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OIS NEWS - 1/14/2020

Spring 2020 International Student Status Maintenance Reminders

As we begin the spring 2020 semester the Office of International Services would like to provide the following reminders regarding international student immigration status maintenance. Questions regarding the information described below should be directed to OIS via email (, phone (312) 996-3121 or during Open Advising. Good luck to all students in the upcoming semester!


Please note: F-1 and J-1 students who have completed their academic program and entered into a period of Optional Practical Training or Academic Training may disregard this message. Students in special programs such as CMBA, UIC Global or other contract programs who enroll for classes under the direction of their program should consult with their program advisors regarding their specific enrollment requirements and employment eligibility.


Full-Time Enrollment Required by Friday, Jan. 24

All F-1 and J-1 international students must be enrolled full-time by the spring 2020 add/drop deadline, Friday, Jan. 24 and maintain full-time enrollment for the duration of the semester in order to maintain status. Please visit the OIS website for a definition of international student full-time enrollment requirements at UIC.


Limit Online and ASP Course Enrollment 

F-1 students may only count one online course (up to 3 credits) toward the full-time enrollment requirement. J-1 students may not count any online courses toward their full-time enrollment requirement. Academic Skills Program (ASP) courses do not count toward the full-time enrollment requirement for either visa category. For more details, please see the OIS website.


Full-Time Enrollment Exception for GAs with 50% Appointments

F-1 and J-1 students holding Graduate Assistantships at 50% may enroll for 8 credits during the semester they hold their assistantship and still be considered full-time for immigration purposes. To be considered full-time for immigration purposes at 8 credits, students must submit a copy of their 50% Graduate Assistantship letter to OIS by email ( or in-person to the front desk by Jan. 24. Please note that other UIC offices, such as the U-Pass program, may not consider students full-time at 8 credit hours.


Full-Time Enrollment Exception for Students in their Final Semester

F-1 and J-1 students in their final semester of study are allowed to enroll below full-time provided they are enrolled for what is required in order to complete their program. Students in their final semester must submit a letter from their department confirming that the current term is their final semester of study and the number of credits remaining for completion of the degree. Letters must be on department letterhead and signed. Final semester letters should be submitted to OIS by email ( or in-person to the front desk no later than Jan. 24.


J-1 On-Campus Employment Reporting

J-1 students must report on-campus employment to OIS so that the work may be authorized and recorded on their SEVIS record. Students should submit a copy of their UIC assistantship or job offer letter along with a completed J-1 On-Campus Employment Authorization form to OIS at minimum 5 days prior to the start of employment. For more information about J-1 student employment, please see the OIS website.


Authorization for Off-Campus Educational Work Experience

F-1 and J-1 students planning to participate in an off-campus educational work experience (internship, fieldwork, research, practicum, etc.) during spring 2020 must obtain the proper work authorization from OIS before the work begins. See the OIS website for more information on F-1 Curricular Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training eligibility and application processes. If you have any doubts, please consult with an OIS advisor prior to the start of any off-campus experience. Working off-campus without proper authorization is a violation of status which can have significant negative consequences that OIS Advisors want to help you avoid.


F-1 and J-1 Employment Hours

F-1 and J-1 students must also ensure that their total employment (authorized on and off-campus jobs combined) does not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. F-1 and J-1 students may work more than 20 hours per week during official university breaks such as winter and summer break. More information about F-1 employment and J-1 employment can be found on the OIS website.


F-1 Optional Practical Training

F-1 students planning to complete their programs during the spring 2020 semester should begin thinking about Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT applications are ideally submitted to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) 90 days prior to the expected program completion date. The first step in the process is for the student to attend a mandatory OPT Workshop presented by OIS. OPT Workshops are offered multiple times each month and students are encouraged to attend one as early in their final semester of study as possible.


Required Reporting of Other Status or Academic Changes

F-1 and J-1 students experiencing or anticipating other major changes to their immigration status or academic plans are strongly encouraged to discuss these with an OIS Advisor as early as possible - in many cases the change must be reported to OIS prior to it taking effect. Such changes could include a program extension, change of major or degree level, leave of absence from studies, transfer to a new academic institution, departure from the U.S., or change of immigration status.


Address Updates

F-1 and J-1 students must always maintain accurate local U.S. and international addresses at all times. Please see the OIS website for more information on how to confirm and update your addresses.


As always, if you have questions, don't hesitate to contact OIS by email (, phone (312) 996-3121 or visit us during Open Advising.