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Frequently Asked Questions

Registration and Course Load

Registration and Attendance: You must enroll and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours each fall and spring term at the school which issued your I-20. If you fail to attend classes, Iowa Lakes is obligated to notify the BCIS, which could result in the revocation of your I-20.

Withdrawals: You cannot withdraw from a class if it means that you will have fewer than 12 credits hours for the term.

Reduction in Course Load: With approval, in advance, from the International Student Coordinator, you may register for less than 12 credit hours if: (1) Final Term of Study. If all requirements for your degree will be completed at the end of the term, you only have to take the courses needed to finish. (2) Special Circumstances. If you have an illness of other medical condition, a doctor can provide documentation that you need a reduced course load. You must resume full-time study when the condition is resolved

Rights and Responsibilities of F1 Students


On-campus: You may work up to 20 hours per week in any job on campus. To find out about job openings, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-712-362-7920.

Off-campus: In some cases, students may apply to the BCIS for permission to work off campus based upon economic necessity. This requires substantial paper work and effort, for which you are responsible.


Within the U.S.: You may travel if you maintain your lawful status and have your valid passport, I-94, and I-20 in your possession.

Outside the U.S.: You may leave the U.S. at any time. You have the right to return, provided you have (1) Valid passport containing an un-expired F1 visa. (2) New I-20 or one properly signed by a Designated School Official for travel.

Return to a different school: You must obtain a new I-20 from the new school before you attempt to re-enter the U.S. Entering the country using the I-20 for a school you do not plan to attend can cause serious immigration problems.

Length of Stay in U.S.

You may study in your educational program for the time allowed by item #5 of your I-20. If you need additional time and meet certain requirements, you may apply for an “extension of study” 30 days before the I-20 expires.

Completion of Degree Requirements

You have 60 days following the completion of your program to decide if you wish to transfer to another school for a higher degree, apply for a different degree, or depart the U.S. Your 60-day grace period begins at the end of your program, not at graduation.

Dependents and other family members

If you are married, you may be eligible to have your spouse and children join you for the duration of your studies. There are financial requirements and students should check with Admissions for procedures. Other members of your family may be able to visit you during your study (usually in B-2 Visitor Status).

Address Change

You must inform Iowa Lakes and the BCIS within 10 days of moving. Students can download the immigration form (AR-11) to report address changes from

Health Insurance

All students in F1 status are required to carry health insurance that includes repatriation of remains. Iowa Lakes purchases this insurance for you and adds the charge to your college bill.

Payment Plan

Iowa Lakes has a payment plan that allows students to pay their tuition on installments. If you are interested in signing up for this plan, please see the Cashier on any campus.

Failure to Comply with Responsibilities

If you fail to comply with your immigration responsibilities, you may lose your student status and not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F1 students.

Related Documents
Questions or comments? Please email us at or call 712-362-2604 or 800-521-5054.
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