Staying in Status

To stay in student status, you need to:

Have a valid I-20/DS-2019
I-20 and DS-2019 forms have expiration dates, which can be found in item 5 on the I-20 and Item 3 on the DS-2019. If your I-20 or DS-2019 is going to expire before you finish your program, consult the Office of International Student Services at least 30 days before the expiration date.

Be a full-time student
In order to maintain F-1 and J-1 status, students must be enrolled full time for each fall and spring semester. Enrollment in summer sessions is not required, unless a student begins study at UALR in the summer.

  • For undergraduates, full-time enrollment is at least 12 credit hours per semester. (Only 3 of these hours can be online courses)
  • For graduates, full-time enrollment is 9 credit hours per semester. (Only 3 of these hours can be online courses)

Other exceptions require the approval of a ISS adviser or the assistant director.

If a student is not enrolled full time for any reason not mentioned above, including all of the cases listed below, a student must speak with an academic adviser as well as the ISS  adviser or assistant director before withdrawing from a course. (Examples include: A first semester student who is advised by an academic adviser to take less then a full load of courses because of language difficulties or unfamiliarity with the U.S. teaching methods; a student who must drop a class because they were placed in an incorrect level; a student who is advised by a doctor to take fewer hours because of a severe medical condition).

Work Only with Authorization
All international students and dependents who are eligible for work authorization must have permission either from International Services (ISS) or CIS before they begin working. F-2 visa holders may not work.

FYI: Your visa does not need to be valid to stay in the United States. A visa stamp in your passport is only an entry document. However, any student who leaves the United States and returns must have a valid visa. If a student leaves the United States with an invalid visa, that student will need to apply for a new visa at the U.S. Embassy in his home country.