Maintaining F1 Status

International Student & Services (ISSS) on behalf of Montclair State University is required to comply with federal laws that require regular electronic reports through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to USCIS on each student in F-1 or J-1 status.

Therefore, it is important that you follow the USCIS regulations governing your F-1 status. Advisors in International Services are available to help you understand your responsibilities.  Please read the following rules very carefully. Following these regulations will help you maintain your legal status and avoid any future difficulties.

  • Full-time enrollment in course of study during the academic year
    • Undergraduate students - enroll in at least 12 undergraduate credits or more required per semester
    • Graduate students - enroll in at least 9 graduate credits or more required per semester
    • Summer session enrollment is available and optional, unless required by your program of study

  •  You must have a valid I-20 from Montclair State University with a valid completion date. You must apply for an extension through our office at least two months before the completion date expires.

Important Notes:

  • If you cannot enroll full time for any reason, you must see an advisor in the IS before classes begin. Under certain circumstances, USCIS may allow an F-1 student to be enrolled part-time but an IS advisor must approve the reason before classes begin. Part time attendance without an approved excuse from an IS advisor is a violation of your status and can cause serious problems for you. Your approved excuse must be in the form of a written explanation from your Academic Advisor, Medical Doctor, etc. depending on the reason for enrolling part-time. For more information on your specific case, please consult with an IS advisor.

  • Graduate and Doctoral students engaged in their dissertation/thesis but not enrolled full time in courses should inform the IS and provide a supporting letter from the faculty advisor indicating that the research project is equivalent to full-time study.

  • Students in their final semester may not need to enroll full-time. A letter from the appropriate academic advisor confirming that you are completing your degree requirements and that this is your final semester should be submitted to the IS for the semester concerned.

  • You must enroll in classes every Fall and Spring semester. Failure to enroll in classes without a valid excuse while remaining in the U. S. is a violation of your status.

  •  If there is a serious reason you cannot enroll for a semester, you must see an IS advisor before that semester begins with a written excuse as to why you are not enrolled to see if your reason is excused under USCIS regulations.