Maintaining Legal Status-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Legal Status

Documents And Maintaining Legal Status

Rules international students must follow in order to remain legally in the US.

Instructions For Change Of Status To F-1 (.pdf)

How to change to student status from another non-immigrant status in the US.

Extending your DS-2019 or I-20 (.pdf)

If you are unable to complete your program of study by the completion of studies date listed on the front of your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 form, you must get a new document.

Changing your program (.pdf)

If you change educational level or start a new program, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019.  Students changing from one college to another may be required to complete an updated Affidavit of Support.

Undergraduate Change of College and Major (.pdf)

Undergraduate students who have made a change from one college to another (which includes a change of major) need to complete the Undergraduate Change of College and Major form.  Your financial sponsor must confirm continued support for you during your program of study.

Authorization for a Reduced Course Load (.pdf)

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to be registered full-time (except during their annual vacation). Students who will be enrolled for less than 36 units must obtain approval from an OIE advisor before dropping below full-time enrollment.

Transfer Degree Program or School

If you wish to transfer to a higher or additional degree program or to a different field of study (whether at Carnegie Mellon or at another institution) you must receive new immigration documents.

Leave of Absence, Suspension, Dismissal (.pdf)

Students sometimes must leave their academic program early which impacts student immigration status. If you plan to take a leave or believe you will be suspended or dismissed, consult with an OIE advisor as soon as possible and before you leave.  More detailed information for students taking a leave of absence can be found here.


Students who fail, or are unable, to maintain legal status in the US may be able to regain legal status through the reinstatement process. Students in this situation should meet with their OIE advisor to discuss their options. Call OIE at 412-268-5231 to schedule an appointment.

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Last Updated On:  January 10, 2017