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Maintaining Legal F-1 and J-1 Student Status

Legal Responsibilities Required to Maintain Student Status

International students should be aware of and comply fully with the following USCIS regulations and University of Hartford policies and procedures:

Immigration Documents

  • You must maintain a valid passport at all times.
  • You must maintain a valid, unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 Form at all times. This includes an I-20 or DS-2019 Form with the correct level and major, current funding, and correct personal information.

Full-Time Enrollment

  • You must be enrolled for your courses by the beginning of each semester. The International Center is required to report underenrollment to the USCS within 21 days of the end of the registration period. Any student who is not enrolled will be reported and will be considered out of status.
  • You must enroll in and attend classes. If you plan on taking a semester off other than summer, you must obtain prior approval from the International Center.
  • Full time is defined as 12 credits per semester for undergraduates, 9 credits per semester for Master’s and 6 credits per semester for PhD, Artist Diploma students.
  • You must attend the college or university listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Prior approval from the International Center is needed if you plan to take classes at another school. If you dual enroll, you must take the majority of your credits per semester at the University of Hartford.
  • You must complete a full course of study during normal enrollment periods (fall and spring semesters).
  • If you are enrolled in a program that requires the completion of a thesis or recital and you have completed ALL course requirements, you must register for thesis or recital "continuation" each semester. You must insure that your I-20 or DSP 2019 remain valid for the extension period. You must have the approval of your department chairperson and the International Center.

Program Extension

  • If you cannot complete your program of study as expected and need additional time for completion, you must have the approval of your academic advisor and the International Center and complete the "Request to Extend Program Form."
  • You must apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Extension requests should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the I-20 or DS-2019.

OnLine Courses

Reduced Course Load

  • If you will not be enrolled full-time, you must receive prior approval from the International Center. You and your academic advisor must complete the "Reduced Course Load Form" and submit it to the International Center prior to dropping below a full course load.
  • Reduced course load options are restricted as follows:
    • You can only have reduced course load for academic difficulty for one semester per degree.
    • You can have a reduced course load for medical reasons for two semesters per degree (12 months). Medical reasons must be substantiated by a United States medical doctor or a U.S. board certified psychologist.
    • You can have a reduced course load in your last semester before graduating if you need less than a full course load to graduate.

Change of Address or Name

  • You must report any change of address or residence to the International Center within 10 days of the change. This information will then be sent electronically to DHS.
  • If you change your name, you must report it to the Office of the Registrar and the International Center in person and provide legal documentation that reflects the name change. If the name(s) of your dependents change, please report this to the International Center along with documentation of the name change.

Change of Major, Degree or Financial Sponsor

  • You must obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 if you change your academic program from one degree level to another (e.g., from bachelor’s to master’s level), or one major/field of study to another (e.g. from chemical engineering to physics). You must also obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 if your source of funding changes (e.g. from scholarship to parents).

Travel Outside the US

  • Prior to traveling outside the U.S. make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 has been endorsed within the last five months by the International Center.

F-2 Dependents

  • If you wish to bring dependents in F-2 or J-2 status, you may request an I-20 or DS-2019 from the International Center. You must compete the "Dependent Request Form," and include a copy of your marriage certificate and/or your child's birth certificate.


  • You are NOT allowed to work off campus without authorization. F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and more hours when classes are not in session. J-1 students are only allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week with their J-1 program sponsor’s authorization. Students may be allowed to work off campus with appropriate authorization. Click here for on-campus employment regulations.


  • If you intend to transfer to another educational institution, you must notify the International Center in advance of this transfer by completing the Transfer Out Form and meeting with an International Center advisor.

Withdrawal from School

  • If you need to withdraw from classes, or are asked to leave the university, you must report this to the International Center. If you report to the International Center prior to your withdrawal, you will have 15 days to leave the United States. If you do not report to the International Center, your status ends immediately.

Grace Period

  • The normal grace period to remain in the U.S. following degree/program completion is 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.

PLEASE CHECK YOUR UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD E-MAIL REGULARLY. It is an important source of University and International Center information.