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International Student Enrollment Requirements

International students in F-1 and J-1 status must maintain full-time enrollment during each required academic term, which at UIC are the fall and spring semesters. Enrollment during the summer terms is optional, except for international students that begin their programs during a summer term, in which case, full-time enrollment is required. It is important to note that full-time enrollment may be defined differently for immigration purposes than how it is defined by other academic units or programs. It is your responsibility to ensure that your enrollment meets the requirements of your immigration status throughout the duration of your program at UIC.

Please note that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) ended all COVID-19 guidance and associated international student enrollment allowances effective May 11, 2023. Please read the SEVP Broadcast Message for more details and contact with questions.

Basic full-time enrollment requirements for immigration purposes Heading link

F-1 and J-1 international students must be enrolled full-time by the add/drop deadline of each fall and spring semester, and maintain full-time enrollment for the duration of the semester. Dropping below full-time enrollment during the semester is a violation of status. Basic full-time enrollment requirements for various education levels and situations are defined below. Graduate students holding grants, fellowships, or other awards carrying tuition and fee waivers should consult with the Graduate College to ensure that their enrollment also meets the requirements of their award.

12 credit hours

  • All undergraduate students.
  • All professional program students (e.g. DDS, DPT, PharmD.)
  • All students awarded a fellowship or Graduate College Tuition and Fee waiver without an assistantship.

9 credit hours

  • Most graduate students in master’s or doctoral programs.

8 credit hours

  • Graduate students holding a 50% teaching or research assistantship. Please see below for details and instructions on how to submit the required reduced courseload approval e-form.

Exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement Heading link

There are limited exceptions to the basic full-time enrollment requirements for immigration purposes. If you do qualify for one of the exceptions listed below, you must submit evidence supporting your reason for enrolling below full-time to OIS by the add/drop deadline. Please note that enrolling below full-time, although authorized by OIS, could affect your eligibility for other programs (e.g. CTA U-Pass). In addition to consulting with OIS, please research how your plan to enroll below full-time could impact other programs, services, or funding you rely on as a student at UIC.

Additional enrollment considerations Heading link

In addition to maintaining full-time enrollment, F-1 and J-1 students should be aware of other situations in which their immigration status impacts how and when they can enroll in classes.

FAQs Heading link

Here are some frequently asked questions about enrollment requirements for international students.