F-1 Visa Regulations

This page contains more detailed information on maintaining your F-1 visa status than is found in the Summary of Requirements.

UMass Dartmouth is authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to admit students for study in the F-1 student visa category.  International students eligible for the F-1 student visa are admitted either through the undergraduate or graduate admissions office.  When the student has submitted the required personal, academic, and financial information, the admissions office asks the ISSC to create an initial I-20.  The I-20 form enables the student to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. consulate abroad (usually in the student’s home country.)

Once admitted to the United States in F-1 status, an international student must meet certain obligations in order to maintain permission to study in the U.S.  The student is considered to be maintaining status if he or she is making normal progress toward completing a [full] course of study.  All international students must comply with reporting requirements of the Student and Exchange visitor Information System (SEVIS) throughout the period of study. Click here for an explanation of SEVIS and here for an explanation of the SEVIS fee.

In addition, the student must:

  • Have a passport that is kept valid at all times, unless exempt from the passport requirement;
  • Attend the school that issued the I-20 used to obtain the visa;
  • Continue to carry a full course of study as defined by the program: usually, no fewer than 12 credits at the undergraduate level or in the law school, and no fewer than 9 credits at the graduate level;
    • A special note about online courses:  U.S. Immigration regulations require that only ONE online three-credit class per semester can be used to count toward the minimum number of credits needed for full-time enrollment.  If you need only one course to complete your program of studies, that course CANNOT be online or distance learning. 

  • Follow certain procedures to extend the period of study if necessary for completion of a degree program;
  • Follow certain procedures to continue from one educational level to another (for example from the bachelor's to the master's level) at the same school;
  • Follow certain procedures to transfer out of UMass Dartmouth to another school;
  • Limit on-campus employment to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session;
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization;


Updated 11/30/2016