Maintaining Student Status / Current Students

Maintaining Status - Current Students

As an F or J student, it is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your immigration status during your stay in the United States. Any violation of the immigration regulations could jeopardize your status and legal stay in the U.S.

Below are key considerations about maintaining status for current students with links to more information. If you have any questions, contact an International Student Advisor.

Keep your Immigration Documents Safe and Valid

Passport: Your foreign passport must be valid at the time you enter the U.S. and throughout your studies at CSUF. Failure to do so is a violation of your immigration status. If your passport will expire, contact your Country’s Consulate or Embassy for the renewal procedure.

U.S. Visa: Your U.S. visa must be valid upon entry into the U.S. It can, however, expire while you are in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining your legal status. If your visa is lost or stolen, refer to the State Department Guide and follow the steps immediately so that the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that issued your visa is aware of the issue and can assist you in the future. 

I-20 (F-1 Students): Your I-20 must be valid at all times and cannot expire if you have not completed your program. If you lose your I-20, fill out the I-20 Reprint Request form and ISS will reissue your I-20. If your I-20 will expire before you complete your studies, submit a Program Extension Request at least two weeks before it expires allow time for ISS processing. You must extend before the deadline; extensions cannot be given after your I-20 expires. 

DS-2019 (J-1 Students): Your DS-2019 must be valid at all times and cannot expire if you have not completed your program.

I-94: Your I-94 along with your I-20 or DS-2019 are the most important documents in establishing your legal status in the U.S. The I-94 "Arrival/Departure Record" shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct. You can obtain your I-94 by going to the I-94 website. If you cannot find the record, contact ISS for further assistance.

Maintain Valid Health Insurance

You are required by the California State University system to maintain health insurance during your program of study. If you are a non-government sponsored student, you must purchase health insurance through JCB Insurance Solutions, Inc. Visit our Health Insurance page for more information. Failure to have the appropriate health insurance can result in a termination of your immigration record.

Keep Your Local Address and Contact Information Up To Date

You must maintain a valid local U.S. address, phone number and email address with the ISS office at all times. If you change any of the above, you must report this to ISS within 10 calendar days by logging into Titan Online and updating your SEVIS Domestic (SEVIS D) Address and/or phone number in your Student Center. For detailed instructions, refer to How to Update your Personal Information in Your Student Center

Enroll in a Full Course Load

Undergraduate Students: You must enroll and complete at least 12 units during the spring and fall semesters to be considered full-time. If you plan to enroll below 12 units, you must first file an application for Reduced Course Load (RCL).

Graduate Students: You must enroll and complete at least 9 units during the fall and spring semesters be considered full-time, with exception of a few academic programs (see below). If you plan to enroll below full time enrollment, you must first file an application for Reduced Course Load (RCL) and receive ISS approval.

If you are enrolled in the following graduate programs, you must enroll in at least 6 units during fall and spring semesters to be considered full-time. No reduced course load application is required unless you drop below 6 units.

  • Biology - M.S.
  • Civil Engineering - M.S.
  • Computer Engineering - M.S.
  • Computer Science - M.S.
  • Educational Administration - M.S.
  • Education (Higher Education) - M.S.
  • Education (Reading) - M.S.
  • Education (Secondary Ed) - M.S.
  • Electrical Engineering - M.S.
  • Mathematics (Applied) - M.A.
  • Mathematics (Teaching) - M.A.
  • Mechanical Engineering - M.S.
  • Music - M.M.
  • Statistics - M.S.

If you are enrolled in the following graduate programs, you must enroll in at least 8 units during fall and spring semesters to be considered full-time. No reduced course load application is required unless you drop below 8 units.

  • Educational Leadership - Ed.D** - 8 units every semester; 6 units in last two semesters
  • D.N.P. Doctor of Nursing Practice - 8 units every semester
  • Nursing Leadership - M.S.N. (9 units for first 2 semesters; 8 units for last 2 semesters) - 8 units every semester


Graduate students and GS700: International graduate students who have successfully completed all required courses for their graduate degree and are needing additional time to complete culminating experience such as thesis, project, comprehensive exams, combination of thesis and comprehensive exam, or combination of project and comprehensive exam are required to enroll in GS700. Although enrollment in GS700 is equivalent to zero unit, international graduate students enrolled in GS700 are considered to be meeting the full course load requirement to maintain status. Permission for Reduced Course Load is not required while enrolled in GS700.

For GS 700 eligibility and enrollment permission, contact your graduate advisor. For more information contact Graduate Studies

Get Approval to Be Enrolled Under Full-Time (Reduced Course Load)

If you plan to enroll in less than the required number of units you must first file an application for Reduced Course Load (RCL). You are strongly encouraged to submit the form before the end of the first week of the semester. If your request for an RCL is denied, you must enroll in a full course load. Enrolling under full-time without submitting an RCL form may result in you falling out of F-1 or J-1 status.

Get Approval Before Withdrawing

Your Grade Point Average (GPA) is an important measure of your academic standing at CSUF so you may be tempted to withdraw or stop attending classes instead of receiving a failing grade. However, receiving a W (withdrawal) for a course does not count towards your enrolled units and may negatively affect your immigration status. 

If you are having difficulty with any class for whatever reason (personal, financial, academic, etc.), you must discuss your situation with an ISS advisor before you decide to withdraw or stop attending class.

Limit Online Course Enrollment

F-1 Students & J-1 Degree-Seeking Students: F-1 and J-1 degree-seeking students are permitted to take only one "web" or "internet" course per semester to count towards the required full-time enrollment. Hybrid classes, which are a mix of in person and remote class meetings, do not count as online courses. If you have any questions about what is and is not restricted, please contact ISS. If you exceed the maximum number of online course units in a term, your immigration record is subject to termination.

J-1 Exchange Students: J-1 exchange students are not eligible to enroll in online courses.

Government Sponsored Students: Check with your sponsor if you have any other online course enrollment restrictions based on your scholarship.

Get Approval Before Taking Classes at Another School

You must receive permission from the ISS office before taking additional classes at another SEVP-approved school. Submit a Letter Request for “Enrolling at Another School” if you plan to take a class outside of CSUF. You must enroll in a majority of your coursework at CSUF to be eligible to enroll at another school. Additionally, you must submit a Reduced Course Load for Concurrent Enrollment in order for these units to be counted as part of your full course load. 

Avoid Academic Probation and Academic Disqualification

Academic probation or academic disqualification may result in negative terminations of your immigration record. If you are placed on academic probation or are academically disqualified, please contact an ISS advisor immediately as your F-1 or J-1 status may be affected.

Get Approval Before Working or Interning

You must receive approval from the ISS office before working or interning on or off campus. Refer to our Employment webpage for the different types of authorization and how to apply for them. If you work without receiving the proper permission, the ISS office may terminate your immigration record and you will lose your status to be in the United States and study at CSUF.

Get Approval Before Traveling Outside of the U.S.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S., you must have a valid travel signature on the I-20/DS-2019 in order to re-enter the U.S. Fill out the Travel Signature Request at least two weeks before you leave the U.S. to allow the ISS office adequate time to process your request. If you travel outside the U.S. and try to re-enter on an expired travel signature, U.S. Customs and Border Protection may deny you entry at the border and you may be forced to return to your home country.