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F-1: Enrollment Requirements

Full Time Requirement
All students must be sure to enroll in a full course of study for all Academic Semesters.

Academic Semesters are defined as:
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer (only if it is the student's first or last semester of study)
A full course of study is defined as:
  • A minimum of 12 credits for undergraduate students, of which at least 9 credits must be in-person (face-to-face or hybrid).
  • A minimum of 9 credits for graduate students in Fall and Spring semesters, of which at least 6 credits must be in-person (face-to-face or hybrid) and a minimum of 6 credits in Summer semesters, of which at least 3 credits must be in-person (face-to-face or hybrid).
Failure to be enrolled in a full course of study by the Add/Drop Date for the semester of enrollment may result in the loss of F-1 status and termination of SEVIS record and I-20.

Online and Hybrid Courses
  • Hybrid courses are considered in-person for immigration purposes and do not count toward the online limits. 
  • Online courses include synchronous and asynchronous. SEVP regulations limit the number of online course credits (3 credits maximum) that may count toward the minimum number of credits required for full-time study.
  • Students who enroll in additional credits beyond the minimum full-time requirements may enroll in additional online courses.
Note: sponsors, which may include government funding, scholarships, athletics, on campus jobs, and others may have different requirements regarding allowability of online courses/credits. Check directly with your sponsor.

Exceptions to Full Time Requirements
You must receive written approval on your I-20 from ISSS before you drop below full-time status. Exceptions to the full-time requirement are rare, but may include:
  • Academic reasons:
    • English Language difficulties
    • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods
    • Improper course placement level
  • Illness or medical condition
  • Final semester to complete course of study
Read Reduced Course Load information for details about eligibility and instructions to request ISSS approval.

Retroactive Withdrawals
If a student withdraws from a course or courses which results in the student being under-enrolled before the date that grades are due in a semester and the student does not have an appropriate authorization for a Reduced Course Load, then the student's SEVIS record and I-20 will be terminated for unauthorized drop below full-time.

If a student retroactively withdraws from a course or courses which makes the student under-enrolled, no action will be taken on the student's SEVIS record provided the following applies:
  • ​The withdrawal occurs after the date that grades are due for that semester.
  • The student maintains documentation of when and why the withdrawal occurred.