Immigration Regulations

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)

SEVIS is an internet-based system that provides U.S. schools, immigration officials, and consular officials with accurate and current information on nonimmigrant foreign students from the time they are admitted to a U.S. institution until they depart the U.S. or change to another immigration status.

Immigration Regulations: Maintaining Your F-1 Status

The International Services Office will support and assist you in dealing with matters of immigration. However, it is important that you assume personal responsibility for maintaining your status. Recent tightening of immigration regulations and closer scrutiny of both international students and schools through the SEVIS system mean that you will have to be especially vigilant.

Here are some things you need to do in order to maintain your status:

Keep your passport valid at all times

Do not work off campus without authorization

Keep your I-20 updated

  • Get your I-20 signed by the FSA or Director before leaving the country the first time and thereafter (if you cross the border often) at the end of each semester. The signature is necessary to reenter the U.S.
  • You must apply through the ISO and obtain a new I-20 for any of the following: Change of major; Change of level (Bachelor's to Master's, for example); Extension of your program (if you need more time to finish your degree)

Register for a full course of study

You are expected to register for a full course of study in both the fall and winter semesters each academic year. You may take a vacation or register part time in the summer term (unless that term is your first term at UDM).
  • Undergraduates: In any semester, a full course of study is 12 credits.
  • Graduate students: In any semester, a full course of study is 9 credits.
  • Students in ALCP (English language) classes: ALCP 1010/5101 = full time. Undergraduates: ALCP 2010 + 6 credits, ALCP 3150 + 9 credits = full time. Graduate students: ALCP 5201 + 3 credits, ALCP 5315 + 6 credits = full time.

Exceptions to full-time enrollment include:

  • Students in the final semester of their program need to register only for the number of credits required to complete the program.
  • Students who have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation or thesis are only required to register for the number of dissertation credits required by the department (or for ALCP 5000).
  • Concurrent enrollment (taking courses at another school):
    • You may take courses at another institution provided you are concurrently taking courses at UDM and the total number of credits from both institutions equals full time.
    • If you take courses at another institution during a vacation semester, it is not necessary to be concurrently registered at UDM.
    • You may not take courses at another institution during your final semester (even if that semester is the summer term) unless you are concurrently enrolled for courses at UDM.
    • You must inform the International Services Office of concurrent enrollment at the beginning of the semester (unless the concurrent enrollment takes place during a vacation semester)

You must obtain authorization from the ISO before dropping below full-time status for any of these reasons:

  • Illness or other medical reason
  • Improper course-level placement
  • Difficulty with English language or reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods

You may not be excused from a full course of study because of scheduling conflicts or course closures, or because courses are otherwise "unavailable."

Limits on reduced course load include:

  • For the academic reasons listed above, you may be authorized to drop below a full course of study for one semester (during your entire program). You must resume full-time study the next semester (excluding summer).
  • If you experience illness or injury, you may be authorized to drop below a full course of study for a maximum of one year. You must obtain authorization each semester.