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 E-Form on iNAU 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 Hybrid Courses

F-1 international students can only count one online class toward their minimum number of credits as their full-time enrollment during their normal semesters. If you only need one course to complete your program of study, the course cannot be online or distance learning. Hybrid courses, also referred to as Blended courses, are considered in-person courses that will contribute toward our in-person enrollment requirement. 

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 F-1 Program Extension E-Form on iNAU. Submit the e-form 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 E-Form: Once you have been admitted, fill out the Transfer Out E-Form on iNAU. When the e-form is approved your SEVIS immigration record will be transferred electronically to the other school on the SEVIS release date you indicated 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.


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 (renewal every 6 months recommended) while you are a student at Northern Arizona University. 

If you need a travel signature, complete the F-1 Travel Signature Request E-Form on iNAU, then bring your most recent I-20 to the ISSS front desk at least two weeks before you depart Flagstaff. An 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.