Keys to Maintaining Your
an international student, it is important to follow certain rules pertaining to
your F-1 non-immigrant status. Here is a list of things that you can do to help
maintain your status:
- Do not let your immigration documents
- Look for the expiration date noted on your
I-20. If you cannot complete your studies by that date, you must request an
extension of your document. The application materials for F-1 program
extension are available at International Student Affairs.
- Keep your passport valid.
- As is the case with your immigration
documents, you should keep your passport valid at all times. Contact your
home country consulate or embassy for information on extending the validity
of your passport. Note: citizens of Canada are exempt from the
- Register for a full course of study.
In general, you should plan to register for 12 credit hours (undergraduates)
or three units (graduates) in the fall and spring semesters. Summer
registration is optional, unless you begin or end your studies during the
- Do not work without authorization.
You must always secure permission to work. Click here for more information on F-1 employment rules.
- Work no more than a total of 20 hours per
week during the Fall and Spring semesters.
In some instances, you may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week.
Consult with an International Student Affairs staff member for more
- Follow transfer procedures if you begin a
new program of study, change field of study, or plan to attend a different
school. Consult with a staff member at International Student Affairs prior
to the change in order to determine what you must do.
Please contact a staff member if you have
any questions about maintaining your status.
Guidelines to a Full Course of Study
Nonimmigrant students in F-1 status are required to register for a full
course of study in order to maintain status. During the fall and spring
semesters, a full course of study for undergraduate students is 12 credit hours.
In addition, if the summer session is your first term of enrollment, you must
register for at least six credit hours. Summer semester registration is optional
if you were registered for the preceding spring semester and will register for
the following fall semester. You should, however, register in summer if it is
your final term and you wish to take practical training.
In certain specific instances, you may register
for less than 12 hours and still be considered a full-time student for purposes
of maintaining your nonimmigrant status. This special situation requires written
documentation for your Office of International Student Affairs student file.
The following situations may be approved for
students who request to register in less than 12 credit hours:
- Students who have less than 12 hours of
required coursework remaining in their final semester to complete a degree;
- Students in the first semester of coursework
or who are having difficulty with the English language coursework;
- Students who are ill, pregnant, or under a
doctor or mental health counselor's care and your doctor or physician
recommends a reduced courseload. You must secure a letter for International
Student Affairs from your health care provider stating the reason why you
are unable to maintain a full courseload.
- Students who may have some valid academic
reason for reducing their courseload. Consult with International Student
Affairs staff and draft a written explanation why you should reduce your
- Students who may be involved in a special
internship as part of the academic load, necessitating that they take fewer
than 12 credits.
Please make an appointment with an
International Student Affairs staff member if you have questions or concerns
about your enrollment.