Requirements to maintain your F-1 status

Read about what F-1 students need to do to maintain status.

Full-time enrollment

Undergraduate students must enroll for 12 credits each fall and spring semester. Graduate students must enroll for nine credits each fall and spring semester.  Summer is considered an "optional" semester, and continuing students can be enrolled part-time or not enrolled during the summer.  However, a student completing graduation requirements in a summer term must maintain full-time enrollment (and also follow the online course restrictions below) in the summer they graduate, or apply for a reduced course load through the ISSS office.

Failure to enroll for the required number of credits will result in the loss of your F-1 immigration status, and can result in serious problems with immigration.  NOTE:   "Audit" courses do not count towards the full-time enrollment requirement for immigration purposes.

Immigration allows a few specific exceptions to the full-time enrollment rule. If you wish to drop below full-time, you must submit the Reduced Course Load Form to your International Student Adviser before dropping below full-time.

In-person enrollment requirement

There are restrictions about which classes international students may count towards full-time enrollment. Undergraduate students must enroll in a minimum of nine in-person credits every fall and spring semester (and in summer, if they are graduating). Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of six in-person credits every fall and spring semester (and in summer, if they are graduating).

Online and ITV/cable classes

Online classes are usually not considered in-person unless there is an in-person component. ITV/cable classes are considered in-person only if the class requires all students to meet in a classroom or with the professor periodically throughout the semester.

Check with your International Student Adviser if you have any doubts about whether a class will be counted as in-person before finalizing your class schedule.

Required immigration reporting 

All changes must be provided in writing by emailing your International Student Adviser or visit our address update info page. Do not phone or leave a voice message to report changes. For financial and name changes, you will have to provide documentation proving the change. Find out what required information must stay current in SEVIS.

Program extension

You should apply for a program extension at least 30 days before the expiration date indicated on your Form I-20 by filling out a Program Extension Form.  Drop it off at the Center for International Education’s (CIE) front desk at least two weeks before your current program end date.

It is impossible to extend your program of study after your I-20 expiration date.

Transferring out of Northern Arizona University

In order to transfer out of Northern Arizona University, please complete the following steps:

  1. Apply to the other school: Contact the other school for details on their admissions process.
  2. Complete the Transfer Out Form: Once you have been admitted, fill out the Transfer Out Form and drop it off at the CIE front desk. Your SEVIS immigration record will be transferred electronically to the other school and the SEVIS release date you indicate on the form.

Withdrawing from Northern Arizona University

To withdraw from Northern Arizona University, complete the Intent to Withdraw Form. If you withdraw with approval from CIE, you have a 15-day grace period to leave the United States before you fall out of status. No employment is permitted during this grace period.

If CIE did not authorize the withdrawal, you have no grace period to leave the United States and you are immediately out of status.

Travel

Immigration regulations state that you must carry your immigration documents with you at all times. These documents include:

  • passport
  • visa
  • I-94
  • current I-20

Furthermore, we recommend you carry photocopies of your immigration documents with you at all times when you are in Flagstaff. Whenever you leave Flagstaff, you must carry your original immigration documents with you. This still applies to you even if you have a U.S. driver’s license or state ID.

Traveling outside the US and re-entry

Be sure your I-20 states your current and accurate information and that page three has a valid travel signature. Each travel signature is valid for one year while you are a student at Northern Arizona University.

If you need a travel signature, bring your I-20 to the CIE front desk at least two weeks before you depart Flagstaff and your International Student Adviser will e-mail you when it is ready to pick up. In addition to a valid I-20, you will need a valid visa and passport for reentry to the United States. It is also highly recommended that you bring:

  • evidence of financial resources (such as the financial support documents you used to get your I-20 or F-1 visa)
  • evidence of student status, such as:
    • recent tuition receipts
    • transcripts
    • the name and contact information of your International Student Adviser

Keep in mind that you may need a visa to enter a country other than your own. Please contact the consulate/embassy of the country you will be visiting for visa requirements.