Graduate Studies

Immigration Status Information

If you have any questions, please contact: 

Ms. Dana Sistko,  Immigration Specialist
Sherman Hall 116

Phone:  (309) 298-1806

It is your responsibility to keep copies of all issued I-20s and immigration documents.

Maintaining Your Status

You must:

  • Possess a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • Possess a valid, unexpired I-20 at all times. This includes correct degree level, major, current funding, and personal data.
  • Enroll in and attend classes. If you plan on taking a semester off other than summer, you must obtain prior approval from the Immigration Specialist.
  • Attend the college/university listed on your I-20. Prior approval is needed if you plan to take classes at Spoon River College. If you dual enroll, you must take the majority of your credits per semester at WIU.
  • Complete a full course of study during normal enrollment periods (fall & spring semester).


  • Full time is defined as 12 credits per semester for undergraduates, 9 credits per semester for graduate students.
  • You are only allowed to count 1 online course per semester toward your full time status.  
  • You must be enrolled for your courses by the beginning of each semester. The Immigration Specialist is required to report non-enrollment to the (DHS) Department of Homeland Security within 30 days of the end of the registration period. Any student who is not enrolled will be reported and will be considered out of status with immigration.
  • If you will not be enrolled full time, you must receive prior approval from the Immigration Specialist. You and your academic advisor must complete the "Exception from Full Time Enrollment Form" and submit it to the Immigration Specialist prior to dropping below full time status.

Change of Address:

  • You must report any change of address within 10 days of the change.  Please update this in STARS and the Immigration Specialist will update your SEVIS record. 


  • You are allowed to work on campus only up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and up to 28 hours during vacation periods. Students may be allowed to work off campus, but need permission from the Immigration Specialist prior to beginning employment. 


  • Prior to traveling outside the U. S. make sure your WIU student account is paid and that your I-20 has been endorsed for travel (on page 2) by the Immigration Specialist within the last year.


  • You must apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date of the I-20. Requests for extension should be submitted 30 days prior to the expiration date of the I-20.

Change of Academic Level:

  • You must obtain a new I-20 if you change your academic level (example: bachelor's to master's), if you change your major, or if your source of funding changes.


  • If you intend to transfer to another college/university, you must first notify the Immigration Specialist in advance of this transfer.

Withdrawal from the University:

  • If you need to withdraw from classes, or are asked to leave the university, you must report this to the Immigration Specialist. You will have 15 calendar days to leave the United States. If you do not report it, your F-1 status ends immediately.

The normal grace period to remain in the U.S. following degree completion is 60 calendar days.