Maintaining Your Status

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Maintaining Immigration Status

Once you have arrived at Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU), our job is to ensure that your stay in the U.S. is smooth with regards to maintaining your student status. International Student Services (ISS) is the department that serves the needs of the international student population at Hawai‘i Pacific University. Below are some important things you always need to consider when in the United States:

Full-Time Requirement

International students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to be registered full-time during the regular fall and spring semesters:
Undergraduate: Registered for at least 12 credits of which only 3 online credits can be counted towards the minimum 12 credits.
Graduate: Registered for at least 9 credits of which only 3 online credits can be counted towards the minimum 9 credits.
F1 and J1 students are not permitted to register for any military campus course that is physically located on a military base including hybrid courses (i.e., MCP, MPH, MKB, MHK, MSB, MTR, etc.).
Summer: International students do not have to be enrolled during summer session unless summer seesion is the last semester enrolled or starting a new program during summer session.
However, there are some instances where there may be a need to be registered less than full-time. Please make an appointment to see an International Student Advisor prior to dropping below full-time status. Call 356 5299 to schedule an appointment.  Below are the only acceptable reasons that a student may not be enrolled full-time:
  1. Initial difficulties with the English language.
  2. Initial difficulties with reading requirements.
  3. Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
  4. Improper course level placement.
  5. Leave of absence.
  6. Medical reasons.
  7. Final semester with less than a full course load to complete degree requirements. 
  8. The last class by itself cannot be an online class.
In the case of an illness or medical condition, an F-1 student may be authorized to reduce course load for a period not to exceed 12 months in aggregate. A student who drops below a full-time registration without the prior approval will be considered out of status.

Online Courses

Students enrolled in online classes may take no more than one class or three (3) credits per semester to be counted toward the full course of study requirement.

Address Requirement

It is a requirement by the U.S. Federal Government and U.S. Department of State for F-1/J-1 international students to maintain valid addresses at all time. International Students MUST notify United States Immigration AND Hawai`i Pacific University of address changes within ten (10) days of a move/address update.  This is requried throughout your course of study and during Optional Practical Training (OPT). To avoid a possible violation of status you need to insert/update your HPU pipeline account with a valid and complete 1) Mailing address, 2) SEVIS Domestic address, and 3) Permanent address types.

1)      Mailing Address: address in the United State where you receive your mail

2)      SEVIS Domestic Address: physical address/place of residence in the United States. This cannot be a P.O. Box address.

Sample:

Address Line 1:               999 Ala Wai Blvd Apt 999

City:                                   Honolulu

State or Province:           Hawaii

ZIP or Postal Code:          96815

County:                              Island of Oahu

Nation:                              United States of America 

*DO NOT type in any special characters such as dash(-), underscore(_), period(.), coma (,), pound (#), etc.

3)      Permanent Address: address in your home country.

Mandatory Health Insurance

International students are required to have health insurance as a condition of enrollment at the University. HPU recommends that students purchase one of the HPU student plans. If a student provides adequate proof of coverage by completing the International Student Health Insurance Waiver, purchase of an HPU plan is not necessary.

Effective fall 2014 semester, all international students will be automatically enrolled in an HPU medical plan. Students may waive participation in the HPU plan by completing the International Student Health Insurance Waiver. This waiver verifies that students have health insurance and comparable coverage through another insurance plan. To waive participation in the HPU plan, the waiver must be submitted to the Dean of Students Office (MP 107 or studentlife@hpu.edu) by 5pm on September 12, 2014 (fall semester), January 30, 2015 (spring semester) or May 29, 2015 (summer term) to receive clearance for the health insurance requirement and fee. If students do not submit a waiver, they will be responsible for paying the Kaiser HMO Medical Only (single) fall, spring and/or summer plans.

For more information about HPU’s student health insurance plan, please call the Dean of Students Office at (808) 544-1116.

Travel Outside the U.S.

The basic requirements for an F-1/J-1 student to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business.

