Maintaining F-1 or J-1 status
- Continued Matriculation
- Biographical Information Updates
- Grace Period
- Completion Date
- Unlawful Presence Time
- Full-Time Status
- Extended Leaves
- F-2/J-2 Dependents
- Public Charge Rule
SEVIS is an abbreviation for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is an electronic tracking database. It requires US academic institutions to maintain and report certain information pertaining to international students and research scholars who are on F-1 or J-1 status. There are particular monitoring and reporting requirements pertaining to: enrollment status, changes in academic discipline, country of citizenship, address changes, changes in funding, work authorization status, and more.
- Our office is required to register each international student with SEVIS within the first 30 days of each semester. We are required to certify that you are maintaining the required registration status. All students are required to be full-time unless they have been approved to be on reduced course load by the International Students & Scholars Office.
- Part of SEVIS registration requires that we also confirm your US address and permanent home country address information. Be sure to keep your SiS address information current at all times. Our office receives weekly updates from SiS on all international student address corrections to be entered into your SEVIS record. All address changes must be reported to SEVIS within 10 days of your address change.
- All students are required to be in the US by the first day of each academic session. Students are not permitted to arrive in the US late without the permission of our office and that of their academic department. This is especially true for students who are the recipients of a Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship. Students are not permitted to take extensive leaves during a semester for a period longer than one week without the permission of the International Students & Scholars Office.
International Students are not permitted to register simply to file an incomplete. If all the student has remaining is to make up an incomplete, the student must complete it prior to the first day of each academic session. An incomplete does not equal a course in order to maintain full-time status.
- The completion date for coursework (non-thesis) students is typically the last day of exams of the term in which they will complete their program.
- The completion date for graduate thesis or PhD students is the date by which the student has finished all post-defense revisions, which is normally from 2-4 weeks beyond the thesis/dissertation defense date.
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. Please review our Leave of Absence page for more information.
Students must maintain an active passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond their I-20 or DS-2019.
f2j2A 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.
publicchargeA 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.