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.