1.  A SEVIS Form I-20/DS-2019, signed for re-entry by an International Student Advisor

In order to obtain a re-entry signature, please ensure all holds on your account have been cleared.  Plan accordingly and drop off your I-20/DS-2019 at the International Student Services (UB 200) approximately three weeks prior to depature. Complete the Travel Notification Form,  attach your I-20/DS-2019 and submit to International Student Services for processing.  Allow 5-10 business days turnaround for re-entry signature on your I-20/DS-2019.

2.  You have been out of the United States for less than five months

3.  A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your re-entry

4.  A valid, current F-1/J-1 visa OR you traveled to a contiguous country or adjacent island for less than thirty days

I-20 Extension

Students should always be aware of the completion date on their I-20 (#5 on Page 1 of the I-20). If you need to study beyond this completion date in order to complete your degree, you must submit a request for an extension to International Student Services BEFORE your I-20 expires. 

Your Academic Advisor must approve your I-20 extension, verifying the appropriate amount of time needed for you to complete your degree. You must then request a new I-20 with a new expiry date from International Student Services.  Students needing an extension should apply the semester the I-20 is expiring following the process below: 

I-20 Extension Process:

  • Meet with Academic Advisor who will complete the I-20 Change Request Form.  This form is available with the Academic Advisor or at the International Center

  • Obtain signature of Academic Advisor who will verify a new completion date on the I-20 Change Request Form under "Program Extension"

  • Drop off I-20 Change Request Form, along with original I-20s at the International Center.

  • Allow for 3 business days processing. A new I-20 will be complete by an International Student Advisor.

What if my I-20 has already expired? 

If your I-20 has expired, and you are still studying at HPU, you are in violation of your student status.  You must meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options. 

Reinstatement of Status

Reinstatement refers to the application process requesting United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) to grant your status back after a violation has occurred.  The Reinstatement application is sent through USCIS. Violations can be a result of any one or more of the following: 

-Failing to register full-time for a fall or spring semester (unless otherwise authorized by an International Student Advisor).
-Failing to make normal forward progress towards acquiring your degree. (This means that you must maintain a satisfactory grade point average and complete your required classes in a timely manner).
-Failing to apply for an extension in a timely manner.
-Changing your level of study without obtaining a new I-20.
-Failing to keep current address updated with university and Immigration Entering the U.S. with an I-20 issued by one school and attending another.

Students with these issues should contact International Student Services for any questions.
Effective July 30, 2007, the fee for filing reinstatement increases from $200 to $300.

Registering for Less than Full Time 

There are are some instances where there may be a need to be registered less than full-time. You need to make an appointment to see an International Student Advisor to dropping below full-time status. Below are the only acceptable reasons that a student may not be enrolled full-time:

Initial difficulties with the English language.
Initial difficulties with reading requirements.
Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
Improper course level placement.
Leave of absence.
Medical reasons.
Final semester with less than a full course load to complete degree requirements. 
The last class by itself cannot be an online class. 

Students should make an appointment to see an International Student Advisor if any of the above situations have occurred. In some cases, reinstatement is not always the best solution to the problem.

In the case of an illness or medical condition, an F-1 student may be authorized to reduce course load for a period not to exceed 12 months in aggregate. A student who drops below a full-time registration without the prior approval will be considered out of status.

Transferring Out

Students who plan to change schools, either for the same or different educational level, will need to have a transfer eligibility form from the new school completed by an ISA at HPU and returned to the new school. Upon acceptance, a verification of acceptance must be received from the new school. A transfer release will be entered into SEVIS. The new school will issue a new I-20. 

If you are out of status (i.e. have not been full-time at the prior school), you will be required to apply for reinstatement at the new school. 

If you are leaving the U.S. between changing schools, re-enter using the new school’s I-20. This will replace the transfer procedure without going through the above process. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THE SCHOOL WHOSE I-20 YOU USE TO ENTER THE U.S.