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About F-1 visas

It is important for international students to maintain F-1 Student Visa, while studying in the United States. The student needs to understand the purpose or reason for coming to the United States. If the Department of State issues you an F-1 Student Visa, which means that you are coming to the United States to study, the student should not take any action that detracts from that purpose. The following information display the process to maintain your status.

Students on F-1 Visa status at Metropolitan State must comply with the following rules:

  • Possess a valid passport and unexpired I-20 at all times.
  • Maintain full-time student status with 2.0 GPA. Undergraduate students must enroll for 12 credits per semester; graduate students must enroll for eight credits per semester. International students at Metropolitan State must be registered for fall and spring semester. A student may choose to be enrolled for summer semester. Students under special circumstances who cannot take a full-time course load must contact the international student advisor at 651-793-1219.
  • Covered by adequate medical insurance. Metropolitan State's policy is that: "All international students and visiting scholars engaged in educational activities are required to purchase the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities international student accident and illness insurance plan, unless they can provide written verification that their government accepts full responsibility for any medical claims that might occur."

The only exception to this regulation is proof that the student is from a country that has national health insurance. A letter from the Embassy is required. Metropolitan State reserves the right to require all students from a particular country to purchase the university's student health plan, if, in Metropolitan State's sole discretion, that country or its Embassy is unable or unwilling to provide comparable, consistent, comprehensive and timely coverage and payment. See the complete policy.

  • On-Campus Employment. An international student on F-1 visa status is eligible to seek on-campus employment (20 hours/week) upon enrollment. The university has limited on-campus job opportunities. Permission to work off-campus is given by BCIS only for certain restricted reasons and only after nine months of full-time status.
  • Compliance with F-1 visa rules and regulations.

I-20 Requirements

  • A completed Affidavit of Financial Support Form I-34 (original and notarized) with supporting documents must be submitted with admission application.
  • Download the Affidavit of Financial Support form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.
  • For transfer students, Metropolitan State requires additional information. Contact the international student advisor.


When arriving to the United States,the F-1 visa students must enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins. The international students should contact the international student service, when they arrive to the United States.

F-1 Students Vacation

If you travel outside the US while you are in F-1 status, your I-20 must be signed on page 3 by the International Student Advisor. Your valid I-20 with an advisor's signature confirms that you are maintaining your F-1 status and are eligible to re-enter the US.

While you are studying at Metropolitan State University you may want to travel outside the United States, such as:

  • To return your home country over summer break.
  • To explore another country on Spring break
  • To participate in a study abroad program

But, before you pack your luggage, make sure you have a valid travel signature from an International student Advisor on page 3 of your I-20. You will not be able to re-enter the United States without the signature.

To get a travel signature, the international students need to make a request to meet international advisor at least two weeks before you plan to travel, and bring your I-20 to International Student Service.

Travel signatures are valid for one calendar year or until the completion of your program, whichever comes first.

Work and Practical Training for F-1 Students

F-1 visa Student may only work when authorized by the Metropolitan State University International Student Service, and U.S citizenship and immigration Services (USCIS). If you choose to work without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States immediately, and you may not be able to re-enter the United States at a later date.

International students are eligible for curricular practical training (CPT) at either the undergraduate or the graduate level during the program of study. CPT employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum and the position must directly relate to your major area of study. International students are also eligible for optional practical training during or following the program study. OPT is a form of temporary employment that directly relates to your program of study.

For more information about employment and training options available for the international students, please visit the international student service and learn the information on the working in the United States page.

Upon Program Completion

International students must take action to maintain legal status or depart the United States after completing your program of study.

Once you complete your program of study and any authorized period of practical training, F-1 visa students have 60 days after completion of your program (the program end date on your Form I-20) to leave the United States. If you wish to extend your stay in the United States, talk with your international student advisor to learn more about doing one of the following:

  • Transfer to another school.
  • Change your education level (e.g. bachelor degree to master degree).
  • Apply to change status to another visa status (e.g. H-1B-temporary worker; O-extraordinary ability in science, art or business; P-athlete).

Make sure your I-20 Reflects Your Current Situation

If there have been any changes in your situation (for example, if you have changes your major, degree level, or sources(s) of financial support) that are not indicated on your current I-20, you will need to get a new one. F-1 students should speak with the International Student Service, if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Change your major, program or degree level.
  • Change your education level (for example, change from bachelor degree to master degree).
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence.
  • Take a break from school.
  • Travel outside the United States.
  • Move to a new address
  • Request a program extension.