
  • Follow proper transfer procedures if you want to attend a school other than Walla Walla Community College.
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week except for approved OPT or CPT. Walla Walla Community College employment policies generally limit on-campus employment to 15 hours per week.
  • Not work off-campus except for approved OPT or CPT.
  • Report your new address within 10 days of moving to Dept. of Homeland Security (see page on SEVIS policies under “Change of Address”).
  • Stay enrolled in classes except for authorized breaks, for example summer quarter after completing THREE consecutive quarters.
  • Notify your DSO of any changes in status, address, program of study.
  • Work with proper authorization only (working without authorization is a serious violation of your status).
  • Check your WWCC email or CANVAS account regularly – this is the official form of communication from Walla Walla Community College.

EXPIRATION OF VISA: The visa in your passport is used only to enter the U.S. While you are staying in the U.S. this visa may expire. As long as you stay in the U.S., you do not need to renew this visa. However, if your visa has expired and you leave the U.S., you must apply for a new visa before you return to the U.S. Check with your DSO if you have questions about your visa.

Earn Passing Grades

You must pass all of your courses. If your courses are too difficult, contact your DSO immediately. If you become academically deficient, you must seek academic reinstatement in order to continue at WWCC.

Summer Session Enrollment

Summer enrollment is optional for continuing full-time students. If you were enrolled at WWCC for the prior fall, winter, and spring quarters and plan to continue the following fall quarter, you are not required to enroll during the summer quarter.

Summer Quarter is Your First at WWCC

If you are beginning studies in the summer and a summer start date is on your I-20 (F-1 students), then you must enroll for credits during the summer quarter.

Your Form I-20 must accurately reflect your current status as a student. You are responsible for keeping it up-to-date.

If you need to change your student status in any way, check the information below to be sure you are following proper procedure and meeting U.S. government requirements.

Changing Your Program of Study

Your Form I-20 must accurately reflect the program of study that you currently pursue at WWCC. You are responsible for updating your I-20 once your change of program becomes official.

Change of Major

If you change your major, you must obtain a new I-20. Submit a new I-20 Request Form with supporting financial documentation.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

  1. SEVIS is a database system used by schools, immigration, ports of entry, and consulates abroad to collect data about international students.
  2. All international students in the U.S. should have been entered into SEVIS by August 1, 2003.
  3. Information reported by schools in SEVIS includes name, address in the student’s home country, address in the U.S., birth date, enrollment status, date of entry to the U.S., major, school transfers, Optional Practical Training, etc.
  4. Students who are out of status must be reported within SEVIS as required by U.S. immigration law.

What SEVIS means to you

  1. The U.S. government is more closely watching international students since the events of September 11, 2001.
  2. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to talk with the DSO before doing anything that could affect your immigration status.
  3. You must be enrolled in 12 credits each term if you are a college-level student and 18 credits each term if you are an IEP student to stay in status with immigration policy.
  4. Students who are out of status will be reported within SEVIS as required by U.S. immigration law.

Change of Address

All international students are required to notify USCIS within 10 days of moving.

  1. You can file online (www.uscis.gov/addresschange) AND provide your change of address to the DSO.
  2. Complete a Walla Walla Community College change of address form to be submitted at the registration counter. Make your change of address form at the Admissions counter.
  3. Complete a post office change of address form to be submitted at the Walla Walla post office. This change of address form is available at any U.S. post office.

NOTE: A change of address applies to the residence where you are living and cannot be a P.O. Box or a friend’s address.

Travel Outside and Re-entry into the U.S.

  1. Check with the DSO before you leave the U.S. Tell the DSO when you are leaving and returning.
  2. Check the DSO’s signature and date on the travel authorization section of your I-20. Although when properly endorsed, is valid for one year, if the date on your I-20 is more than six months old, please get a new signature and date from the DSO.
  3. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE YOUR I-20 AND PASSPORT! We also recommend that you take an enrollment verification letter from the DSO and a copy of your current class schedule when you travel outside the U.S.
  4. Please print and submit an updated I-94 card to the DSO any time you exit and re-enter the U.S.

Leaving WWCC

At some point, you will choose to leave WWCC. If you are an F-1 student, your departure might be for any of the following reasons:

  • You Have Completed Your Academic Program
  • You Have Cancelled Your Enrolment
  • You Plan to Transfer to another School or Program

Whatever your reason, be sure to follow the proper procedures for departure detailed below.

Before You Go

Notify International Programs – The information you provide will help International Programs update your record accurately.