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Maintaining Status

International students who have F-1 visas must follow rules and regulations set forth by the U.S. government.

Maintenance of lawful non-immigrant status (F or J) is the student’s responsibility. Failure to maintain status may have serious long-term immigration consequences.

Learn more about maintaining F-1 status

F-1 students should speak with their Designated School Official if they plan to do any of the following:

  • Change major, program, or degree level
  • Change education level
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence
  • Take a break from school
  • Travel outside the United States
  • Move to a new address
  • Request a program extension

Any of these changes need to be recorded by the DSO in SEVIS. Students must complete a SEVIS event form for this purpose.

Reduced Course Load

Every international student holding an F-1 visa is required by immigration law to maintain a full course of study every semester. At Elmhurst University, full time is defined as three full course credits per semester for undergraduate studies or 1.5 course credits for graduate studies.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services allows a reduced course load only in certain cases. Prior approval from the director of international education is required before a student can drop below full time. A reduced course load must consist of half the clock hours required for a full course of study, except in the case of a medical necessity or during the student’s final term of study.

A student who drops below full time without the director’s approval will be considered out of status.

Download a Reduced Course Load Form

Tony Marotta ’05

Director of International Admission and Student Services
International Education

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