International Students

Maintaining International (F-1) Student Status

International students must maintain full-time enrollment status as defined by the University. In mitigating circumstances, students may be authorized to drop below full-time. This is called a Reduce Course Load (RCL). For acceptable RCL mitigating circumstances under Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) regulations please contact the Designated School Official (DSO).

USU defines full-time status as enrolled in no less than six credits per semester for graduate students. International students must be enrolled in two (2) on ground and one (1) online course per semester (refer to your degree plan). If a student is in their last semester and only needs one (1) course to complete their program of study, the course cannot be completed online. Please note that SEVP does not allow a University to count an online course towards full-time status.

International students are expected to adhere to the University attendance requirements for both on-ground and online courses. Students that do not adhere to the University’s attendance policy may have their SEVIS record terminated.

Weekend Classes

Attendance is mandatory for all scheduled weekend classes. Failure to attend may result in immediate withdrawal from the University and SEVIS record terminated. Refer to the University's Attendance and Participation Policy.

Students should refer to the International Student Handbook for more information on maintaining status, policies, and resources available to them as an F-1 visa student. 

Health Insurance

International students are strongly encouraged to purchase health (medical) insurance prior to entering the United States. The University does not provide student health insurance plans.

International Change in Status

In compliance with the SEVP regulations, students must notify the DSO of any changes in status including, but not limited to, change in demographic information, transfer to another college/university, obtaining a social security number, or returning to their home country permanently within ten (10) days. Failure to comply with this requirement may impact students’ F-1 status.

International Transfer-Out Policy

Students requesting a transfer to another college or university prior to completing their program of study with USU must be current on their financial obligations. Students must also work with their DSO to make sure the transfer process is followed and all required documentation is provided: e.g., acceptance letter, school SEVP code.

International Student Vacations

An F-1 student at an academic institution is considered to be in status during vacation. An F-1 student at United States University (USU) is eligible for vacation after they have completed and remain in good academic standing after one (1) academic year. Vacations are limited to two (2) consecutive 8-week sessions per year (365 days) after the completion of at least one (1) academic year. Vacations are not mandatory and students may continue to attend year round.

International Student Payment Policies

International students must submit their session's tuition and fees in full, no later than 10 days prior to the session start in order to participate in class. There are no deferments of payments for tuition and fees.

Effective January 2, 2024

Under SEVP, an applicant must provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover estimated tuition and living expenses while attending the university for an academic year and thereafter.  Students are registered a semester at a time. Therefore, international students must submit their semester's tuition and fee payment no later than 10 days prior to the start of a semester in order to participate in course(s). 

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school” Source: [CFR 2.14.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of a degree program and student must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.

CPT is authorized for one (1) semester and students must apply for CPT no later than two (2) weeks prior to the session in which they intend to participate. For more information about eligibility for CPT please contact the DSO and refer to the International Student Handbook.

Intent to Withdraw or Request Medical Leave

If a student intends to or is thinking about taking a leave or withdrawing they must contact their DSO as soon as possible to discuss options and any impacts to their F-1 status.

International students wanting to withdrawn from the University must submit a course and or program withdrawal form in the student portal.

Requests for leave of absence due to medical reasons must be accompanied by a letter from a licensed physician that clearly indicates that a student is not able to be enrolled in classes in the current semester. Students on an approved medical leave are considered maintaining status under SEVP regulations. While the student is on medical leave, they can remain in the U.S. The authorization period cannot exceed an aggregate of 12-months per program level. For more information regarding the medical leave please contact the DSO.

SEVIS Terminations and Status Violations

When a status violation occurs, the University may be required to terminate a student’s SEVIS record. Termination of a SEVIS record (i.e. an I-20) is serious and can have negative consequences for a student and his/her ability to stay in the U.S. Grounds for termination of a SEVIS record include but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized employment

  • Unauthorized withdrawal from classes

  • Unauthorized drop below full course of study

  • Expulsion and suspension

  • Failure to enroll in classes

In most cases, the termination of a student’s SEVIS record results in the student’s immediate departure from the US. The departure is necessary to avoid more severe consequences. Additionally, in cases of terminations, a student forfeits the 60 day grace period. If your SEVIS record is terminated, there are only two ways to regain your status:

  1. By travel. Exit then re-enter the U.S. with a new I-20.

  2. By reinstatement. Submit a reinstatement application to the U.S. government. An F-1 student is only eligible for reinstatement if all of the following conditions apply to the student:

    • Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement.

    • Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations regulations

    • Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20

    • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment

    • Is not deportable on any other grounds

    • Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS, in detail showing, either that:

    • The violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control OR

    • The violation relates to a reduction in the student’s course load that would have been within a DSO’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student

The DSO will assist students with a reinstatement petition only if 1) all of the conditions above apply and 2) the violation was not preventable. Students who do not meet the above eligibility requirements will need to consult with a U.S. immigration attorney. The DSO will work with you to determine what the best option for you would be.