Visa Status: F-1 & J-1
Rules for Maintaining Status
- Enroll in a full course of study each term (See below for Enrollment Requirements.)
- Do not work without authorization (See Employment pages for more details.)
- Update your address in Banweb within 10 days of moving to a new address.
- Inform OISSS of any changes related to your status.
- Keep your immigration documents valid.
Important Immigration Documents
Your passport be valid (not expired) during your entire stay in the US. To renew or replace your passport, contact your country’s consulate in the US.
Your visa gives you permission to enter the US, and it is the only document that can expire while you are here. You cannot obtain a new visa while in the U.S. If you have an expired visa and plan to travel outside the U.S., you should contact ISSS before you leave. You should also plan to apply for a visa at a US Consulate while you are outside the United States before you return.
This is your arrival and departure record through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If you arrive by air or sea, you will receive an admission stamp in your passport, and your online I-94 record will be updated. If you arrive by land, CBP will issue a paper I-94 card and staple it in your passport. You can print your online I-94 record at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
I-20 (F-1 students)
This document is issued for you by PSU and proves your eligibility for F-1 status. You must ensure that it is accurate at all times, because it is a record of your F-1 status. For this reason, you should also keep every I-20 ISSS issues for you. If any information on this form changes you must obtain a new I-20 from ISSS. (See Updating Your I-20 below.)
DS-2019 (J-1 students)
This document will be provided to you by Portland State University or your primary program sponsors and proves your J-1 status and must be kept up-to-date at all times.
Enrollment Requirements and Exceptions
International students must successfully complete a full-time class load every term, which is defined as follows:
- 12 credits each quarter for Undergraduate students
- 12 credits each quarter for Post-Bac students
- 9 credits each quarter for Graduate students
Only one online course may count toward your full-time enrollment per term.
Speak with your international student advisor before withdrawing from any course if it will result in a drop below full-time credit!
International students may be graded on the normal A-F grading scale or Pass/Not Pass (P/NP).
International students may not receive the following grades: AU (Audit), W (Withdraw), X (No basis for grade).
If you receive an F (Fail) or NP (No Pass), or an I (Incomplete) grade, it is advisable for you to talk to your international advisor about how this grade might impact your status.
International students may be simultaneously enrolled at two USCIS approved institutions. Before co-enrolling it is advisable that you speak with an international advisor.
Co-enrolled students must carry at least half of their credits at PSU.
You must provide proof of enrollment from the other institution during the first week of the term by submitting the Co-Enrollment Schedule e-form in WorldLink.
You must also submit an unofficial grade report at the end of each term by submitting the Co-Enrollment Final Grades e-form in WorldLink.
J-1: International students may be simultaneously enrolled at two USCIS approved institutions. J-1 students must enroll full-time at PSU but may be approved to take an additional class at another university or college. Before co-enrolling it is advisable that you speak with an international advisor.
Full-time enrollment is required for international students. Under-enrollment can only be authorized in the following unique circumstances. Do not drop your classes until you have received approval from ISSS!
Reduced Courseload for Academic Reasons
One term of under-enrollment may be authorized for compelling academic reasons. You must discuss your situation with an ISSS advisor to determine if your situation meets the specific criteria.
Reduced Courseload for Medical Reasons
ISSS advisors may authorize up to 12 months of under-enrollment for medical reasons documented by a medical doctor, osteopath, or licensed clinical psychologist. If you are experiencing serious medical or psychological issues, speak with your ISSS advisor.
Reduced Courseload in Final Term
You may be under-enrolled during your final term of study. You must notify ISSS by the end of the first week of your final term using the Reduced Courseload Request form in WorldLink.
Reduced Courseload during Graduate Thesis/Dissertation
Graduate students who have completed all your required coursework may enroll in fewer than 9 credits while you complete your thesis, dissertation, or final project. You must submit a Reduced Courseload Request e-form in WorldLink that is approved by your academic advisor to ISSS by end of the first week of each term.
International students are allowed an annual vacation quarter during each academic year of full-time study. During the annual vacation term, students may remain in the United States without enrolling in full-time credits.
You are eligible for a vacation term if you meet both of these requirements:
- You have been enrolled full-time for at least three consecutive terms prior to your vacation term.
- You will be enrolled full-time for at least one more term after your vacation term.
You may not take a vacation term in the final quarter of your program of study.
Summer is automatically considered your annual vacation term for degree-seeking students studying at PSU (unless Summer is your first term at PSU). You do not have to make a request for your annual vacation term in Summer.
If you choose to enroll full-time during the Summer term, you may choose to request an Alternate Vacation Term for Fall, Winter, or Spring. You must meet the other requirements for vacation term listed above.
IELP students do not receive an automatic vacation term. You always must request an Alternate Vacation Term. You must also meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
Submit the Vacation Term Request in WorldLink
I-20 Extensions and Updates
There are many situations which can require an update to the information on your I-20.
Your I-20 has a “Program End Date.” If you will not complete your degree program by this date, you must apply for a program extension BEFORE that date. Failure to do so will result in a status violation.
When you apply for the extension, you will be required to show proof of finances for the additional time to complete your degree. Your academic advisor will also need to confirm how many terms you have left to graduate.
To apply for an extension, please complete the "I-20 Extension Request" forms in WorldLink.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
You may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if you will graduate at the end of the current term. OPT is work authorization which allows you to remain in the U.S. to gain practical experience after completing your degree. Please keep in mind that you will to receive reminder e-mails about the expiration of your I-20, even if you apply for OPT since the OPT takes place after the expiration date of your I-20. If you have applied for OPT and are receiving these reminder e-mails, you may disregard them.
Change of Educational Level
You may apply for admission to a new degree program at Portland State in order to continue your education and status as an F-1 student. Once you are admitted to the new program, you will need to submit new documentation of the source and amount of your financial support to the Office of International Student & Scholar Services so that a new I-20 may be issued for that program of study. The new I-20 must be issued before the end of your 60-day grace period, and you must begin the new program of study no more than 5 months after the expiration date on your I-20.
You may apply for admission to a new degree program at another DHS-approved school in the U.S. to continue your education and status as an F-1 student. Once you are admitted to the new school, you may request that your SEVIS record be transferred from Portland State to your new school. Your SEVIS record must be transferred to the new school before the end of your 60-day grace period, and you must begin the new program of study no more than 5 months after the expiration date on your I-20. You may find more information about the SEVIS Transfer here.
Depart the US
If you will complete your degree program by the expiration date indicated on your I-20, please keep in mind that you will have a 60-day grace period following that date during which you remain in valid F-1 status. If you choose not to pursue any of the options above, you will be required to depart the U.S. no later than the end of your 60-day grace period.
If you have any questions or concerns about the extension process or these options for continuing your F-1 student status and how they might be utilized in your situation, please feel free to contact your assigned advisor or to visit Karl Miller Center 660.