Maintaining Your Visa Status

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You are in charge of maintaining your visa. It will be your job to ask questions and be well informed about your particular visa regulations. The OISS is a source of support and guidance for you throughout your academic career at Grand View University.

The topics on this page will be a good resource for you as well, but I encourage you to visit the OISS with any major questions and participate in the immigration workshops throughout the academic year.

Full Course of Study

In order to maintain your visa you must be enrolled as a full-time student.

  • Undergraduates: 12 credit hours
  • Graduates: 9 credit hours

If you begin your studies during the summer session, you will be required to be enrolled in 6 credit hours. However if your first semester is not in the summer, you are not required to take classes over summer break.

Reduced Course Load (RCL)

There are some circumstances when you are able to drop below a full course of study.

  • Illness or Medical Condition - You will need to show proof of your illness with a note from a medical doctor (M.D.)
  • Academic Issues - Will be assessed on an individual basis by the OISS

Part-time Border Commuter Students

This only applies to Canadian commuters. In order to be considered for RCL, you need to meet with the Director of Multicultural and Community Outreach. Together, you can fill out a form and return it to the OISS before dropping below a full course of study. Once the completed RCL form has been submitted, the OISS will decide whether you are eligible to drop below a full course of study.

Change of Address
If your address changes while you are studying at Grand View, you must notify the OISS of your new address within 10 days of your change of address.
Leave of Absence

F-1 international students who need to leave the United States for no more than 5 months, and are unable to maintain full-time student status while outside of the U.S. must receive authorization for a Leave of Absence (LOA) from OISS and their academic department.

LOA Requirements for the Student

  • You must be outside the U.S. during the LOA
  • You must be in good academic standing
  • You must be approved for a LOA by the OISS and the academic department

The Leave of Absence Form must be filled out by your advisor or department chair. We recommend that you speak to your department about the academic consequences of an LOA (i.e. will you be able to return to your academic program after the LOA?).

LOA Exceeding 5 Months

Students who will be outside the U.S. for longer than 5 months for an LOA will need to apply for a new visa even if your current visa has not expired.

You must contact OISS at least two months prior to returning to Grand View to request a new I-20 to present to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate when applying for your new visa.

You will also need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

Learn how to apply for a new visa

Returning From LOA

All students returning from an LOA must report to OISS immediately after returning to the United States.   

Students must bring the following documents when reporting to OISS:

  • Stamped I-20
  • I-94 card
  • Visa in passport
Visa Renewal
  • You may NOT renew your visa in the United States.
  • You do not have to renew your visa if you have a valid I-20 and you remain in the United States (this does not include Canada or Mexico).

How to Renew Your Visa

  • You must leave the United States.
  • You may renew your visa anywhere outside of the United States, but it is recommended that you renew your visa in your home country. You may not return to the U.S. until you visa renewal is approved.
  • You should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country for more information before you leave the U.S. for changes in regulations. You can find the Embassy/Consulate in your country at usembassy.gov.
  • Visa appointment wait times: travel.state.gov.
  • What you will need:
    • A completed visa application DS-160
    • Proof of payment for visa application
    • Current I-20 signed on first and third page by DSO (and all previous I-20s)
    • Passport valid at least 6 months into the future
    • Updated financial support documents 
    • Proof of enrollment at Grand View University (usually a transcript)
    • Letter from OISS confirming that you are enrolled and in good visa status
    • For dependents applying for an F-2 visa: You should also bring your marriage certificate

Automatic Visa Revalidation: Allows you to leave the U.S. to visit certain countries for less than 30 days and re-enter on your expired visa if you did not apply for a visa renewal while out of the U.S. This does NOT renew your visa, it is only valid for a single trip.

I-20 Extension

You may be eligible to extend your I-20 if:

  • You are making normal progress towards your degree
  • You submit all the required documents to the OISS for the extension before the program end date on your current I-20
  • The extension is no longer than one academic year

Required Documents

  • Request for Extension of I-20 Form
  • A letter from your academic advisor explaining why you were unable to complete your program within the specified time as well as the new expected completion date
  • Proof of financial support (see OISS for amount)