The U.S. government will allow an F-1 student a maximum of 7 years to complete the doctoral degree as long as s/he is making normal progress and is registered full time each semester. The academic program may have other expectations for completion and students should consult with their program of study to clarify.

Each F-1 student is required by law to keep their Form I-20 up to date and accurate at all times. Contact OGS if you need to replace the GU funding with proof of personal or family funds or new scholarship information. Students should be prepared to provide updated funding letters when applying for visa renewals at a U.S. Consulate abroad.

1.   22 CFR 62.4(a) (new window) defines a J-1 student as “A foreign national who is: (1) Studying in the United States…”

2.  U.S. Department of State guidelines indicate:

Students “Out of Country” for 30 days or more

As a general practice, which is the common practice among sponsors as well, the Department considers more than 30 days outside the United States as a break in the program. The sponsors need to make a determination to end the program or shorten the program end date.

3.  J-2 dependents must depart the United States, as they may not remain in the United States without the J-1 student.

*Note: The annual winter break and summer vacation are exceptions to this rule.

F-1 students are permitted to leave the F-1 SEVIS record active while they study abroad provided that they submit their foreign address and contact information to OGS by the end of the add/drop period or within 10 days of changing their address.

There is also an OGS travel policy that all students must abide by when traveling as part of their program.

Students may remain in the United States with an expired visa while working toward the degree listed on the Form I-20 /DS-2019 or engaged in post-completion work authorization. However, once the student leaves the United States with an expired visa, the student must apply for a visa renewal at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad before they can return in F-1 or J-1 status.

OGS recommends updated financial documentation from the Graduate School if the student is funded by GSAS. A letter from the department is helpful to reiterate good standing and normal progress toward degree. An extra letter explaining the research topic is recommended for students in degree study related to national security. It is helpful to bring an unofficial transcript to show full-time enrollment in each of the semesters and a very recent travel signature from OGS is also recommended.

Students are limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year and may work full time during the annual summer vacation. If a student is funded by the GSAS, the research or teaching assistantship counts as part of the 20 hours per week. Most assistantships are considered 20 hours per week in the first year and 15 hours per week each year thereafter. This allows doctoral students very limited additional work authorization.

If you have a teaching or research assistantship, request the Social Security On Campus Form (F-1) or On Campus Authorization Form (J-1) on your department’s letterhead and bring it to OGS for signature. OGS will provide the next steps with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you have a non-service stipend or fellowship, you are not eligible for an SSN and must apply for an ITIN.

Yes, every F-1 and J-1 student must complete at least one tax form – even if no income was earned while in the United States. Visit the OGS Tax page for more information.

Every dependent must also complete at least one tax form per tax year.

If your return to Georgetown is delayed due to visa processing, contact OGS and your department to discuss the academic implications of a delay and how we can be of help in the process. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite administrative processing and other security checks.

Awards that have no service component are considered scholarships and do not require any type of authorization from OGS – though they might have tax implications.

Awards that require any kind of service or work in exchange for the funding will most likely need authorization. Talk with your IS Advisor.

As of June 4, The Department of Homeland Security requires that OGS release/deliver documents directly to the student named on the Form I-20. We regret the inconvenience.

In order to maintain F-1/J-1 status, students must remain enrolled full time at Georgetown. Students who wish to take a break from their studies and a leave of absence from Georgetown, must contact OGS to end the immigration document. The IS Advisor shortens the document and the student has two weeks to depart the United States. When the student is ready to return to full-time study, they contact the IS Advisor to submit new funding and request a new immigration document. There is a one year waiting period after the return to study before a student can engage in any paid or unpaid off campus employment/internship. Students should always check with the academic department to ensure a leave of absence is permissible.