Immigration Regulations

The following information is designed to inform international students at EMU about USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) visa regulations and policies. Friends, family, students and community members may offer you advice about immigration status and visa rules. However, before making a decision to change your course of study, transfer to another institution, travel outside the US, or accept employment, you should seek advice from the ISS office. Remember, it is your responsibility to comply with all existing US government rules and regulations as they apply to you. If your have questions or concerns, please contact the ISA.

Disclaimer: US immigration laws are very complex. This information is designed specifically for international students at EMU. The ISS office attempts to keep the information updated but does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy. If there is any question, please contact the ISS office.

Full-Time Status

All students in F or J status are required to maintain a full course of study each fall and spring semester. A full course of study at EMU is defined as carrying 12 credits at the undergraduate level or 9 credits at the graduate level. Any deviation from this credit-hour requirement must be presented to the International Student Advisor prior to the start of the semester.

EMU is required to report to immigration through SEVIS when an international student is enrolled for less than full-time study. In some cases, students can apply for a Reduced Course Load , if the student has a documented health problem that limits their ability to pursue a full course of study, or a student is experiencing academic difficulties based on English language requirements or unfamiliar with American teaching methods. Exception is also granted for the last semester of study when you may need less than 12 credits to fulfill requirements for graduation. You are required to receive approval before you drop below full-time status. The ISA will document the reduced course load in SEVIS.

Make Normal Progress towards Completing a Course of Study

All students in F or J status are required to complete their academic programs in a timely manner. Extensions of an F or J status beyond the initial period indicated on an I-20 or DS-2019 may be granted for specific academic and/or medical reasons. No extensions are possible in the case of time lost due to suspension. You will need to complete the Request for Extension form.

Maintaining F-1 Student Status

You must do the following to remain in the U.S. lawfully:

  • Maintain a valid passport valid at all times.
  • Attend the school that you are authorized to attend.
  • Pursue afull course of study(undergraduate full time study is 12 semester hours and graduate full-time study is 9 semester hours) and make normal progress towards completing the course of study.
  • Apply for extension of stay before expiration of present I-20.
  • Follow procedures to continue from one educational level of study to another (i.e. undergraduate to masters).
  • Follow proper procedures to transfer to another school
  • Limit on-campus employment to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment, including paid internships, unless you have specific written authorization from the ISS office or USCIS.
  • Notify the ISS office within 10 days of any change of address

To legally remain in the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must also have a current I-20 which corresponds to your level, field and period of study. Be aware of the information on your I-20 and keep it current! Failure to comply with these regulations will result in the loss of your F-1 student status.

Maintaining J-1 Student Status

You must do the following to remain in the U.S. lawfully:

  • Maintain a valid passport valid at all times.
  • Attend the school that you are authorized to attend.
  • Pursue a full course of study(undergraduate full time study is 12 semester hours and graduate full-time study is 9 semester hours) and make normal progress towards completing the course of study.
  • Maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. Federal law requires that those on a J visa maintain appropriate health insurance.
  • Apply for extension of stay before expiration of present DS-2019.
  • Follow procedures to continue from one educational level of study to another (i.e. undergraduate to masters).
  • Follow proper procedures to transfer to another school.
  • Limit on-campus employment to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment, including paid internships, unless you have specific written authorization from the ISS office or USCIS.
  • Notify the ISS office within 10 days of any change of address

To legally remain in the U.S. as a J-1 student, you must also have a current DS-2019 which corresponds to your level, field and period of study. Be aware of the information on your DS-2019 and keep it current! Failure to comply with these regulations will result in the loss of your J-1 student status.