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Maintenance of Status for F&J Students

Plagiarism can result in an academic or judicial dismissal or suspension - A dismissal or suspension from the university will result in the termination of F-1 or J-1 status. Please familiarize yourself with the university's Academic Integrity Guidelines.

International students are required to maintain full-time status at all times.

Full-time status at UMass Lowell is determined as follows:

  • 9 credits for graduate students
  • 9 credits for graduate certificate students
  • 12 credits for undergraduate students

International students must be registered for “required” work towards completion of degree.

International students may only take one online course per semester.

All reductions of course load must be pre-approved by the ISSO.

Student cannot exceed 20 hours of work per week during the academic semester. The 20-hour limit refers to the combined total of both on and off-campus work.

All off-campus work must be pre-approved by the International Students and Scholars Office and a new Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 will be generated before a student is legally authorized to commence his/her off-campus employment. Occasionally, additional authorization may be needed from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

Any extended leave for a period longer than one week during the academic semester (i.e., between the start and end dates of an academic term as determined by the academic calendar) must be pre-approved by the International Students & Scholars Office. This includes leaves for the purpose of travel, medical reasons, military, academic discipline, etc.

Students must maintain an active passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond their I-20 or DS-2019.

A note on F-2/J-2 dependent visa holders:

F-2 dependent visa holders may enroll in less than a full course of study at an SEVP accredited institution of higher education. This means that F-2 dependent visa holders can study at a College or University while in the US, but not on a full-time basis. F-2 visa holders are permitted to engage in a full-time course of study from the K-12 grade levels, though. F-2 dependent visa holders are not eligible for work authorization in the US, neither on-campus nor off-campus.

J-2 dependent visa holders are permitted to engage in either part-time or full-time study at an SEVP accredited institution of higher education. J-2 visa holders are also eligible to apply for work authorization from USCIS upon arrival to the US, and only if they can evidence that any money earned through said work will be supplemental to any money earned as part of the J-1 visa holder’s exchange visitor program. Please consult an ISSO advisor upon arrival to the US should a J-2 visa holder be interested in applying for work authorization through USCIS.

These pages include information you may find helpful in maintaining your status. If you need further help please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

A note on the Public Charge Rule

Under a new regulation, applicants for adjustment of status will undergo a closer review of their personal circumstances to determine whether they have used “or” are likely to need certain federal public benefits in the future, though this could also affect those in F-1, J-1, H-1B, O-1, or TN status seeking or who are likely to use these benefits.

Please find more information on the Public Charge Rule on our Immigration Updates Blog.

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