Maintain Visa Status

Students are responsible for learning and complying with the terms of their visa.

Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions about maintaining your status.

The U.S. Department of State issues you an F-1 visa to pursue an education in the United States. It is the expectation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) as well as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) departments of U.S. Homeland Security that you maintain a full course of study to ensure that you are progressing towards completing your education. If for some reason you believe you cannot maintain a full course of study, you must contact us immediately to see if you are eligible for a reduced course load.
A full course of study at ERAU is 12 hours per semester as an undergraduate and 6 hours of credit per semester as a graduate.
Those students registered for a full-time co-op/internship are considered full-time university students. For the internship to be considered full time, it must count for 3 credits.
No, summer courses are optional; the summer is considered a break.
Only one online course can count towards a full course of study per semester. So, a student could take three hours online and 9 hours of on-ground/in-person classes to maintain their full course of study.

Online or distance courses are defined by the Department of Homeland Security as a course that is primarily offered through technology and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examinations, or other purposes integral to completion of the class.

A student who cannot maintain a full course load may ask the Office of Immigration Services to assist in applying for a reduced course load. There are limited number of reasons for granting a reduced course load they include the following reasons:

  • Illness or Medical Condition: a written doctor’s note is required
  • Academic Difficulties
    • Improper course level placement
    • Initial difficulty with reading requirements
    • Initial difficulty with the English Language
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • When less than 12 hours is needed to complete the final term
An RCL for academic difficulties can only be granted in the first academic semester after arriving to the United States and can only be used the one time. Students are expected to enroll for a full course of study the next semester.
First, you will need to discuss the change of major with your academic advisor to determine if the change is appropriate. Once the change has been made, you will need to make an appointment with the Office of Immigration Services as soon as possible. During the meeting, we will discuss if this will cause a need for a program extension, and we will assist you with updating your I-20. If you change your major or program of study, you must ensure that you do not withdraw from your current courses to maintain your status.
You should first contact a representative from International & Graduate Admissions to assist you with the application process. Once you have been accepted to your desired program and your bachelor's or master's degree has been conferred (applicable to current ERAU students), please make an appointment and bring your acceptance letter and your current I-20. You will also need to ensure that your financial support documents have been added to your file. You can do this by fully completing your admissions checklist, found in Campus Solutions, including submitting your financial affidavit.
You should first contact a representative from International & Graduate Admissions to assist you with the application process. Once you have been accepted to your desired program and your bachelor's or master's degree has been conferred (applicable to current ERAU students), please make an appointment and bring your acceptance letter and your current I-20. You will also need to ensure that your financial support documents have been added to your file. You can do this by fully completing your admissions checklist, found in Campus Solutions, including submitting your financial affidavit.
Transferring to another school is possible. Please schedule a meeting with the Office of Immigration Services; be sure that you bring your acceptance letter from the university to which you intend to transfer as well as any transfer in form they may provide you. Keep in mind that transferring in the middle of the semester could cause you to be out of status for failing to maintain a full course of study.
No, F-1 status is based on duration of stay. As long as you remain in the United Sates and maintain a full course of study, you may stay in the U.S. with an expired visa. However, if you chose to leave the country for vacation, etc., you will not be readmitted to the U.S. until you renew your visa.
If you’re found guilty and suspended from classes, you will not be able to maintain full-time status which means you will have to go home.
If you get arrested for DUI and you have a F1 or J1, the U.S. government will revoke your Visa regardless of being found guilty. Once your visa is revoked you must leave the country.