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F1 and COS

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I applied for COS form J1 to F1 in september 2011 and I was expecting to start school in january 2012, but the processing took almost 5 months. I recieved the approval notice from USCIS 2 days ago (january 26th). So, I missed the spring semester too.

There is a rule saying that a F1 student is not allowed to stay in US more than 5 months without taking classes.

At the same time, a F1 student is required to study only during fall and spring semesters.

My question is:

It is necessary to take summer classes in order to maintain status or I can wait until august?

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You don't enroll this semester, the school will report you to DHS, and you could be out of status then troubles kick in. You can try to enroll in second start of this semester, or ask for a new I-20 for summer then you can go home and come back next summer semester. Good luck


12/06/2014: Package filed

12/31/2014: Fingerprinted

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04/15/2015: Passed Interview

05/05/2015: Oath letter was sent

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Yes you must take summer semester classes to maintain your status. I had to take 5 month brake when I transferred to a college, but was lucky and it ended just few days after fall semester start. Otherwise I would have take summer classes per my international student counselor. If you have doubts go talk to one in your school; just do yourself a favor and don't talk to some student in front desk because they usually don't know anything. I almost got myself in big trouble after a chat with one those guys who think that they know everything.

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