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Maintaining My Status

Learn how BYU-Idaho international students can maintain their legal status in the United States while attending BYU-Idaho.

Your status is your responsibility. International Services is here to advise and assist you in any way, but ultimately it is your job to maintain your status.


One of the most important things that you need to do when you first enter the U.S. is to check in with International Sevices. All you need to do is fill out the New Student Check-In e-form on Sunapsis. You must do this within the first two weeks of your first semester. This is the same for transfer students’ first semester at BYU-Idaho.

If you do not check in, International Services will not be able to register you in the government system, and your status will be canceled.

Enrollment Requirements

Federal regulations require that all F-1 students be enrolled in a full course load for two consecutive semesters out of the year to be considered maintaining their non-immigrant status. For BYU-Idaho students, this would typically be your on-track semesters. Full course load means:

  • You are enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits, and
  • Only one online class or 3 credits of online coursework can count toward the 12-credit minimum (See the Department of Homeland Security PDF for more info).
  • Check the Course Delivery Methods to see what course types count towards your on-campus credits.

Registration is prioritized by the number of credits a student has earned. See the Registration page to find out when you register.

You must be fully enrolled on the first day of the semester. International Services will allow students to get to full enrollment within the first 30 days of the semester. Students who are not fully enrolled 30 days after the first day of the semester will have their I-20 terminated for Failure to Enroll.

You must maintain 12 credits the entire semester, or you will fall out of status. If you withdraw at any time without prior authorization from a DSO, even if it is a week before the semester ends, you will be out of status and your I-20 will be terminated.

For questions regarding enrollment requirements, please contact International Services. If you are not enrolled correctly, your immigration status may be terminated, and you will be required to return home. It is extremely important to ensure that you are in the correct amount of credits on campus.

Class Planning

If you feel like you are unable to be fully enrolled, contact International Services, and set up an appointment with an advisor.


The U.S. government takes working illegally very seriously. There are limited work opportunities available in the U.S. to international students. Because of this, international students are required to prove the financial ability to pay for tuition and living expenses while studying.

Employment limitations:

  • You are not permitted to work off-campus without permission from International Services in the form of a new I-20. Any off-campus job must be related to your major.
  • You can work on campus in any field.
  • You can only work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session (you may work full-time during school breaks and your flex track if you are taking less than 12 credits).

Immigration Documents

See the Immigration Documents page for important information regarding your passport, visa, I-94, and I-20.

Federal Regulations

There are several federal regulations related to international students. Familiarize yourself with the laws on the governing regulations page, as you will be held accountable for maintaining your status.

Report Change of Address

Federal regulations require that you report a change of address within 10 days of moving.

How to change your address at BYU-Idaho:

  • Log into your BYU-Idaho student profile
  • Select “more tab”
  • Select “profile”
  • Select the addresses tab to update your address

If you need help updating your address with BYU-Idaho, you will need to contact Student Records & Registration at 208-496-1000 or email them at Once your address is updated, a DSO in International Services will update your address in SEVIS.

Days of Unlawful Presence

Unlawful presence is the time when you are in the U.S. without an authorized period of stay. If you accrue more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the U.S. and then depart, you may be subject to a 3-year or 10-year bar of admission.

Days of unlawful presence begin counting when you fall out of status. Unlawful presence could start counting:

  • If your I-20 expires before graduation, and you did not extend your I-20 in time
  • After withdrawal from school
  • After the termination of your I-20
  • If your OPT application denied after the 60-day grace period ends
  • If you are in the U.S. after the 60-day grace period expires