Maintaining Status

Taking Classes

International students are required by immigration regulations to maintain a full-time course of study. The exception to this rule is the summer semester when students can choose to take a break or fewer credit hours.  

Full course of study:

Degree LevelSemesterCredit Hours
Undergraduate Fall/Spring 12
Graduate Fall/Spring 9

Only one class can be online for a student to maintain status. If summer is the first semester for an international student, he or she must be enrolled full-time.

Failure to maintain a full-time course load will result in termination of legal status.

Immigration Requirements

Students on a J-1 exchange visitor visa must do the following to maintain legal non-immigrant status: 

1. Notify the International Student Office of any changes in address, financial support, or period of study.

2. Take a full-time class load every semester.

3. Maintain insurance coverage following the instructions on the International Student Office insurance page.

4. Only work with the authorization of the International Student Office. 

Vacation and Travel

International students are eligible to take the summer semester off if they have attended full-time in the spring and plan to return in the fall. There are also breaks between terms and a week vacation in the spring. 

International students who plan to travel while on break or vacation need the following documents: 

1. Valid passport 

2. Valid visa

3. Valid Form DS-2019 with the travel authorization signed by the advisor

4. Evidence of enrollment and financial support

5. A business card from the International Student Office advisor. 


Filing Taxes

International students are required to file taxes even if no income was generated in the U.S. Failure to do so can be grounds for denial of future immigration requests. Every March, the International Student Office holds a tax preparation workshop. Contact for more information on the workshop.

International students who have no income to report can use the Form 8843 to file their tax report.

For information on filing taxes as an international student see the IRS Foreign Students and Scholars site.