You are admitted to the United States for "duration of status (D/S)," defined as the period during which you are pursuing a full course of study in a bachelor's or master's degree, doctoral or post-doctoral program, and any periods of authorized practical training, plus 60 days within which to depart from the U.S. If you fail to comply with the immigration regulations that apply to F-1 status, you may be liable to expedited removal from the U.S., and your eligibility for employment authorization will be seriously affected.
An F-1 visa and F-1 student status may be granted to an alien "who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study" at an academic or language institution authorized to admit international students. When applying for an F-1 visa, the individual must prove to a U.S. consular official that he or she wishes to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of study and that the applicant has a permanent residence in a foreign country which he/she does not intend to abandon.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you be enrolled full-time (12 credits, if undergraduate; 9 credits, if graduate; 11 credits for all Law programs) each academic semester, except during the semester you are graduating, when you need enroll only for the credits still needed. Completing an "Incomplete" does not count towards enrollment. In order to be enrolled part-time during an academic term, you must have valid justification such as illness.
International students are not required to enroll for the summer sessions with the exception of students graduating at the end of the First Summer Session or the Second Summer Session. Summer graduates must be enrolled the summer session in which they are scheduled to graduate.
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that international students be enrolled full-time (12 credits if undergraduate; 9 credits if graduate; 11 credits for all Law programs) with the exception of the semester during which the student is graduating, when he/she needs to enroll only for the number of credits needed to complete the program. Valid exceptions to full-time enrollment are limited to the reasons listed below. If the student withdraws from a full-time course load or registers for a part-time course load without a valid reason, he/she is considered to be out-of-status for immigration purposes.
In order to withdrawal from full-time enrollment, you must complete the Authorize to Drop Below Full Course for International Students in F-1 and J-1 Status Form. After logging in to complete the form with your Cane ID, you will be asked for your academic advisor's contact information. Your advisor will receive an email asking them to review and electronically sign the form. You will receive email notification on the status of your application. If eligible for an authorized drop below full course load, you will be notified to pick up your new I-20 in 5 business days. In addition, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the Registrar's Office, the academic advisor, and you, at which point the class(es) can be dropped.
Valid exceptions to full-time enrollment:
Last Semester Exception:
Note: A medical reduced course load is limited to 12 months total per program level.