Immigration Information for Currently Enrolled Students

Maintaining Your Immigration Status

Please view our handout on Academic Dismissal Effects on Immigration Status for F-1 and J-1 Students for more on your rights and responsibilities.

Full-time Enrollment

F-1 or J-1 students must enroll full-time every fall or spring semester to maintain their immigration status.  Full-time enrollment is defined as:

  • Undergraduate students - 12 credit per semester minimum
    • 9 out 12 credits must be in person or hybrid
  • Graduate students - 9 credit per semester minimum
    • 6 out of 9 credits must be in person or hybrid

If students meet one of the four less than full-time enrollment exceptions, they may request approval for a Reduced Course Load to maintain their immigration status.

Can I remain in the U.S. if my F-1 or J-1 visa is expired?

Your F-1 or J-1 visa must be valid the day you enter the U.S. - Your F-1 or J-1 visa is similar to a "key" that you would use to enter a house (enter the U.S.).  To get into your house, you must have a valid key (an unexpired F-1 or J-1 visa, unexpired passport, and an unexpired immigration document I-20 or DS-2019).  Once you are in the house (in the U.S.), you no longer need to use the key to go from room to room.  The same way with the F-1 or J-1 visa.  Once you are in the U.S., it is not a problem if your F-1 or J-1 visa expires.  You do not have to exit the U.S. by your visa expiration date.  F-1 or J-1 status students are allowed to remain in the U.S. for "Duration of Status".  If you are outside the U.S. and your F-1 or J-1 visa is expired, you must renew your visa before you can re-enter the U.S.

Remaining in the U.S. for "Duration of Status" - F-1 or J-1 students may remain in the U.S. as long as they are maintaining "status" (see the Maintaining Status section), even if their F-1 or J-1 visa has expired.