We discuss immigration, employment, and tax obligations at international pre-orientation and at appropriate times throughout the year. If you have any questions on these topics, please contact the Center for Global Engagement (CGE), as acting outside the confines of the immigration regulations can result in serious legal consequences. 

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Maintaining F-1 status

• Maintain a valid passport unless you are exempt from the passport requirement.
• Attend Kenyon College, the school you are authorized to attend.
• Pursue a full course of study and make normal progress towards the completion of the program of study.

In order to graduate within the usual four years, students must earn 2.0 Kenyon credits each semester.

If you encounter difficulties and would like to withdraw from a class, you must discuss how this will affect your immigration status with the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) before doing so.

Change of address: Notify CGE within 10 days of any change of address by sending us an email.

Employment authorization: Refrain from working off-campus unless you have official authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). F-1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours total per week during the school year, and full-time on-campus during summers and vacation periods. Please note that 20 hours is the limit during any given week that school is in session.

Keep your I-20/DS-2019 up-to-date: To legally remain in the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must also have a current I-20 which corresponds to your level, field and period of study. Be aware of the information on your I-20 and keep it current.

Visa: Your visa is similar to a letter of invitation to the U.S. When going through the immigration process on entry to the U.S., you present your visa to the officer. Your visa can expire while you are in your program without affecting your permission to be in the U.S. Therefore, your visa only becomes important when you travel outside of the U.S. and intend to return to the same program. (Special rules apply for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean: see Marne if your visa has expired or you have used a single entry visa but would like to travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.)

Failure to comply with these regulations will result in the loss of your F-1 student status. We refer to this as being "out of status." Please contact the CGE if you think that you are out of status.

Traveling Outside the United States

Whenever you return to the United States during your time as a student, you will need at least three things to successfully re-enter the country:

  1. A passport, valid at least six months beyond the date that you are seeking to enter the United States.
  2. A valid visa, unless you are a Canadian citizen or have traveled only within North America for fewer than 30 days and hold an expired visa. There are some restrictions to this "automatic re-validation of visa" regulation, so please check with the CGE before you leave in this situation.
  3. An accurate I-20 (including major, length of study, financial support and biographic data) with an endorsement for travel on page three from the CGE. The travel endorsement is important: we are verifying that you are in legal immigration status. Only approved designated school officials (DSOs) can sign your immigration documents, which right now includes Marne Ausec and Rebecca Eckart in the CGE.

It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your financial documentation — your financial aid letter and/or bank statement from your family — to show that you have the means to study in the United States.

If you are renewing your visa while in your home country, you will need a copy of your transcript, a letter of support form the CGE and your financial documentation.

Once you have graduated and are working with Optional Practical Training (OPT, F-1 status) or Academic Training (AT, J-1 status), you will need a few additional documents. Please check with the CGE before making travel plans while on OPT or AT.

Other Important Laws

The drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. You will be giving a lot of information during New Student Orientation about alcohol policies on campus. Please abide by the law and Kenyon policies.

Even if you are 21 or older, you are not allowed to be in the streets with an open alcohol container (a cup, bottle or can). The sheriff can issue you a citation for having an open container in public.

Please note that your health insurance will not cover any self-inflicted injury or illness, including treatment in the emergency room or hospital due to alcohol consumption. Some students have had significant hospital bills — over $1,000 U.S. dollars up to $10,000 if the hospitalization was serious — due to excessive drinking. Also, students may be charged with a criminal offense and have to go to court.