Maintaining F-1 Student Status

Maintaining immigration status is just as important as maintaining good academic status. Please read and understand the following tips on how to maintain student non-immigrant status below.

  10 Tips on How to Maintain Your Status:

  1. Enroll for a full course of study and attend classes every term, except a valid vacation term.
  2. Submit the Immigration Registration Form every term, except summer term.
  3. Register for only 3 credits of online courses per term unless you register above a full course of study.
  4. If needing a Reduced Course Load (RCL), apply BEFORE dropping any classes.
  5. Make academic progress and keep your grade point average at 2.00 or higher each term.
  6. Tell OIED before you leave WOU or the U.S. (such as, travel, study abroad, withdrawal, or transfer).
  7. Do not start any type of job until you have gained the proper authorization. Check with OIED first.
  8. Update OIED on any changes in your address (within 10 days of moving), major, or financial situation.
  9. Keep your immigration documents correct and up-to-date (I-20 or DS-2019, passport, visa, I-94)
  10. Check your WOU e-mail EVERY DAY for important information.

Registration Requirements

Immigration Registration

At the start of every term, except summer term, all WOU International students must complete the Immigration Registration form by the end of week 1 of the term.

Immigration Registration Online Form      Immigration Registration Form PDF

Course Registration

Immigration regulations state that all international students must register for a full course load.

  • Undergraduate F-1 and J-1 students must register for at least 12 credits per term to be at a full course load.
  • Graduate students must register for at least 9 credits per term or as otherwise approved by an international student advisor.

International students may count only 3 credits per term towards their full course load. Another way to make sure you meet this requirement is to register for 9/6 on campus credits.

  • Example: If a student registers for a 5 credit online course they must also register for at least 9 credits of regular on-campus classes. This way they will register for a total of 14 credits but only 3 credits of the online course will count for immigration purposes.

Add or Drop Classes: To add or drop classes after online registration closes students use the Add/Drop from from the Registrars office. Starting Monday of week 2 each term there is a $20 fee for each class change. If you are dropping below full time you must get approval from an international student advisor first.

  • Note: J-1 exchange students may not register for more than 16 credits a term. As non-degree seeking students they are allowed to register for courses without meeting prerequisites.

Reduced Course Load or RCL

A student may be eligible to register for less than a full course load if they meet one of the following eligibility requirements. Select the relevant PDF form link from the far right column to download and print the needed form.:The deadline for submitting an RCL form is the second Friday (5 p.m.) of a given term.




Last Term Only: Graduation Term

Student is in the final term of their degree program and does not need a full course load to complete. One term limit. Requires Academic Advisor signature


1st Term Only: Academic or English Difficulties

Student is in the first term of their degree program and is having initial difficulties with English or American teaching methods. One term limit. Requires Academic Advisor signature

Initial Difficulties RCL PDF

Improper Course Placement

Student is having difficulties with a course because they were improperly placed in it and they need to drop the class in order to make constructive academic progress. One term limit. Requires Academic Advisor signature

Initial Difficulties RCL PDF

Medical Condition

Student is having difficulties because they are experiencing physical or psychological issues. One year limit.

Note: Form must be accompanied by a letter from the doctor, explaining in detail the students situation.

Requires a medical physician or licensed clinical psychologist signature

Medical RCL PDF

Concurrent Enrollment

A student may enroll at WOU and at another SEVIS approved college or university as long as the total number of credits being taken adds up to a full course load (12 for undergraduates, 9 for graduates). A student must enroll in at least 6 credits at WOU to be considered a WOU student and be valid under their WOU I-20.

Concurrent_Enrollment_Form PDF

Students must first obtain authorization from an international student advisor at OIED to be concurrently enrolled. After they have completed registration for classes at the other school, they must provide a printout of their course schedule. This print out must clearly show the students full name, term of attendance, classes being taken, and their number of credits. Once the term is finished, they must submit an official transcript showing the course(s) completed over the term.

Hybrid/Online Course Agreement

If a student needs to take an online course(s) but doing so would be a violation of their immigration status, they may work with the professor of the online course to develop a hybrid course by completing the Online_Course_Physical_Presence_Verification_Form PDF.

A hybrid course is one in which the student takes most of the course online but also agrees to meet with the professor a specified number of hours at specified times so that physical presence requirements are established. The form should be turned in at the end of the term once all meetings have taken place.

Letter Requests

Students may request that an OIED advisor write various types of letters for them, such as: recommendation for a visa renewal, verification of academic status, verification of current address, or verification of immigration status. To make a request submit a Letter_Request_Form PDF at the front desk in Maaske Hall, make sure to note any details you want included.

Please allow 2 business days for letters to be prepared by an advisor.

OIED cannot write letters stating when a student will graduate, or if a course is required for their major. Such letters should be requested from the Registrars office.



International Office

(503) 838-8425 | or e-mail:  | Location: Maaske Hall 106
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