Global Engagement > Student Resources > International Student & Scholar Services > Maintaining & Changing Status

Maintaining & Changing Status

​​​​​​ Maintaining Status

International students who have F-1 and J-1 visas must follow certain rules in order to maintain their lawful non-immigrant status.

For more information on maintenance of student status, you may also read the following handouts:

 Please note the recent update in F-1 regulations relating to enrollment. You can view the details of this update here:

Fall 2023 Updated F-1 Regulations

Remember, maintenance of your lawful non-immigrant status is your responsibility. Failure to maintain status may have serious long-term immigration consequences. In some cases, students who fall out of status may be eligible for Reinstatement of status, a process by which an application is sent to and adjudicated by the U.S. government requesting that lawful status be resumed. More information regarding reinstatement may be found at the following handout:

Reinstatement to F-1 Status

If you have any questions regarding maintenance of your lawful student status, we invite you to visit our office or call International Student and Scholar Services (ISS) at 312-362-8376.

Changing Status

Change to F-1 Status
Change to F-2 Status

Full-time Enrollment Requirements

International students must maintain a full-time credit load during the academic year: 

Undergraduate students
12 credits per quarter
Graduate students 8 credits per quarter
Graduate Music students 6 credits per quarter
College of Law JD students 12 credits per semester
College of Law LLM & MLS students 9 credits per semester
English Language Academy (ELA) students 4 courses per quarter

F-1 students may count only one online course towards their full-course of study enrollment requirement for each term.

The above enrollment requirements meet U.S. government regulations. If you are a student who is financially sponsored by your government or other scholarship provider (e.g. SACM) you may also be required to meet the specific obligations of your scholarship which may exceed U.S. government requirements. Click here for more information. 

Reduced Course Load

All students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to be enrolled full-time to maintain lawful non-immigrant status. Under current government regulations, international students may be enrolled for less than the required full course load only in limited circumstances.

It is critical that you consult with your ISS advisor before enrolling in or before dropping below a full course of study. Students who do not receive authorization from their DSO (ISS advisor) before enrolling less than full-time may be considered out of status.

For more information about Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorizations including how to request an RCL, exception reasons, and documents to submit, please log into the ISS Portal HERE and select the Reduced Course Load option under Student Requests.

Contact ISS

International Student and Scholar Services
1 E. Jackson Boulevard
DePaul Center, Suite 9300
Chicago, IL 60604 USA

Phone: 312-362-8376