Maintaining Your F-1 Visa Status
One of the requirements for F-1 visa students to stay "In Status" is to maintain full-time enrollment. What does "full-time enrollment" mean?
- An F-1 student must be enrolled in (and complete) a minimum of 12 units each Spring and Fall semester. The student must be enrolled in 12 units within the first week of the semester so that CUI may report that students are properly enrolled.
- An F-1 student is NOT required to be enrolled during the Summer semester UNLESS the summer semester is the student's first semester in which case he or she must enroll in at least 6 units.
Exceptions to Full-time Enrollment
As an international student you must be enrolled in at least 12 units for Undergraduate and 6 units for graduate each semester. Immigration regulations allow for enrollment below 12 units under certain conditions. To maintain your immigration status valid you must request authorization from PDSO before dropping below 12 units. Your SEVIS record must be updated to reflect your enrollment status.
As an F-1 student, you may drop below 12 units (BA)/6 units (Masters) for one of the following reasons:
Academic Difficulty Exceptions
(Verified by professor, approved by Academic Advisor)
- Initial difficulty with English language
- Initial difficulty with reading requirement
- Unfamiliarity with American Teaching Methods
- Improper Course Level Placement
- To complete course of study in current term the student does not need 12 units in their last semester to graduate
- Illness or medical condition
A well-documented medical reason (this is a one or two semester exception and the student must provide documentation from a doctor and be enrolled full-time during the following semester). Pregnancy does NOT count as a medical reason for an enrollment exception.
- Part-time border commuter student
A Canadian or Mexican student may request RCL for fewer classes provided they are in an approved course of study.
If you qualify for one of the above reasons to drop below 12 units/6 units, please complete the Reduced Course Load Request Form.