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The Office of International Students and Scholars is your resource for life at Smith. Sometimes this can mean simply directing you where to go on campus. When you have questions or concerns, we are here to help you.

Maintaining F-1 Status

International students are admitted to the U.S. with an F-1 nonimmigrant visa status for the sole purpose of being a full-time student. Participation in any other activity, from employment to vacation, is a privilege and is only allowable in accordance with strict rules. It is extremely important that you understand both these rules and the terms of your status. Not following the rules can result in being removed from the US (deportation), or other severe penalties. It is your responsibility as a student to maintain your own legal status. 


  • Maintain your student status (see below) in accordance with US Code for Federal Regulations: 8 CFR § 214.2(f), and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) rules.
  • Tell the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) about changes to your name, address and other personal information.
  • Ask the ISSO for permission before making any changes to your academic status and plans.


  • Work in a job off campus (i.e. anywhere not at Smith College) of any kind without prior approval from the ISSO.
  • Take fewer than 12 credits per semester without prior permission from the ISSO and your Class Dean.
  • Stay in the U.S. beyond your authorized time; there are severe penalties.

Maintaining Student Status

  1. Report to campus during the first week of classes. If you must arrive late, you must contact the ISSO ahead of time.
  2. Keep your passport valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times.
  3. Report changes of your address or name to the ISSO immediately.
  4. Pursue a full-course of study at Smith College every term except during official school breaks. You must get prior approval to take less than a full course load. This means taking a minimum of 12 credits, with no more than one online distance course (up to 3 credits) per semester. Please note: Graduating on time from Smith College (8 semesters) requires 16 credits per term, and all online courses require prior approval. You must follow both Smith College and US government policies!
  5. Make normal progress toward your degree. You should plan to complete your studies by the program completion date on your Form I-20.  If your graduation date changes you must notify the ISSO immediately.
  6. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay, change in educational levels (undergraduate to graduate) or programs of study (change of major), and transfer of schools.
  1. Get a travel signature from the ISSO for travel outside of the U.S. Your I-20 must be signed on page 2 within the past 12 months to re-enter the US for studies at Smith College, and within 6 months to apply for a visa or when using post-completion Optional Practical Training.
  2. Obey all federal and state laws. If Smith takes disciplinary action against a student as a result of the conviction of a crime, the school is required to report this information to the government in SEVIS. You must also disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration bureaus.
  3. Follow employment regulations that limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while attending school. Off-campus employment is prohibited unless you get prior authorization from the ISSO at Smith College only. Smith College policies limit student work hours further, depending on your class year.
  4. Respect your dates of stay! After completing your studies, you will have up to 60 days of “grace period” to stay in the US. You may apply for practical training, apply for a change of status, or transfer to another school during this time, but you may not work unless given authorization from USCIS. If you exit the US during that time, you will forfeit any remaining days in the grace period. You must adhere to that time period, unless you have received prior authorization from the ISSO. If you withdraw from Smith College, your visa will be terminated and you will have 15 days to exit the country.  If Smith College administratively withdraws your record, you will have 48 hours to exit the country.

Contact International Students and Scholars

125 Wright Hall

Smith College

Northampton, MA USA

Phone: 413-585-7598 Email:

Open office hours: Schedule a meeting with Dean Caitlin or with Claire Seely when it’s convenient for you!