F-1 and J-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment to keep their visa status active throughout their program of study in the United States.

What is Full-Time?

  • Academic English – 18 credits per term

  • SAWE Part 1 – 18 credits per term; SAWE Part 2 – 12 credits per term

  • Undergraduate/Graduate Pathways – 12 credits per term

  • Undergraduate – 12 credits per term (9 required on campus)

  • Graduate – 9 credits per term (6 required on campus) Note: Graduate assistants may be required to enroll for more than 9 credits per term and should follow the enrollment policies set by the Graduate School and/or their department

Things to Remember

  • Audited courses and withdrawals do not count toward full-time enrollment
  • No more than 3 credits of distance (E-campus) or online education can count toward full-time enrollment per term
  • S/U credits count towards full-time enrollment
  • To be eligible for immigration benefits, you must be enrolled full-time on campus for a minimum of 3 consecutive terms
  • Register for at least 1 on campus credit during your final term to maintain physical presence in the US

Alternate Enrollment Options

Immigration regulations on enrollment are very strict and allow for exceptions only under certain conditions. To make use of an exception, you must receive written approval from the Office of International Services prior to registering for less than a full-course of study or dropping below a full-course of study. Forms for the following alternate enrollment exceptions can be found on the OIS Forms page and should be submitted prior to the start of the term.

Failure to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the program of study or submit appropriate paperwork for an exception could result in a SEVIS termination.​

Initial Difficulties
  • 1 time use
  • Language and cultural adjustment within 1st year
Medical Reasons
  • up to 4 terms per degree
  • Serious medical or psychological conditions
Concurrent Enrollment
  • Multiple terms
  • For students enrolled in more than one school
Vacation Term
  • 1 per year
  • Typically taken in summer, if program will continue
Final Term
  • 1 time use
  • INTO OSU, Undergraduate, Graduate (non-thesis)
Reduced Enrollment
  • 4 - Masters; 6 - PhD
  • Upon completion of program of study
Concurrent Enrollment & DPP

Fully-admitted undergraduate students enrolled in more than one school may also be interested in the Degree Partnership Program (DPP). While Concurrent Enrollment must be requested each term, DPP requires a one-time application and provides benefits such as advanced registration and easy transfer of credits. Some important notes about DPP:

  • Fully‐admitted students are encouraged to enroll full‐time with OSU in their first term before requesting permission to participate in the DPP.

  • Sponsored Students should seek written approval from their sponsor before applying for the DPP or Concurrent Enrollment.

  • If you have an OSU tuition remission scholarship (ICSP, International Provost, OIS, etc.), consult with the International Scholarships coordinator.

  • Deadline is typically 3 weeks prior to the beginning of each term.

Vacation Term

Students on a vacation term can choose to:

  • Remain in the US and not enroll in classes (as long as they maintain health insurance coverage)

  • Return to their home country

  • Study part-time on campus, at another school, or online

Students who wish to take a term off other than summer term may be eligible if they have been fully enrolled for the previous 3 terms (including summer) and should meet with an international student advisor to determine eligibility. If you decide to take a vacation term outside of summer term, you must register full-time for the next three consecutive terms before being allowed to take another vacation term including the following summer.

Students in INTO OSU programs must also receive approval from INTO OSU for a vacation term, regardless of the time of year.