Skip Navigation

In order to maintain your lawful F-1 status you must be a full-time, registered student each term you are present in the U.S. with the exception of recognized school breaks. For some programs there are no recognized school breaks. It is important that you are aware of the expected registration requirements for your specific program.  

Students must consult with their school and/or academic program to confirm the definition of full-time enrollment and make sure to enroll in the appropriate number of credits to be in full-time status. 

  • Undergraduate students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per semester to be considered in full-time status.
  • Graduate students must follow their program’s requirements to remain in full-time status.  In most cases, full-time is 9 or 12 credits per semester or term.  Students should check with their program for specific requirements. 
  • If summer is the first or final term for your program, it is not considered a break. In this case, you must enroll full-time in summer term unless eligible for Reduced Course Load (RCL).
  • You may only count one online or hybrid course towards your full-time enrollment each term.  This means that if your program requires you to enroll in 9 credits per term, only one course out of 9 credits can be online/hybrid for that term.  Once you satisfy that requirement, you can take additional online/hybrid courses if taking more than 9 credits. 
  • JHU’s course drop and withdrawal policies sometimes conflict with F-1 enrollment requirements.  Even though the University policy may allow you to drop or withdraw from a course, you must also consider the F-1 enrollment requirements, which are separate.  Dropping or withdrawing from courses and falling below the full-time credit load requirement is a violation of your F-1 visa status because withdrawal/dropped credits do not count toward full-time enrollment for immigration purposes.
  • Audited courses do not count towards full-time enrollment.
  • In some cases, it may be possible to enroll less than full-time and maintain your F-1 status if you qualify for a Reduced Course Load authorization. 

Special Enrollment Circumstances

Non-Resident Status

Some graduate (usually doctorate-level WSE/KSAS) students may be eligible for Non-Resident (NR) Status once they reach the dissertation-only stage of their program. Other students may also be eligible for NR status, such as some WSE master’s students participating in a formally established CO-OP program that requires CPT authorization. Not all divisions offer this option and not all students will be eligible for NR status. Questions about eligibility for NR status and the process of applying for NR status should be directed to the students’ academic program. Typically, as part of the NR process, OIS signs off on the NR status application.

When F-1 students are placed on NR status, they are still considered to be full-time and remain eligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment, I-20 extensions, CPT, and OPT.

Degree in Progress (DIP)

DMA F-1 students from the Peabody Conservatory who have reached Degree in Progress (DIP) status are able to maintain their F-1 status because they are considered full time. F-1 students in DIP status are eligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment, I-20 extensions, CPT, and OPT.

Failure to Maintain Full-Time Status

Dropping below full-time status without prior approval for a reduced course load from OIS is considered a violation of your F-1 status and will result in the termination of your F-1 SEVIS record.  Once your F-1 SEVIS record is terminated, you will no longer have a valid visa status in the U.S.