The following outlines the eligibility of Certificate Programs to host international students on an F-1 student visa.

Eligibility

  • An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is admitted to an academic institution in the United States that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer “full course of study” programs. The F-1 student status may be used for degree seeking programs (associate, bachelor, master, doctorate) as well as certain approved non-degree programs.
  • An outline/curriculum/syllabus of each certificate program must be provided to UFIC International Student Services (ISS) for review and approval prior to an international student being admitted to or attending in the F-1 student visa category. After reading the information provided on this page, the academic department may submit the program curriculum/syllabus to certificateprograms@ufic.ufl.edu. After ISS has reviewed the documents, follow up may be necessary. If the documents seem to be in order, ISS will then submit the documents for review by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Please expect this to take at least three months, generally an average of six months. The academic department will be advised if SEVP approved the program. Only then may an international student who wishes to enroll as an F-1 be admitted to the certificate program.
  • An I-20 is a government document issued to students seeking F-1 student status. The I-20 is only a "certificate of eligibility" for F-1 status. Issuing the form alone does not grant F-1 student status itself. After an I-20 is issued, the student must use the I-20 to apply to the US Consulate (although citizens of some countries are exempt from the visa requirement) for an F-1 visa, then enter the United States with the I-20,* F-1 visa, passport, admission  letter, and proof of funds.

* If the student is already in the United States on an F-1 student visa status, the student must have his/her SEVIS record transferred to the University of Florida International Center. If the student is already in the United States but not on F-1 student visa status, the student may need to request Change of Status by sending an application to USCIS. For more information regarding transferring or applying for a Change of Status, please send an e-mail to certificateprograms@ufic.ufl.edu.

Requirements

The following conditions for issuance of Form I-20 must be met:

  • The prospective student has made a written application to the academic department.
  • The written application, the student's transcripts or other records of courses taken, proof of financial responsibility for the student, proof of English language proficiency as determined by a minimum score on the TOEFL or IELTS Academic Module, and other supporting documents have been received, reviewed, and evaluated by the academic department/International Student Advisor. **
  • The appropriate academic department authority has determined that the prospective student's qualifications meet all standards for admission.
  • The official responsible for admission at the school/in the academic department has accepted the prospective student for enrollment in a full course of study.

** Proof of financial responsibility for the student will be reviewed by the International Student Advisor; all other documents listed above will be reviewed by the admitting academic department.

Full Course of Study

The F-1 student category is available to non-degree students, provided that successful completion of the full course of study:

  • Leads to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective,  and
  • Results in the issuance of a certificate with the seal of the University of Florida.

The academic department must specify in writing the educational or professional objective and the courses to be taken, providing documentation of why academically, the intensity of the program justifies it as a full course of study. If there is a clock-hour requirement, it must be shown that the program of study meets the clock hour requirement.  This may be done by providing a hard copy outline of the program to the International Student Advisor at the University of Florida International Center. The International Student Advisor will determine whether the program constitutes a "full course of study" as it pertains to immigration regulations prior to issuing an I-20 for the student.

Undergraduate Level Certificate Programs Graduate/Post-graduate Level Certificate Programs
Student must register for a minimum of 12 credits. *** Student must register for a minimum of 9 credits *** OR
The certificate program must consist of at least 18 clock hours of attendance a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of classroom instruction, or to consist of at least 22 clock hours a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of laboratory work.

*** For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.

Costs

Students are expected to have adequate financial resources to meet expenses during the certificate program. For certificate programs which are less than one calendar year in length, proof of the ability to cover the total cost of the program is required. For certificate programs which are more than one year in length, proof of the ability to cover at least 12 months at a time is required.

  • Educational Expenses: The department will determine the cost of tuition and other program related expenses, and will advise the student and the International Student Advisor of the total. This should be the total cost for the duration of the certificate program, or 12 months, whichever is less. The student is required to prove the total amount (unless covered by the department through a stipend/scholarship/waiver, etc).
  • Living Expenses: Students are currently required to show a minimum of $1,500 per month for the duration of the certificate program, or 12 months, whichever is less. If dependants will accompany the student, an additional $1,000 per month for the spouse, and $500 per month per child. The student is required to prove the total amount.

Major Medical Health Insurance

Please click here for information.

Immunization

Although the University of Florida International Center does not require proof of immunization to issue an I-20, students must comply with the State University System immunization requirements. Proof of immunization must be obtained by the academic department. If the certificate program requires registration, proof of immunization must also be provided to the Student Health Care Center before the student can register. Please contact the SHCC for complete information or for any questions: http://healthcompliance.shcc.ufl.edu/immunizations-2/.

Employment

Employment includes but is not limited to on campus, off campus, part time, full time, paid, unpaid, volunteer, shadowing, externships, internships, co-ops, etc.

REQUIRED Employment

Employment which is required in the certificate program curriculum is subject to the following:

  • ON-campus:  Employment is allowed and limited to twenty hours or less per week. If more than twenty hours are required weekly, specific authorization must be requested by the department and approved by the International Student Advisor at the University of Florida International Center.
  • OFF-campus: Specific authorization must be requested by the department and approved by the International Student Advisor at the University of Florida International Center. Off-campus employment may not occur unless first authorized by the International Student Advisor.

OPTIONAL Employment

Employment which is not required in the certificate program curriculum is subject to the following:

  • ON-campus: Employment is allowed and is limited to twenty hours or less per week. The twenty hour limit includes any employment required by the certificate program.
  • OFF-Campus: Employment is not allowed prior to the student completing at least nine months of full-time enrollment in F1 student status. The employment must be related and considered relevant to the student's involvement in the certificate program, must be taken during the program, and it must be approved for academic credit. If the duration of the certificate program is not at least nine months, optional off-campus employment is not allowed. Specific authorization must be requested by the department and approved by the International Student Advisor at the University of Florida International Center. Off-campus employment may not occur unless first authorized by the International Student Advisor.

NOTE: Students should not enter the United States intending to fund themselves by working. Unless the Certificate Program provides a stipend or waiver of certain expenses, students should arrive with enough money to cover all of their expenses.