F-1 Student Maintaining Status

F-1 Student Maintaining Status

If you encounter an E-Form access issue and have tried accessing the E-form in multiple web browsers, please email iss[at]umass[dot]edu

International Student Orientation Immigration Presentation

Full-Time Status

U.S. Immigration regulations require that all international students enroll in classes each term (fall and spring) and maintain a full-time course of study. 

Review the Exceptions below to see if there is an option for you but if you are planning to withdraw or choose to audit credits as contact your IPO advisor

Full-Time Status is defined as follows:

  • Undergraduate level = Minimum of 12 credits per term 
  • Graduate level = Minimum of 9 credits per term 

Online class regulation: Only ONE (1) online class per term can be used to count toward the minimum number of credits needed for full-time enrollment. If you only need 1 course to complete your program of study, the course cannot be online or distance learning.

Please make sure you are in compliance with the full-time enrollment requirement. Failure to follow these regulations will affect and possibly end your immigration status.


All students must obtain permission from the IPO before dropping below full-time status. Documentation is required for all requests, unless otherwise indicated.

Academic Options: You must provide a letter from your academic/faculty advisor indicating the term you need the Reduced Course Load, which course(s) you need to drop, the reason(s) why you need to drop it, and how many credits you will be enrolled in after your drop these courses. This letter must be on UMass letterhead and signed by your advisor. Please note that you must still be enrolled in at least 6 credits if approved for one of the Academic Reduced Course Load options below:

Academic Options in First Term Only

  • ​Initial difficulty with reading requirements 
  • Initial difficulty with English language
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods

Academic Options in your First Year Only 

  • ​Improper course placement

Medical Condition or Illness

  • A medical condition or illness that supports a reduction in course load (a written recommendation from UHS or CCPH is required). You can be enrolled in as few as zero (0) credits and remain in the U.S. This option is only available for 12 calendar months each degree level. The letter must include your name, date of birth, what course load is medically recommended (reduced to 0 credits or to 10, etc.), and the term the Reduced Course Load is recommended. This letter should be on the office's letter head, dated, and signed by the appropriate medical staff member (a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist) per federal regulations. The IPO cannot accept letters that do not meet the requirements above.

Letters with a medical diagnosis will NOT be accepted and you will need to acquire an updated letter with the medical diagnosis removed due to privacy regulations.

Final Term at UMass

  • It is your final term and you are graduating from UMass Amherst. No other documentation is required as long as your submit your request following the process below. 

Requesting a Reduced Course Load

Please submit a Reduced Course Load Request with any required documentation for your IPO advisor to review. Please allows 3-5 business days processing time. 

GRADUATE LEVEL STUDENTS ONLY: Consult your academic department regarding the possibility of a full-time override rather than a reduced course load request.

I-20 Extensions, Major Changes, etc.

All students should be making satisfactory progress in their degree programs. If you need additional time to complete your degree requirements, changed your major, or need other changes to your immigration document, please follow the instructions below:

Once the information is updated in SPIRE, please fill out this E-Form. I-20 approval emails occasionally go into your Spam/Junk folder. Please check this folder if 2-3 business days have passed and you have not received the approval email yet.

I-20 Extension Process: Complete the step below prior to requesting an I-20 extension.

  • Graduate Students: Speak to your academic advisor/Graduate Program Director to request a statute of limitation extension in SPIRE.
  • Undergraduate Students: Please refer to the Undergraduate Registrar's website.

It is the student’s responsibility to report any changes to your statute of limitation/graduation date to IPO. IPO will review your E-Form request and extend your visa document accordingly.

Change to Another Immigration Status

If you are changing your status from an F-1, J-1,  etc. to an H-1b, Permanent Resident, etc. please submit this information using the Change of Status E-Form. The IPO will update SPIRE and your SEVIS record as needed.

**If you are no longer a student at UMass and you are on OPT, AT, etc. when you change your status, your NENS access to UMass systems (access to UMass email, UMass VIP, etc.) will be deactivated 30 days after your new change of status begins. Please plan accordingly.