FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Registration Requirements for International Students

August 21, 2015

From:  Jim Hammerschmidt, PhD, Executive Director, Office of International Services
Subject:  Registration Requirements for International Students

With the arrival of Fall 2015 semester, the Office of International Services would like to provide the following reminders to all department administrators that may work with international students.

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

All international students who are sponsored in F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant visa categories should be reminded of the following items in order to ensure they maintain their immigration status.

In order for international students to maintain their immigration status, they must be registered full time.

Full-Time Enrollment:

All undergraduate students who are enrolled at UIC and sponsored in F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status must be registered for 12 credit hours to be considered full-time.

All graduate students who are enrolled at UIC and sponsored in F-1 or J-1 student status must be registered for at least nine credit hours to be considered a full-time student. Please see the Graduate College’s website for other policies regarding full-time status: http://grad.uic.edu/cms/?pid=1000035.

In addition, information regarding immigration regulations on registration is also available at the OIS website at www.ois.uic.edu.

Graduate students who hold a 50% Graduate, Teaching or Research Assistantship at UIC are eligible to register for eight credit hours to be considered in status for immigration purposes, but would need to register for nine credit hours to be eligible for the CTA U-Pass Ventra Card (full-time status). Students with any other percentage assistantship appointments must register for nine credit hours to be considered in status and full-time.  Students who have a GA, RA, or TA must submit the assistantship letter to OIS so their I-20/DS-2019 reflects their current funding.

All international graduate students who are awarded a fellowship or a Graduate College tuition and service-fee waiver (without an assistantship) must register for twelve credit hours.

ACADEMIC PREPARATORY COURSES

Only one online course (up to 3 credits) can count toward the full-time enrollment requirement. Preparatory courses with the prefix ASP carry no graduation credit and do not count towards establishing an international student as a full-time student for immigration purposes.

International students may take academic preparatory courses and additional online courses during the semester once their full course of study requirement is met.

PROGRAM EXTENSIONS

All international students must request a program extension of their I-20/DS-2019 if their document will be expiring before the end of this semester and they need additional time to complete their academic requirements. To learn the steps on how an international student can extend I-20/DS-2019, please visit the OIS website at: http://www.ois.uic.edu/students/current/extension/.

A program extension can only be requested prior to the end date on their document.

CHANGE OF MAJOR OR DEGREE LEVEL

Students wishing to change their major or degree level must notify OIS once it has been approved by the appropriate academic department and/or college.  OIS will make the necessary updates to their I-20/DS-2019. For more information on how to update their document, visit the OIS web site: http://www.ois.uic.edu/students/current/academics/

J-1 ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION NEEDED

J-1 students must obtain authorization from their program sponsor to engage in up to 20 hours per week of on-campus employment. Once authorized, UIC employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session; this amount includes all other authorized employment. J-1 students may work more than 20 hours per week during official university breaks only (Winter Break, Summer).

J-1 students are required to report all on-campus employment to the Office of International Services (OIS) in 12 month increments. If you currently have J-1 students and working in your department, please remind them to consult with OIS to determine if authorization approval or renewal is needed.

Note: Graduate Assistantships correspond to a percentage of hours to be worked each week:

  • 50% = 20 hours per week
  • 33% = 14-15 hours per week
  • 25% = 10 hours per week

INTERNSHIPS AND CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING

All international students sponsored in either F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant visa status who are planning on any type of educational experience outside the classroom, whether it is paid or unpaid, must be sure to have the proper authorization before they begin. Visit the OIS website to learn more about applying for Curricular Practical Training
(CPT) at http://www.ois.uic.edu/students/current/employment/.

F-2 DEPENDENT STUDY
F-2 dependents of F-1 students in the United States may now study part-time in any certified program at an SEVP-certified school at the post-secondary level, as long as it does not amount to what regulations define as full-time study for an F-1. F-2 dependents can still participate full time in vocational or recreational studies, such as hobbies. F-2 minors must still comply with compulsory education requirements in attending kindergarten through 12th grade. However, an F-2 dependent who wants to enroll full time in a course of post-secondary academic or vocational study must apply for and obtain approval to change non-immigrant classification to F-1 before beginning their full-time study.

 

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office at ois@uic.edu or 312-996-3121.