Requirements for Maintaining F1 Visa Status

FULL-TIME Registration and Making Normal Progress Towards Program Completion:

Students in F1 status must enroll and complete a full time course load each fall and spring semester.

  • For undergraduate students at Rutgers Newark: Full time registration is minimum 12 credits
  • For Masters students at Rutgers Business School: Full time registration is minimum 12 credits
  • For JD students at Law School: Full time registration is minimum 12 credits
  • For all other graduate students: Full time registration is minimum 9 credits

Full Time Exceptions & Reduced Course Load Request Form:

An F1 student in the last semester to complete a degree program, OR, in the semester(s) after all coursework is completed except thesis/dissertation, or in one of the other situations allowed by law, may take less than full time course load with OISS approval. The student must have the Reduced Course Load Request Form (Download Fillable/Typing versionsigned by their Graduate Program Director or Undergraduate Academic Advisor and submit it to OISS that, upon approval, will update the student's SEVIS record. 

Special note: If a NEW student during the FIRST semester in the U.S. is facing academic difficulties, please contact OISS. OISS can work with academic advisor to help the student to drop classes while maintaining legal status.

Obtaining OISS Work Authorization BEFORE Starting Employment:

  • On-campus jobs: F1 students may only work on campus PART-TIME, less than 20 hours per week, during Fall and Spring semesters, and full time during school breaks.
  • Off-campus employment: F1 students are not allowed to engage in any employment off campus without OISS approval. They would be considered in violation of their visa status and would be subject to deportation if they do so. For information about off-campus employment options, please check the "Employment" section of this website.

Keeping Visa Documentation Valid:

  • I - 20 has to be valid at all times. A student holding an expired I-20 is out of status in the U.S..
  • I - 94 card should be marked as "F1" and "D/S" (D/S stands for Duration of Status).
  • Passport has to be valid six months into the future at all times unless the passport is issued by one of the countries on the Six-Month Club List
  • A valid F1 visa stamp is needed to enter the U.S. from abroad. It will not put an F1 student out of status if it expires during the time the student is studying in the U.S. while maintaining legal status.

Reporting Address Change within 10 Days of Move:

F1 students are required to report change of residence address within 10 days of move to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS. To report the change, sign in myRutgers portal, in the space for "Permanent Address", enter the new U.S. address (NOT address in home country). It will be automatically uploaded to SEVIS through OISS.

Reporting Change in Major or Minor:

An F1 student who changes major, adds a second major or minor should work with an academic advisor and the Registrar. Once  the major is changed in the Rutgers system, OISS would upload it to SEVIS and issue a new I-20 for the student.

Reporting Legal Name Change :

If an F1 student changes legal name, it has to be reported to SEVIS and obtain a new I-20. Please contact OISS for the reporting procedure.