Maintaining Student Status

The term "status" refers to your permission to enter and study in the U.S. You were issued a STUDENT visa, so your status comes from being a student in good standing.

top priorities

Study is Your #1 Priority

Your visa is a STUDENT visa. Maintaining your status as an F-1 or J-1 student is your #1 priority.

Your Form I-20 or DS-2019 was issued for a specific amount of time. This might be one semester or several years. The Program End Date was chosen to allow you all the time that you should need to finished your program of study. You should enroll in your required course, attend and pass all your classes. This is called "normal progress." You must make progress each semester in order to be finished with your degree before your I-20 or DS-2019 is finished.

Required Full Course of Study per semester

Education Level

Academic English



Minimum Required Total Enrollment

5 classes (term)10 class (semester)

12 credit hours

9 credit hours

Minimum Required Face-to-Face Enrollment


9 credit hours

6 credit hours

There are a few limited exceptions to enrolling in a full course of study. This is known as a Reduced Course Load (RCL) and it must be authorized in advance by your Designated School Official (DSO). You can read more about RCL on our website.



Keep in regular contact with your DSO or ARO. This person is your international advisor and they are the only staff members on UNA's campus who can advise you on your international student visa status. There are many helpful advisers at UNA but only a DSO has the advice that you need as an international student. It is your responsibility to know and maintain your student visa status. If you read your UNA email regularly and review the content of this website, our staff will help you known and comply with your student visa status.

Legal Work

Do not work without authorization. If you want to work in the United States, talk with your DSO or ARO about your options. If you choose to work without authorization, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be terminated and you will have to leave the United States within 15 days.

Learn more about what type of work is legal for your visa status.

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