Enrollment and Maintaining Your Status
All F-1 and J-1 students must pursue a full-time course of study unless otherwise specifically authorized by International Services. International Services must be informed of and approve of any drop below full time. Full-time status for undergraduates is 12 credit hours per semester. Full-time status for graduate students is 9 credit hours per semester.
International Services may authorize a student for part-time enrollment for the following reasons:
- Initial difficulty with the English language
- Initial difficulty with reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
- Fewer courses are needed to complete full course of study (only possible in final term for undergraduate students)
- Medical condition (must have doctor's request/recommendation)
A note regarding online classes:
- F-1 students are not permitted to take more that 3 credits of online classes toward their full course of study.
- J-1 students are not permitted to take any online courses toward their full course of study.
See your academic adviser or major professor to plan your course schedule accordingly.
Please notify International Services before departing:
- If you are going abroad on a study-abroad program.
- If you are going to another school in the U.S. on the National Exchange Program.
- If you are intending to research abroad to complete your thesis/dissertation.
- If you do not intend to return to school, please complete the Withdrawing from U of I Form.
Maintaining J-1 Status
Maintaining status is the responsibility of every student and scholar. No student or scholar should expect the administrators at International Services to monitor their expirations, or to be independently notified of any changes impacting their status. International Services is obligated to inform the U.S. government through SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) of any changes impacting J-1 status.
J-1 visa holders must notify International Services if they experience any of the following:
- Address changes
- Change in length of program
- Any departure from the program or other changes impacting its conditions such as a change in program location or program supervisor
- Terminations or Leaves of Absence including medical
- Change in dependents
- Felony convictions
Additionally, J-1 students must also notify International Services if they experience any of the following:
- Change of major
- Degree level change
- Graduation earlier than end date on DS-2019
- Need additional time to complete their studies
- Change in period of study
- Change in employment
- Change in Academic Training employment
- Any drops below full-time status (12 credit hours per spring/fall semester for undergraduates; 9 credit hours per spring/fall semester for graduates; full time in summer required [8 credit hours]; if this semester is first or last semester of enrollment)
- Disciplinary action
Note that the above list is not necessarily comprehensive. Students should contact International Services if there is any question about maintenance of status.
Changing to J-1 Status
Applications to change to J-1 status may be filed by individuals who are residing in the U.S. in a qualifying nonimmigrant status. All other students and scholars must apply for a visa stamp abroad.
If you would like to change to J-1 status in the U.S., please contact International Services at least six months before the planned start date of your program to discuss the options.
International students are eligible for on-grounds employment at the University of Idaho for up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and full-time during breaks with International Services approval. Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships are considered to be 20 hours per week. Students must bring a completed On-Campus Work Authorization Request to International Services before engaging in any on-campus employment.
J-1 students may be approved to engage in academic training outside the university. Academic training is employment directly related to a J-1 student's major field of study and may be used during the semester, during breaks in the academic year or directly following the completion of studies. Generally, the length of this training, in total, may not exceed 18 months or the length of the program, whichever is shorter. Postdoctoral academic training may extend to 36 months.
Throughout the period of academic training a J-1 student's DS-2019 must remain valid, and the J-1 student and any J-2 dependents must maintain adequate health insurance. J-1 students who have completed their studies must continue to maintain health insurance that meets the standards for J-1 scholars and exchange students.
J-1 students wishing to apply for academic training must* bring the following to International Services during office hours:
- Letter from the employer on letterhead documenting the duties of the position, salary, location of the employment and duration of the employment (model letter)
- Completed adviser's Recommendation for Academic Training Form
J-1 students may not engage in academic training before International Services approval.
J-1 students who carry a DS-2019 that was not issued by the University of Idaho should contact their program sponsor regarding any employment.
Students and scholars wishing to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status after a temporary leave from the U.S will need a valid travel signature on their I-20/DS-2019 forms to return to the U.S. Please review all information below to understand how to get a new travel signature.
F-1 and J-1 Students:
For F-1 students, the travel signature is located on page 2 of your I-20 form. The travel signature is valid for 12 months from the date it was signed.
J-1 students, the travel signature is located on page 1 of your DS-2019 form. The travel signature is valid for 12 months from the date it was signed.
F-1 OPT and STEM OPT Extension Students:
F-1 must have a travel signature within six months of the time in which their travel and return occurs. Students returning to the U.S. after filing for or obtaining post-completion optional practical training employment authorization should be prepared to present evidence of their OPT and a job offer letter.
J-1 Academic Training Students:
J-1 must have a travel signature within 12 months of the time in which their travel and return occurs. Students returning to the U.S. after filing for or obtaining Academic training should be prepared to present a job offer letter or proof of employment (if employed).
- Valid passport (valid up to six months or more after reentry date).
- Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in the passport.
- Valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (and forms of any traveling family members with a valid travel signature on page 2 of I-20 (F-1 students) or page 1 of DS-2019 (J-1 students).
Students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status should request a travel signature on Form I-20/ DS-2019 two weeks before any planned travel abroad. Please submit your Travel Signature Request in your iVandal.
Dependents wishing to return to the U.S. in F-2 or J-2 status must comply with the same conditions including a travel signature on their I-20 or DS-2019.
You must be enrolled in at least 12 credits (undergraduate) or 9 credits (graduate) at the U of I during the Fall or Spring Semester. Exceptions are made if you are enrolled below 12 academic units but have an approved Reduced Course Load authorization, or If you have applied for or have an approved F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or J-1 Academic Training (AT) employment authorization.
- Log in to ivandal.uidaho.edu
- Go to Student Services tab.
- Select "Travel Signature Request (I-20/DS-2019)".
- Complete your request.
- Submit your request.
Please allow us three business days to review and complete your request. The IPO will send you an email when your request is ready.
After you return from you trip:
Within 15 days after arrival into the U.S., please upload your new I-94 in your iVandal (“Upload I-94 Record” under Immigration Documents) and review if the information is correct. There is no need to notify the International Programs Office when you have uploaded your I-94 form unless you are unable to find it on the CPB website.
International students and scholars at the University of Idaho often ask the staff at International Services whether there are any steps they might take to assist family members or friends in making a successful application for a B-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Please use this template to write a letter to invite your family member. Any applicant for a B-2 visa must demonstrate non-immigrant intent.