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Guidelines for Maintaining F-1 Visa

Visa Guidelines

» Guidelines for Maintaining F-1 Visa

As a student in the U.S. on an F-1 visa enrolled at Chapman University, you must meet certain obligations set by the US Department of Homeland Security:

  • Passport should be valid 6 months in advance of expiration at all times.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend.
  • Enroll in  a full course of study during the fall and spring semesters. A full course of study is 12 units per semester for undergraduate and law students, and 9 units for graduate students.
  • Must be working toward the completion of your degree.
  • Notify International Student Services (ISS) immediately if you change your academic program and/or major or minor.
  • Notify ISS if you intend to transfer, take a leave of absence, reduce your course load, add a dependent or extend/shorten graduation date.
  • Report any legal changes to your name, or any change of address, to the ISS office within 10 days of the change.
  • Do not work off-campus without work authorization from USCIS and/or ISS.
  • Limit on-campus employment to a total of 19  hours per week while school is in session.
  • Request a travel endorsement signature on your I-20 form from ISS.
  • Complete your degree by the date listed on your I-20 form, or apply for an extension before it expires.
  • Leave the U.S within 60 days of the  completion date on your I-20 form.

Allowable deviations from the full-course-of-study requirement:

  • A valid medical excuse. A student who is compelled by temporary illness or other medical conditions to interrupt or reduce a full course of study is considered to be in status during the illness or other medical condition. Notify  the ISS office if you need to request this exception.
  • Vacation. An F-1 Visa student is considered in status during the summer and interterm. Students are not required to attend the summer and interterm.
  • Academic difficulties. A student who is having academic difficulty during their first semester, should contact the ISS office.
  • Last semester before graduation/degree completion. An F-1 status student who needs fewer units to complete his or her program of study in their final term is considered to be pursuing a full course of study.
  • Concurrent enrollment. An F-1 status student may enroll part-time and concurrently at another SEVIS approved college. The student must obtain permission from the ISSoffice prior to enrolling at any other institution..


International Student Services provides general guidance. Any advice provided to you by the ISS should not be construed as legal advice.

Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, government agencies such as USCIS/ICE/CBP may change their interpretation of immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits at any time. We will do our best to provide the most current guidance.

Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.