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.
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.
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.
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.
Links for J-1 Students
- Applying for a Visa
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