U.S. immigration regulations require F-1 and J-1 international students to be enrolled for a full course load each semester. ISS is required to confirm and report that all international students maintain full-time enrollment throughout the semester. Immigration regulations only allow limited academic or medical reasons for reduced enrollment. Any reduction in course load below full-time must be authorized in advance by ISS.

Students who drop below full-time without authorization from ISS would face serious consequences to their F-1 or J-1 status, including termination of the SEVIS record and I-20/DS-2019.

If you have any questions regarding your enrollment, please schedule an appointment with an immigration specialist at this link.

Remember that most requests can be completed by logging into your ISSDeacs account.

Reduced Course Load (RCL) Requirements

Immigration regulations permit exceptions to full-time enrollment in very limited circumstances and only with prior approval from ISS. Students will be considered for a reduced enrollment based on the reasons listed below. To be considered for an exception, RCL requests must be submitted to ISS through your ISSDeacs account as soon as possible.  It can take up to two weeks to review documentation and process this request. RCL requests made after the last day of class for the semester the RCL is needed can not be considered nor approved per immigration regulations.

If you have any questions regarding RCLs, please schedule an appointment with an immigration specialist at this link.

Leave of Absence or Continuing Enrollment Status (CES)

A student who needs to pause their enrollment for a semester or more may request a leave of absence or continuous enrollment status.  The process is different for undergraduate and graduate students.  Before withdrawing or canceling enrollment, the following steps must be taken.