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F-1 Student Visa

Maintaing Your Status

Full-time Enrollment

Enroll for a full course of study each fall and spring semester. Graduate students need nine credits and undergraduates need 12; if you need to take less than these credits, a Reduced Courseload Request form (RCL).

On-Campus Employment

The maximum for when school is in session is 20 hours per week and, when the University is on a vacation, the maximum number of hours per week is 40. All nonimmigrant visa holders (i.e. not in possession of a green card or a U.S. passport) must fill out their tax (I-9) paperwork in ISSS only.

Transferring To Another School

To transfer from Old Dominion to another school, you must complete a Transfer Out Form and follow the procedures detailed on it.

Keep I-20 Updated

Request a new I-20 form if ANY change occurs to the information on the form, including the amount of your graduate assistantship. If you need to extend, all documentation requirements are listed on the link above. Do not let your form expire to significant immigration problems.

Maintain the Three Required Addresses

All of the following addresses must be updated within 5 days to ensure your visa status is kept current.

  • SEVIS Domestic (U.S.) Address: click on the link to submit the change to ISSS so your address can be made current in SEVIS and on LeoOnline; most probably this will be the same as your Permanent address on LeoOnline (unless all correspondence is sent to your sponsor).
  • SEVIS Permanent Foreign Address: click on the link to submit the change to ISSS so your address can be made current in SEVIS and on LeoOnline.
  • Permanent Address on LeoOnline: click on the link to go to LeoOnline so you can update the "Permanent" address, which the University uses for mailings; most probably this will be the same as your SEVIS Domestic Address (unless all correspondence is sent to your sponsor)

Maintain a Valid Passport

Your passport should be valid for at least six months into the future. Contact your embassy at least nine months before your passport expires to ask about renewal procedures.


F-1 student visa holders will need to submit tax in order to maintain their status--even if they do not work. Be sure to read more information about this important requirement.

Stay Informed

Read e-mails and updates sent to the ISSlist. Always feel free to contact ISSS if you have questions or need clarification.

Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time status for students on F-1 visas is defined as completion of a certain number of credits 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester for undergraduate students, 9 credit hours each fall and spring for graduate students.

Please see the Reduced Course Load Request (RCL) to see in which instances ISSS may grant approval for few credits.

Situations that do NOT allow a student to drop below full-time and maintain status include:

Completing Incompletes from Previous Semesters

The credits for incompletes can be counted only for the semester in which you are registered for the class.

Fear of Failing a Class or Receiving a Low Grade

You are encouraged to speak with the professor and your advisor to work on strategies to help you do as well as possible in the course.

"Averaging" Credits

Undergraduate students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Therefore, if you take 15 credit hours in, for example, the fall semester, you couldn't take just 9 credits...you'd need to take 12 credits.

Financial Problems

Immigration assumes that, because you have provided financial documentation that you will have sufficient funding for your current program. If there has been a severe and unforseen change in your finances, please make an appointment with your advisor in ISSS.

In all cases, ISSS must approve an RCL before you register and before you withdraw from any class and, thus, drop below your minimum required number of credits.