Education
Employment
Documentation
Dependents
  • Students must attend the college/university that USCIS has authorized them to attend (the school that issued your I-20).
  • Students must complete a full course of study (12 credits for undergraduate students; 9 credits or a full-time equivalent courseload for graduate students) during normal enrollment periods (fall and spring semester). Students who are not enrolled full-time, must receive authorization/permission from ISSS in advance. Students are not required to register during the summer. Graduate students on assistantship, fellowships, or externships may enroll in six (6) hours to meet requirement, as long as their department allows. Graduate students are encouraged to check with their department before they register for fewer than nine (9) semester hours for the fall or spring semester.
  • Online Courses: No more than the equivalent of one on-line/distance education class or 3 credits per session may count towards the "full course of study" requirement. An online or distance education course "does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class." You may take more than one on-line course, but that would require you to enroll for credits above what is counted as full-time. If students only need one course to complete their program of study, the course cannot be completed through online or distance education.
  • Students are encouraged not to withdraw from any classes without speaking with an international student advisor first. F-1 students must complete the Request for a Reduced Courseload
  • Students must apply for an extension of their program of study prior to the expiration date on the Form I-20 if they cannot complete the program by that date. F-1 students must complete the Extending Certificate of Eligibility Form.
  • Students must obtain a new Form I-20 within 15 days of admission upon changing their academic program from one-degree level to another (e.g., from Bachelor's to Master's level) or one major/field of study to another (e.g., from Chemical Engineering to Physics).  
  • Students need to request a new Form I-20 to reflect a change of major as soon as the change is approved by the university.
  • Students need to request a new Form I-20 to reflect any changes in funding within 15 days of the change.
  • Students are not permitted to work off-campus unless the student has in their possession written authorization to do so. This authorization will come from USCIS or ISSS, depending on the type of employment authorization the student was granted.
  • F-1 students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session. Students may only work over 20 hours/week during school breaks.
  • Students in F-1 status should never begin employment until they have received authorization to do so.
  • Students are required to maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements. Students should contact their U.S. Embassy or Consulate with questions regarding extending their passport.
  • Students need to complete an official immigration transfer whenever they change educational institutions.
  • Students should review the information here to request immigration documents for their F-2 dependents.

If you are an F-1 student and have questions regarding employment, study, etc. for your F-2 dependents (children or spouse), please visit the Dependents page. If your children or spouse are living outside the U.S. and they would like to join you in the U.S. under F-2 dependent status, you can review information on this process at the Dependents page.