Immigration Information

the staff of OISS David Tilahun

Maintaining Your F-1 Student Status

F-1 Students are responsible to know and follow immigration regulations (USCIS Rules & RegulationsPDF document).  Failure to maintain your status, or comply with these regulations, may have very severe consequences on your ability to study, seek employment, or even remain in the United States.  Please carefully review the list below of requirements and contact the Office of International Student Services if you have any questions about these regulations.  The following regulations are very important for all F-1 students to remember:

  • Make sure that your immigration documents are valid and unexpired.
  • The school name on your current I-20 must match the school you are currently attending.  Keep all information on your I-20 up to date including changes in financial information, name, address and program major.  Also, make sure your I-20 program end date does not expire.  You may apply for a Program Extension if you need more time to complete your degree.  
  • Keep your passport valid 6 months into the future (passports can be extended while you are in the U.S. by contacting your home country's embassy consulate.).  
  • Make sure you have your I-94 and it is stamped F-1 D/S (Duration of Status).  
  • Duration of status: If your I-94 card is stamped F-1 D/S - this means that as long as you are a full-time student every major semester, your immigration documents are correct and you do not leave the United States, your visa in your passport does not expire. Once you fall out of status or leave the U.S., your visa may not be valid.  If you have any questions, please stop by the Office of International Student Services. 
  • If you plan to travel outside the U.S. and re-enter, make sure that your Visa is not expired, otherwise you need to renew your visa before re-entering the U.S.  Please stop by the Office of International Student Services with your passport and I-20 at least two weeks before you travel outside the U.S.
  • Register for and complete a full course load of at least 12 credits every semester (fall and spring).


All students are required to make normal, full-time progress toward degree completion.  If you feel that you cannot handle taking 12 credits during the semester, consult with your International Student Advisor and International Academic Counselor to see if you qualify for a Reduced Course Load.  DO NOT drop or withdraw from any classes until you are authorized by an International Student Advisor and/or the International Academic Counselor.  You MUST discuss this matter with your advisor about the consequences of being below 12 units.     

After successfully registering for 12 units, here are 10 International Student guidelines to live by while attending Cerritos College:

  • Do not drop below 12 units during the Fall and Spring terms.  
  • Study hard and maintain a Grade Point Average of at least 2.0
  • Do not work on or off campus without approval from the Office of International Student Services and/or the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  
  • Have a current passport, a valid I-20, and all immigration documents at all times.  
  • Contact the Office of International Student Services immediately to update your file with any new address, phone number, e-mail address, change of major, and other changes.  
  • Have International Student Medical Insurance for yourself (and your dependents) at all times.  
  • Transfer properly-if you are admitted by another school, sign page 1 and 3 of your I-20 and return all pages of your I-20 to the Office of International Student Services.  
  • Come to the Office of International Student Services before leaving the U.S.A. (especially if you want to re-enter the U.S.A.)
  • Contact the Office of International Student Services to schedule an appointment with an International Student Counselor for information on transferring, developing an educational plan, applying for an AA degree, or being a concurrent student.  You must also see her before dropping courses and/or if you are having any problems in class.  
  • Get involved on campus with student organizations and activities - become a leader, meet fellow students, and have some fun! Extracurricular involvement and experiences will assist you in getting into the university of your choice!

For more immigration guidance, please feel free to visit the Office of International Student Services, located in the Santa Barbara Building. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (hours may vary during the summer and off seasons).

Contact information:

David Tilahun
International Admission Specialist, Office of International Student Services
Phone: (562) 860-2451 ext. 2232 | Email: