F & J Regulations

    Basic Guidelines

    Students should be aware of the federal regulations governing their immigration status during and after completion of their study program. Violation of any of these regulations may result in the loss of visa status. If you "fall out of status" for any reason, you will no longer be eligible for work permission or other benefits afforded by your status. In some cases, you may be required to return to your home country.

    Listed below are basic guidelines that international students should follow to make sure their visa status remains valid. Although other situations not mentioned here may lead to the loss of status, following these guidelines will help you to avoid many unnecessary problems. If you have questions regarding these guidelines, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services and meet with one of the international advisors.

    Under U.S. law, you are fully responsible for abiding by the rules governing your F-1/J-1 status. International Student and Scholar Services will do its best to help you understand these rules, but it is your responsibility to abide by and maintain your status. 

      Attend the school noted on your Form I-20/DS-2019

      You must have a current valid Form I-20/DS-2019 from the school you are attending.

      Immigration Check-In

      All new international students with an initial Form I-20/DS-2019 must complete the immigration check-in with the ISSS office. As soon as you arrive at UofL, you must submit the following documents: Visa, I-94, and current local address. You may submit these documents to the ISSS office by email, in person, or through the website

      Keep your Passport Valid for at least 6 Months

      Contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing your passport validity.

      Keep your Local Address Updated

      Keep your local residential address current through ULink within 10 days of the change. You must also notify the with the new address.

      All F-1 and J-1 students are required to report and maintain a local U.S. address with the Department of Homeland Security within 10 days of arrival for new students and within 10 days of any address change. This must be your local residential address with room number (if you are living within a residence hall) or apartment number. Campus departmental addresses, P.O. Boxes, and foreign addresses are not acceptable addresses for immigration purposes.

      Students who fail to report this information as required will be in violation of their F-1/J-1 status and may endanger their opportunities for future benefits in the United States.

      Maintain Full-Time Enrollment

      A student on an F-1 or a J-1 Visa is considered to be maintaining status if the student is making normal progress towards completing a course of study. Maintaining status means you must be registered for a full course of study as a full-time student in the fall and spring semesters. For Undergraduate students, full-time means you must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, and as a graduate or a professional student, you are required to maintain 9 credit hours per semester.

      Note: New initial students must enroll full-time for their first term even if it is a summer session

      Online Courses

      You may not use more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per term or semester counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken online.

      Report a Withdrawal or a Drop Below Full-Time Status

      If for some reason you must withdrawal from your program or drop below full-time, you must obtain prior approval from your international advisor. 

      You may be authorized to engage in less than a full course of study under certain circumstances. Some authorizations must consist of at least six semester hours of enrollment or half-the-clock hours required for a full course of study. Other authorizations will allow a student not to be enrolled at all.

      Reasons Guidelines

      Illness or Medical Condition

      • Cannot exceed 12 month aggregate per program level
      • May excuse a student from all classes
      • Student must provide medical documentation from a licensed:
        • Medical Doctor
        • Doctor of Osteopathy
        • Clinical Psychologist
      • DSO must renew the RCL each term, based on new or continuing medical information
      • May be used nonstop or at different times during a program level
      • Start date should be the date DSO approved the RCL

      Academic Difficulties, including:

      • Improper course level placement
      • Initial difficulty with reading requirements
      • Initial difficulty with the English language
      • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
      • Can only be used for the initial academic term
      • Student must maintain a minimum six-credit course load, or half the clock hours required for a full course of study
      • Student must begin a full course of study at the next offered term
      • RCL start and end dates must correspond to the school session start and end dates

      To Complete Course of Study in Current Term

      • Used in a student’s final term if he/she can complete the program with fewer classes
      • Student must be enrolled in at least one required class
      • RCL start and end dates must correspond to the school session start and end dates

      Keep your Form I-20/DS-2019 Valid at all Times.

      If there are any changes to your Form I-20/DS-2019 (e.g., program dates, major, funding) you must speak with one of the International Advisors. If the program end date on your Form I-20/DS2019 will expire before you complete your program of study, you must request a Program Extension

      Get a Travel Signature

      Before your departure from the U.S., request a travel endorsement for re-entry from an International Advisor. The endorsement is valid for one year from the time it was signed.

      Get Proper Employment Permission

      • On-campus employment - Employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. Employment on-campus may be full-time in the summer and vacation periods. No special work permit is required.
      • Off-campus employment - Do not work off-campus without permission. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be approved through the ISSS office.
      • Academic Training for J1 Students- “Academic Training,” is the name used by the Department of State for certain types of study-related employment for students in J status. It describes the conditions that have to be met in order to qualify for “Academic Training,” and how to apply. You should not begin working until you have received a new DS-2019 with your work authorization posted.

      Report Intent to Transfer to Another School

      You are currently authorized to study or conduct research at the University of Louisville. if you decide to study at another school in the U.S., you must notify the ISSS office of your intent to transfer. You will need to fill out the Transfer-Out form and return it to the ISSS office

      Instructions for Transferring to UofL as an F-1 Student

      A student is eligible to transfer to another school or to the University of Louisville. To start the process of transferring in or out of the University, you must fill out the request form that applies for you to proceed with the transfer.

        Time Limitations for J-1Students:
        J-1 students who are in degree programs are authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program until they complete their degrees. Non-degree students may be authorized to participate for up to 24 months only.