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Registration and Full-time Status

Important Disclaimer: As an international student, the maintenance of your legal status is ultimately your responsibility. It is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules and regulations that govern your status and visa (e.g., 8 CFR § 214.2(f)). The Office of Global Engagement (“GE”) and International Student & Scholar Services provide support and information related to U.S. immigration laws and regulations related to F and J status at Utah State University but are not ultimately responsible for your status and visa. GE and ISSS staff are not attorneys and any information provided by GE and ISSS should not be construed as legal advice. Individuals are welcome to consult a qualified immigration attorney for specific legal advice, particularly in complicated cases.

What Are the 6 Steps to Maintaining Status?
What is Full-time Enrollment?
How Can I Get a Program Extension?
What is an Academic RCL?

Students must register for a full course of study to maintain their non-immigrant status.

What is a “full course of study”?
  • Intensive English: 18 credits
  • Undergraduate: at least 12 credits
  • Graduate: at least 9 credits

Can I take online classes?
Students can only count 3 credits of online/ web broadcast courses towards the full course of study requirement.  For example, if you are an undergraduate student required to take 12 credits, only 3 of those can be online and the other 9 must be in a face-to-face delivery format.

What counts as face-to-face delivery format?
Banner Description - Is it Face-to-Face?
Face to Face       -    YES
Blended Face to Face  -  YES
Interactive Broadcast    -       YES
Blended Interactive Broadcast     -    YES
Supervised    -    YES

Online  -  No
Web Broadcast  -  No
Blended Web Broadcast  -  No
Are you eligible for a reduced course load?
  • Undergraduate students:  Submit the Reduced Course Load request in the ISSS portal if it is your last semester and you have fewer than 12 credits required to graduate.
  • Graduate students:  Submit the approval from graduate school for "Full Time at 3 Credits" if you have completed all required coursework and are only working on research.

Can I drop a class?
You may only drop a class if you will not fall below the required number of credits for an international student. 
  •  A "W" on your transcript does not equate to enrollment in a course, and will not count toward the full course of study requirement.
  •  A reduced course load can be authorized for specific reasons only. Please seek immigration advising prior to dropping below a full course load to obtain           authorization (if your situation qualifies) and to avoid a termination of your SEVIS record and student visa.

Do I need to register for classes in the summer semester?
Summer is considered the vacation semester for non-immigrant purposes. Registration is not required unless summer is your first or last semester.
  • Summer is your first semester: must enroll in a full course of study
  • Summer is your last semester: enroll in the number of credits required to complete the program  - Submit the reduced course load request if less than full course of study

Can I audit a course? 
You cannot count a course you are auditing toward the full course of study requirement. As noted in the catalog, no credit or grade points will be granted. 


I'm defending my thesis/ dissertation this semester. How many credits do I need to enroll in to maintain my status?
You need to enroll in at least 3 credits the semester that you defend, as noted on the School of Graduate Studies website. You will also need to have a Full Time at 3 Credits form on file.

Should I enroll in the grace semester (USU 7777) if I applied for OPT?
You do not need to enroll in the grace semester if you applied for OPT. The grace semester is simply a mechanism to enable you to maintain  your non-immigrant status while working on corrections for your thesis/ dissertation. Participation in OPT provides for your status maintenance.

Can I have an assistantship during the grace semester?
No. As per the general catalog, "the course is not associated with any credits, students who enroll are ineligible for graduate assistantships or subsidized health insurance."

Can I register for only 1 credit for my defense semester? 
Graduate students must enroll in 3 credits for their defense semester to meet the full course of study requirement as per the School of Graduate Studies website:

How many credits do I need if I am a doctoral student who has finished my coursework and only need to work on my dissertation?
We can report to SEVIS you are enrolled in a full course of study if you have a Full Time at 3 Credits (FT3) form on file with the School of Graduate Studies and you enroll in 3 credits for the semester.