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Maintaining Status

This page includes helpful information about maintaining your F-1 status during your program at Denver Seminary so that you don’t jeopardize your stay in the U.S. Please contact your Designated School Official (DSO) at with any questions or concerns.

Here are the details:

Duration of Status

This is the length of time you are permitted to stay in the U.S. and is indicated on your Form I-94 as D/S. In general, you are allowed to stay as long as you are pursuing a full course of study. You remain in status during summer break (even if you are not taking any classes) as long as you intend to register for classes in the fall.


You must complete your program by the program end date on your Form I-20. If you will complete your program early, your DSO must shorten your program in SEVIS. If you need more time to complete your program, talk to your DSO to see if it is possible to extend your program. You also have a grace period of 60 days after completing your program that allows you time to prepare to leave the U.S. No employment is permitted within the 60-day grace period. If you withdraw from classes or otherwise terminate your course of study without first gaining the approval of a DSO, there is no grace period to leave the U.S.


Duration of Status during post-completion OPT:

Your D/S begins from the day your application for OPT was properly filed and pending approval, includes the authorized period of post-completion OPT, and ends 60 days after the OPT employment authorization expires.

Full Course of Study

F-1 students must be enrolled in a full course load during the fall and spring semesters to maintain status (the summer and intersession have no credit hour requirements), and only 1 class or up to 3 credits may be an online course. At Denver Seminary, this is generally defined as 9 credit hours. There are a few exceptions to this:

  • Students who have initial difficulty with the English language, reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods may be authorized by their DSO to take a reduced course load for one semester.

  • A DSO may authorize a reduced course load when a student has a temporary illness or medical condition (with medical documentation) for an aggregate of 12 months throughout the student's program.

  • Some internship courses allow a student take a reduced course load, authorized by the DSO, due to their unique demands on a student's time. If you are enrolled in an internship course and have questions about how many total credits you must take during that semester, contact your DSO.

  • A student is permitted to take less than a full course load during their final semester when they may have fewer than 9 credits left to complete their program.

Keeping Records Updated

You must report to your DSO at the beginning of each semester within 30 days of the session start date to ensure your DSO registers you in SEVIS. You must also report any change of address or name to your DSO within 10 days of the change so SEVIS can be updated. Keep your Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures with your DSO to make other changes as necessary (e.g. change of program). Be sure to keep your passport valid and abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.


F-1 students may be employed only in on-campus positions at Denver Seminary. Please note, as a non-U.S. citizen, you are not eligible for work-study positions, which are federally funded. On-campus employment does not require DSO authorization or updates to SEVIS, however it is good practice to talk with your DSO about positions you are interested in applying for to ensure they would not violate your status. You may only work part time for up to 20 hours a week during the semester. You can work for more than 20 hours during the Christmas and summer breaks as long as you plan to register for the next semester.

F-1 students are not eligible for the Ministry Residency Program, since these positions are off-campus. For more information about types of off-campus work authorization possible for F-1 students, see the pages with information about CPT and OPT.

F-2 Dependents

Employment: F-2 dependents are not permitted to work under any circumstances for the duration of their time in the U.S.



  • F-2 spouses may not engage in a full course of study unless it is avocational or recreational in nature. To pursue full time study outside these types, the F-2 must apply for and obtain a change of status to F-1, J-1, or M-1.

  • F-2 spouses and children are permitted to enroll in less than full-time study in a certified program at an SEVP-certified school, even if the course of study done part-time leads to or counts towards a degree. These classes may be online.

  • F-2 children may engage in full-time study at the K-12 level at any K-12 school.

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