Study Requirements for F-1/J-1 Students

Enrollment Requirements  *  Reduced Course Load: Academic Difficulty   

Reduced Course Load: Last Semester  *  Reduced Course Load: Illness/Medical

Leave of Absence  *  Withdrawal from University  *  Academic Dismissal   

Academic Support

Enrollment Requirements

In order to maintain your F-1/J-1 visa status, you must

  • study on a full time basis toward your program
  • make normal progress toward completing your degree by finishing your program by the program end date listed on your Form I-20/DS-2019.

How many credits must I register for each semester?

Bachelor’s:12 creditsLLM/SJD:9 credits
Master’s/PhD: 9 credits (without an assistantship)JD:12 credits
  6 credits (with an assistantship)UCAELI:22 hours/week
Exchange/non-degree:  12 credits (Bachelor’s), 9 credits (Master’s/PhD)  

Reduced Course Load for Last Semester:

You may take a reduced course load if you are in your final semester of study and you need less than full time registration to complete your degree requirements. Students who will complete their degree during summer term are not eligible to take a reduced course load during spring semester.  ISSS will adjust your Form I-20/DS-2019 program end date to the expected date of degree completion indicated by your advisor on this form. You will be required to complete all requirements for your degree by the date on your new Form I-20/DS-2019.

How to apply: Submit the Reduced Course Load application, completed by you and your academic advisor, to ISSS by the 1st day of the semester in which you are completing. It is ok to enroll for only those courses you need, before getting a new I-20 from ISSS. Your RCL must be approved by ISSS by the 10th day of the semester in which you are completing.

Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty:

All students must attempt a full time course load before requesting a Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty. Applications to take a Reduced Course Load for Academic Difficulty will be accepted starting the Monday of the second week of classes. You must enroll full time and attend all classes during the first week of classes, and until you have otherwise received a new I-20 from ISSS granting authorization to drop below full time. ISSS may authorize you to take a reduced course load if you are having academic difficulty in one or more courses related to your initial adjustment to English language, U.S. teaching methods, or reading requirements, or improper course level placement. In general, you must be in your first academic year of your program to qualify for a Reduced Course Load for these reasons. Some exceptions apply. You may only have a reduced course load for academic difficulty one time per program level (i.e. Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.) Changing schools or changing majors does not make you eligible for a new period of reduced course load. If you are authorized to take a Reduced Course Load for academic difficulty, you must maintain at least half-time enrollment, and you must resume full time study in the next available semester.

How to apply: Enroll and attend courses on a full time basis. If you are experiencing difficulties keeping up with the full course load, visit ISSS during walk-in advising hours, and be prepared to talk about why you are having academic difficulties this semester, and which courses you would like to drop in order to meet your academic goals. If we feel your situation qualifies, we will complete the Reduced Course Load application form with you, and intake your application for processing. We will issue a new Form I-20 within one week, which authorizes you to drop below full time. You must wait to get the new Form I-20 before withdrawing below full time status. Remember that you must also meet the University deadlines for dropping a course, and follow academic procedures with your academic advisor, after receiving authorization from ISSS.

Reduced Course Load for Illness or Medical Condition:

International students who have an illness or medical condition (physical and mental health) may be given permission to drop below full time.  To qualify, your condition must be confirmed in writing by a licensed medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), or licensed clinical psychologist (including Phd or Psy.D). If your medical documentation does not meet the above criteria, you may not qualify to drop below full time. If approved, you may drop to as few as zero credits. Students are restricted to 12 months cumulative of authorized reduced course load for illness or medical conditions per degree level.

How to apply: Visit ISSS during walk-in advising hours, or by appointment with your international advisor, and bring your medical documentation. If approved, ISSS will complete the Reduced Course Load application form with you, and within one week, issue a new Form I-20 with your medical reduced course load approval. The deadline to apply is flexible, but when medically possible, you must apply before you stop attending classes. Remember that you must also follow University procedures for dropping a course, and follow academic procedures with your academic advisor, after receiving authorization from ISSS.

 

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is a temporary break in your program of study that is approved by the University. International students who take a leave of absence from the University must follow the academic procedures related to taking a leave of absence, and notify ISSS of your plans, because a leave of absence impacts your visa status. Please notify ISSS before you take a leave of absence.

Undergraduate Leave of Absence Procedures

Graduate Student Leave of Absence Procedures

International students who take a leave of absence cannot stay in the United States on your F-1/J-1 visa during your period of leave. An exception may be possible if you are taking a leave of absence for medical reasons, and you have permission from ISSS to take a Reduced Course Load for medical reasons.

When must I depart the U.S.?

You must depart the U.S. within 15 days after your leave of absence from the University begins. ISSS will terminate your SEVIS record, and you may not use your I-20/DS-2019 or F-1/J-1 visa to enter the U.S. during your leave of absence.

How do I return to the U.S. to resume my studies?

At least 2 months before you will resume your studies at UConn, request a new Form I-20/DS-2019 from ISSS. If your F-1 visa is not expired, you may use the same visa to return with your new I-20 no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on your form. If you are a J-1 student, you will need to apply for a new visa stamp at the U.S. embassy/consulate.

Withdrawal from University

International students who decide to leave UConn must notify the University and ISSS.

Undergraduate Student Withdrawing or Cancelling Procedures

Graduate students may contact the Graduate School to learn more about how to withdraw from the University.

All international students should consider making an advisory appointment with your ISSS advisor or visiting ISSS during Walk-In advising hours if they are considering to withdraw from the University. At a minimum, international students who withdraw from the University must submit a Departure Notice Form to ISSS, in addition to completing the University separation paperwork.

If you will transfer to another U.S. school, you must be admitted and request ISSS to transfer your SEVIS record to your new school before you withdraw from UConn. Otherwise, UConn will terminate your SEVIS record, and you will have 15 days to depart the United States after your effective withdrawal date. 

Academic Dismissal

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students who are subject to dismissal due to poor academic performance must meet with your ISSS advisor to discuss how this will impact your visa status. If you receive notification that you are subject to academic dismissal, you have several options:

  • Depart the U.S before your effective date of dismissal. The effective date of dismissal is the date that the University updates your academic records to show your dismissed status. Your dismissal notification from UConn should indicate your effective date of dismissal.
  • Get admission to a new U.S. school, and ask ISSS to transfer your SEVIS record to the new school, before the effective date of dismissal. ISSS will not transfer your SEVIS record if you are admitted to a new school after your dismissal is effective.
  • Seek to appeal the dismissal decision. If your appeal is approved, you may continue your studies at UConn.

If you are subject to academic dismissal, please contact your ISSS advisor immediately to discuss your options.

Graduate Students

Graduate students who are subject to academic dismissal must meet with your ISSS advisor as soon as you are notified of an academic dismissal, to discuss your options. Graduate students who are dismissed are no longer maintaining status, and your SEVIS record will be terminated. If you decide to appeal the dismissal, and your appeal is approved, ISSS will assist you to regain your F-1 status to continue your studies.

Academic Support for International Students

Use the University’s Academic Resources – UConn provides many on-campus resources to help UConn student succeed academically. Visit On Campus Resources to learn about further academic resources at your campus.