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Spring 2023 International Student Status Maintenance Reminders

The temporary pandemic flexibilities provided by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for F-1 international student status maintenance have expired for most international students. Only F-1 students enrolled on or before March 9, 2020, and have continuously maintained status since then, may be eligible for certain flexibilities after consultation with the Office of International Services. In practice, this means that for the spring 2023 semester, F-1 and J-1 visa holders should adhere to the existing enrollment and status maintenance regulations for their visa category set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State, respectively.

The Office of International Services encourages students and advisors to utilize our website to learn about F-1 Student and J-1 Exchange Visitor Student immigration status maintenance. Students can schedule an immigration advising appointment with an OIS advisor through iAdvise. Questions from both students and advisors can be directed to or (312) 996-3121 during our regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Here are a few key status maintenance reminders that are helpful to review at the beginning of each academic semester:

1) International students new to UIC, complete your Immigration check-In with OIS Heading link

If you are a new UIC international student on-campus and have not yet completed your online Immigration Check-In with OIS you must do so immediately. Once your check-in is complete, OIS will remove the SEVIS hold on your student account, allowing you to register for classes. Failure to complete the Immigration Check-In within 30 days of the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 could have significant negative consequences on your immigration status.

2) Enroll full-time by the fall add/drop deadline, Jan. 20 Heading link

All F-1 and J-1 international students must be enrolled full-time by the fall add/drop deadline of Friday, Jan. 20, and remain enrolled full-time for the duration of the semester to maintain status. Any student who qualifies for an exception to the full-time enrollment requirement must submit documentation to OIS by Jan. 20 as well. Please see below for details.

3) Submit full-time enrollment exception documentation to OIS by Jan. 20, if applicable Heading link

There are limited exceptions to the basic full-time enrollment requirements for immigration purposes. If you do qualify for an exception, such as having a 50% assistantship appointment or being in your final semester of study, you must submit evidence supporting your reason for enrolling below full-time to OIS by the add/drop deadline of Friday, Jan. 20.

4) Confirm that special enrollment situations meet regulatory requirements 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. Such situations include enrollment in fully online classes, Academic Skills Program (ASP) courses and concurrent enrollment at another SEVIS-approved school.

Please note that for the spring 2023 semester, most international students will need to adhere to standard regulatory limits regarding enrollment in fully online classes. This means that F-1 students may only count one online class (up to three credits) toward their full-time enrollment requirement and J-1 students may not count any online courses toward their full-time enrollment requirement.

5) Obtain on-campus employment authorization (if needed) and only work part-time Heading link

J-1 students must obtain authorization from their Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor prior to beginning any on-campus employment. F-1 students are automatically authorized to work on-campus and do not need authorization from OIS prior to beginning an on-campus job. However, in both cases, students and on-campus employers must ensure that the total number of hours worked per week does not exceed 20 while school is in session. F-1 and J-1 students may work more than 20 hours per week during official University breaks. Please note that the 20-hour-per-week limit is inclusive of all on-campus jobs and/or authorized off-campus training.

6) Obtain off-campus training authorization, if applicable Heading link

F-1 and J-1 students planning to participate in an off-campus educational training experience (internship, fieldwork, research, practicum, etc.) either during the spring 2023 semester or post-graduation must obtain the proper authorization from OIS or their immigration program sponsor before the training begins. There are specific eligibility requirements for F-1 and J-1 off-campus training authorizations and the application processes can be lengthy. OIS strongly encourages all international students interested in off-campus training authorizations to explore their options early and connect with an OIS advisor with questions about their individual situations. Working or participating in off-campus training that is paid or unpaid, including “off the record” payments, without proper authorization is a violation of status which can have significant negative consequences that OIS advisors want to help you avoid.

7) Plan and report other status or academic changes Heading link

F-1 and J-1 students experiencing or anticipating other major changes to their immigration status or academic plans are strongly encouraged to discuss these with an OIS advisor as early as possible – in many cases, the change must be reported to OIS prior to it taking effect. Such changes could include a program extension, change of major or degree level, leave of absence from studies, transfer to a new academic institution, departure from the U.S., or change of immigration status. Many of these immigration requests can be submitted as e-forms via myOIS.

8) Update address and contact information Heading link

F-1 and J-1 international students must maintain accurate local and permanent international addresses in their SEVIS records at all times. If your address or contact information has changed, please notify the University and OIS within ten days of the change.

Students in special programs such as the Corporate MBA (CMBA) program, Programs for International Partnerships (PIP), UIC Global, or other contract programs who enroll for classes under the direction of their program should consult with their program advisors directly regarding their specific enrollment requirements and employment eligibility.