Maintaining F-1 student status means fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued a student an F-1 visa and following the regulations associated with that purpose. For more information about the F-1 requirements, please read:


Since studying is the main purpose for an F-1 international student to come to the United States, it is very important international students not take any action that detracts from that purpose. While studying in the United States, international students must:

  • Attend and pass all classes. If school is too difficult, the student should first speak with an Academic Advisor. If it is determined that dropping a course is needed and the reason for the drop is one allowed by the immigration rules, the student should review the Reduced Course Load (RCL) page to request approval for the RCL. If it is determined that taking a break from school is needed, the student should review the Leave of Absence (LOA) page to learn how to obtain authorization for the LOA.
  • International students are required to take a full course of study each term; if it is not possible to study full-time, the student should seek approval for Reduced Course Load (RCL). Students must receive authorization from their International Student Advisor prior to dropping below full-time registration. This can only be authorized once per degree level for academic reasons.
  • If the student believes that he/she will be unable to complete the program by the end date listed on the I-20/DS-2019 form, the student should request an Extension of the I-20 before the current expiration.