Course enrollment is very important in maintaining F-1 and J-1 student status while in the U.S. Students who are holders of these visa types are responsible for ensuring that they meet the course enrollment requirements.
If you think that you may need to drop a course and will be below the minimum credit hours (Undergraduates 12 credit hours, Graduates 9 credit hours), take a course at another institution in addition to courses here, or if you are interested in taking an online course, please read the information below and then contact our office BEFORE you take any action.
You must obtain approval before you drop your course.
To maintain F-1 and J-1 student status, international students must be enrolled in a full course of study each fall and spring semester (summer enrollment is optional). For undergraduates full-time enrollment is considered to be 12 credits.
Graduate students are required to be enrolled for 9 credits. Dissertators are considered full-time if enrolled for 3 credits. Please submit the UNT Graduate Student Full Time Equivalency form to International Student and Scholar Services.
There are only certain reasons which U.S. Immigration will accept for enrolling less than full-time. The acceptable reasons are listed below. For any semester in which you are enrolled less than full-time, please complete the Undergraduate Student Full Time Enrollment Exemption Request form and have your faculty academic advisor, or for medical circumstances your physician or counselor, sign the bottom section, if the advisor feels that you have a valid Immigration reason.
Bring the completed form to International Student and Scholar Services for approval. This will clarify any question regarding your enrollment status for immigration purposes. All withdrawals must be processed by the student according to university procedures through the Registrar’s office. Do not drop your class until you have picked up a copy of the approval in Marquis Hall room 110.
There are only certain reasons stated in the code of Federal Regulations that are allowable for approval to maintain status. They are in several categories. One category does not affect another.
Type 1: Academic. Only one semester per degree allowed in this category. Minimum 6 credits allowed.
- Initial difficulties with the English language, or initial difficulties with reading requirements.
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods. (when first studying in the US)
- Improper course level placement
Type 2: Final Semester. (You are only allowed one final semester per degree)
- Completing all degree requirements this semester.
Type 3: Medical. Maximum one year aggregate allowed.
- Medical condition. Medical documentation signed by your licensed medical doctor, licensed doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist, containing recommendations concerning your course-load must be attached.
Please note: Immigration does not consider financial difficulties a valid reason for enrolling less than full time.
“Concurrent enrollment” means that you will be enrolled at UNT plus another school at the same time.
How to Obtain Approval
- Check with your department to insure that your credits will transfer to UNT.
- Complete the Concurrent Enrollment Letter Request Form online or submit the paper form to International Student and Scholar Services. International Student and Scholar Services will write a concurrent enrollment letter for you to take to the other school.
- As soon as you have registered at the other school, bring proof of registration, showing the number of credits, to International Student and Scholar Services. You must complete this by the 12th day of class at UNT.
If you fail to do this, your record on SEVIS, with immigration, will show you as less than full-time, and therefore, out of status.
At the End of the Semester
- When you have completed the classes at the other school, you must bring a copy of your grade report that shows you have completed the credits to International Student and Scholar Services.
Since immigration requires you to complete a full-time credit course load, you must show us this completion, so that we can verify to SEVIS (immigration) that you were a full-time student, and were in status.
- Don’t forget to send a transcript to the UNT Registrar’s Office to get your credits officially transferred!
It is very important that you maintain your F-1 status. Procedures have changed since immigration began their electronic reporting, called SEVIS. We must verify your status at the beginning of each semester. We must also notify SEVIS of any changes during the semester.
Immigration is clear that it is your responsibility to maintain your F-1 status. Therefore, it is your responsibility to give us the information to help you maintain that status.
If you have any questions, please contact one of the advisors in International Student and Scholar Services.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations state that a student can only apply a maximum of one 3 credit course taken totally on line toward the 12 credit undergraduate minimum course load requirement and the 9 credit graduate minimum course load requirement each semester.
They state that if a course has any on campus requirement, it is not considered to be an online course for this purpose. The actual wording of the regulation is:
"For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examinations or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education class is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student’s course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student’s full course of study requirement." 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)
At UNT a full course of study is 12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for 2nd bachelor, masters, and doctoral students.
Only three credits of a student's full course of study (9 or 12 credits) can be by distance education each semester. If an international student registers for more than the required 9 or 12 credits, he/she may be able to take additional distance education credits. For example, an undergraduate student taking 18 credits could have nine on-campus and nine on-line credits, with nine on-campus plus three on-line credits completing the full time course requirement. The additional six on-line credits are just "extra," above and beyond the full course of study requirement.
If a student participates in a "physical attendance" activity for an on-line course, the course is no longer considered an on-line class for the purposes of this rule.
Examples of a "physical attendance" activity include a test, conference, presentation, laboratory work, or other class-related activity that takes place on the UNT campus. This activity can be completed by an individual student or may be done as part of a group. This activity that is undertaken by the international student on campus may be an activity that is done on-line by other students registered in the class.
To see more information on the process for UNT students taking on-line courses that may qualify for this exemption, please access the website http://clear.unt.edu/f1visa. There is a form available at the website. One copy must be submitted at International Student and Scholar Services before the 12th class day of the semester.