Maintain Your F-1 Status
It is very important for students who hold F-1 status to follow all of the regulations so that they can maintain their valid immigration status. It is important for you to read through this section carefully and understand what rules you must follow. The ISSO is here to advise you and answer any questions you might have. Maintaining your F-1 status is critically important because even if you unintentionally violate the rules, there can be serious repercussions including losing your F-1 status or benefits such as on-campus employment or the possibility of practical training.
Reduced Course Load
F-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status. Clark defines full-time as a minimum of three units or courses per semester. Failure to study full-time is considered a serious violation of F-1 regulations. However, there are certain circumstances in which you are able to request permission to take less than a full course load. In all but one case, you need to get approval from the ISSO before dropping below full-time enrollment.
If you are approved by the ISSO to take a reduced course load, you are considered to be maintaining valid F-1 student status. Please meet with an ISSO adviser to discuss how a reduced course load may affect your off-campus employment eligibility.
You may be eligible for a reduced course load if any of the following situations apply to you.
Take a Leave of Absence
- F-1 students may find that they need to take a leave of absence (LOA) from Clark for a variety of reasons. If you are planning to take a leave, you must notify the ISSO before you withdraw or stop attending classes.
- In most cases, taking a LOA will require you to leave the U.S. since you will not be maintaining a full course load.
Change Academic Level
Some students come to Clark and complete one academic level and then enroll in another program at Clark. For example: if you successfully completed the Graduate Pathway Program at Clark, you need to submit a Change of Education Level request to receive your I-20 for your master’s degree program at Clark.
Transfer to Another School
Add F-2 Dependents
- If you are, or plan to become an F-1 student at Clark University, your legal spouse and/or unmarried dependent children under 21 are eligible to apply for F-2 status. You must be in valid F-1 status for your dependents to qualify for F-2 status.
- To obtain F-2 status for your dependents, you must first request a separate Form I-20 for each dependent.
- Submit a Dependent Request through the ISSO Portal to add one or more dependents to your F-1 record. To complete the Dependent Request, you will need:
- Copy of the passport identification page for each dependent.
- Copy of your marriage license if your spouse’s name is different than yours.
- Financial documents showing that you, or your sponsor, have sufficient funds for at least one year of living expenses for your dependents. This amount is at least $6,100 for the first dependent and $3,900 for each additional dependent.
- If the financial documents (bank statement) are not in your name, your financial sponsor must also submit a signed Clark Affidavit of Support.
- The ISSO will review your request and will issue Form I-20s for your dependents if all paperwork is in order.
- F-2 dependents must apply for an F-2 visa from a U.S. consulate overseas (exception: Canadian citizens do not require entry visas) and enter with their own I-20s.
- If your F-2 dependents are applying for visas and/or coming to the U.S. separately from you, they should carry copies of your I-20, passport, F-1 visa, I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt, and financial documents.
- If your F-1 status ends for any reason, the F-2 status of any dependents ends as well.
Online Study Limitations
The International Student and Scholars Office received notice from the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) that the COVID Guidelines announcing the relaxation of online study limits will end after the 2023 Summer term. SEVP guidance has returned to normal limits on online courses for the 2023-2024 Academic Year. F-1 students will only be able to count one online course toward their full-time enrollment requirements.
Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions regarding this update and what it will mean for you as an international student at Clark University.