F STUDENT VISA
View All of ISSS' Forms
Changing to F-1 Visa Status
Bringing Dependents to the U.S. While on an F-1 Visa
How to Maintain Your F-1 Visa Status
Full-Time Enrollment: Enroll for a full course of study each fall and spring semester. Graduate students need nine credits and undergraduates need 12; if you need to take fewer than these credits, a Reduced Courseload Request form (RCL) must be submitted and approved by ISSS. (Approval notices are e-mailed to the student.) See the bottom half of this page for more information.
On-Campus Employment: The maximum for when school is in session is 20 hours per week and, when the University is on a vacation, the maximum number of hours per week is 40. All nonimmigrant visa holders (i.e. not in possession of a green card or a U.S. passport) must fill out their tax (I-9) paperwork in ISSS only.
Transferring To Another School: To transfer from Old Dominion to another school, you must complete a Transfer Out Form and follow the procedures detailed on it.
Keep I-20 Updated: Request a new I-20 form if ANY change occurs to the information on the form, including the amount of your graduate assistantship. If you need to extend, all documentation requirements are listed on the link above. Do not let your form expire to significant immigration problems.
Maintain the *THREE* Required Addresses: All of the following addresses must be updated within 5 days to ensure your visa status is kept current.
SEVIS U.S. Address: click on the link to submit the change to ISSS so your address can be made current in SEVIS and on LeoOnline; most probably this will be the same as your Permanent address on LeoOnline (unless all correspondence is sent to your sponsor)
SEVIS Home Country Address: click on the link to submit the change to ISSS so your address can be made current in SEVIS and on LeoOnline.
U.S. "Permanent" Address: click on the link to go to LeoOnline so you can update the "Permanent" address, which the University uses for mailings; most probably this will be the same as your SEVIS U.S. address (unless all correspondence is sent to your sponsor)
Maintain a Valid Passport: Your passport should be valid for at least six months into the future. Contact your embassy at least nine months before your passport expires to ask about renewal procedures.
Stay Informed: Read e-mails and updates sent to the ISSlist, the dates & Reminders section on the bottom left of the ISSS main page. Always feel free to contact ISSS if you have questions or need clarification.
Full-time status for students on F-1 visas is defined as completion of a certain number of credits 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester for undergraduate students, 9 credit hours each fall and spring for graduate students.
Please see the Reduced Course Load Request (RCL) to see in which instances ISSS may grant approval for few credits.
Situations that do NOT allow a student to drop below full-time and maintain status include:
Completing Incompletes from Previous Semesters: the credits for incompletes can be counted only for the semester in which you are registered for the class.
Fear of Failing a Class or Receiving a Low Grade: You are encouraged to speak with the professor and your advisor to work on strategies to help you do as well as possible in the course.
"Averaging" Credits: Undergraduate students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Therefore, if you take 15 credit hours in, for example, the fall semester, you couldn't take just 9 credits...you'd need to take 12 credits.
Financial Problems: Immigration assumes that, because you have provided financial documentation that you will have sufficient funding for your current program. If there has been a severe and unforseen change in your finances, please make an appointment with your advisor in ISSS.
In all cases, ISSS must approve an RCL before you register and before you withdraw from any class and, thus, drop below your minimum required number of credits.