A. Full-time status
Because the purpose of the F-1 and J-1 student status is to allow the international student to pursue a degree full-time, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) places certain limitations on activities of these students. The student must attend school full-time (12 credit hours for undergraduates and 6 credit hours for graduates) during the school year. The student is required to take only the number of courses needed to complete the degree requirements the last term of study. Exceptions can be made to the full-time rule under specified circumstances. These should be discussed with the adviser in advance.
Strict limitations are placed on the F-1 and J-1 students’ eligibility to work. Working without authorization is a deportable offense.
1. F-1 students who are in status may work part-time on campus 20 hours a week while school is in session and full-time during school holidays.
2. An F-1 or J-1 student who meets specified criteria may apply to USCIS for:
- Practical of academic training: work authorization in the student’s field of study.
- Off-campus work authorization due to unexpected financial need.
It is important to know that any kind of work in the U.S. requires a Social Security card. You can apply for a Social Security card by filling out an application and requesting a letter from the International Services Office. It may take 2-6 weeks to obtain a Social Security number and card.
Register on time!
All students must register during the registration period before the semester or trimester begins. If you register more than 3 weeks after courses begin, you will lose your student status and automatically be reported to the USCIS. It is not possible to register at the end of a semester/trimester.
For more information refer to USCIS via the