Skip to main content
Skip to main content

J-1 Full-Time Enrollment Exceptions


Under special circumstances, you can request an exception to the full-time enrollment requirement.

To maintain legal J-1 status in the U.S., you must be enrolled full-time each fall and spring semester, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Make sure to follow instructions carefully as this is a very important area of maintaining status and any mistakes could cause you to lose legal status.

Academic Difficulties

If you are experiencing academic difficulties, you may request approval to drop below full-time. You must still maintain at least part-time enrollment: 6 credits for graduate students, and 6 credits for undergraduates. Advanced approval from ISO is required. 

Request approval through iStart>>

Medical Reasons

If you have an injury or an illness that prevents course attendance, you can request approval to enroll in a reduced course load or withdraw from courses completely for a given semester. You may request no more than 12 months of reduced course load based on a medical reason. Documentation from a U.S. licensed medical doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist, and authorization from ISO is required.

Request approval through iStart>>

Graduate Students Conducting Research

If you have completed all the required coursework for your degree and you are now only working on research for a final project, dissertation or thesis, you are only required to enroll in research credits or matriculation maintenance hours. In this situation, any number of hours in a thesis, dissertation or final project research course is considered full-time. ISO approval not required.

Final Semester of Study

When you are in your final semester of degree study, this option allows you to register only for the credits necessary to complete all degree requirements. ISO approval required.

Request approval through iStart>>


Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 11/15/16