F1 Visa & Immigration

Entering The U.S.

You will need:

  • UM-Flint I-20 (or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status)
  • A valid F-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) issued by the U.S. embassy/consulate overseas
  • A valid passport
  • Your SEVIS fee receipt

NOTE: Canadian citizens do not need U.S. visas. Please be advised that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date in section 5 on your I-20.


All international students in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status must either be enrolled full-time or receive permission from the CGE. The deadline for registration is the end of the UM-Flint Drop/Add period.

Students not registered full-time by the deadline will have their SEVIS record terminated and will lose their F-1/J-1 status. There is no grace period to remain in the U.S. following status termination. In general, the minimum full-time enrollment for international students during the Fall and Winter terms is as follows:

  • Undergraduate Students 12 credit hours
  • Graduate Students 8 credit hours
    • GSRA Students 6 credit hours
  • Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment Requirements: In some cases, international students may receive permission from the UM-Flint Center for Global Engagement to drop below full-time enrollment.

No more than one online course per Fall or Winter semester may count towards the full-time requirement.

Note: You must be registered full-time during your first term of admission. If admitted to begin spring/summer, you must be full-time with in-person courses during that first spring/summer term.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires a fee for all new F-1 and J-1 program applicants to cover the costs of the operation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program. See fee information at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website here.

Maintaining Status F-1

F-1 students must meet certain obligations in order to maintain legal immigration status, to receive benefits of F-1 status such as employment and program extension, and can be crucial to a successful application for a change or adjustment of visa status in the future. Failure to maintain your non-immigrant status can result in problems and could lead to deportation from the U.S. Due to the complexity of U.S. immigration regulations, the International Student Advisor at the CGE can be consulted for advice.

Within the U.S.

While studying on campus, we advise carrying a copy of your passport, I-20, and I-94 with you. Keep your original documents in a safe and secure location. If you are traveling within the U.S., you should bring the following original documents on your trip:

  • Passport
  • I-20


Family members who are not the children or spouse of the F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor must apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa to gain entry into the U.S. Family members from certain countries may be eligible to travel to the U.S. to visit for stays of up to 90 days without obtaining a B-1/B-2 visa through the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program. Information on B-1/B-2 visitor visas may be found at the Travel.State.Gov website here and how to apply here.

Re-entering the U.S.

Expect more thorough screening procedures at airports and other ports of entry upon Re-entry into the U.S. Identity and the validity of visa and immigration documents I-20 or DS-2019 will be checked against U.S. law enforcement databases. During entry procedures, answer all questions clearly. If you do not understand a question, make sure to ask for clarification before answering. Omission or misrepresentation of information can cause serious problems.