Although ISSS staff will do our best to assist students with maintaining their F-1 student status, ultimately, students are responsible for maintaining their own F-1 student status. Below is a summary of basic rules and what actions students need to take to maintain F-1 student status:
All new students must submit New Student SEVIS Record Activation before initial quarter starts in the ISSS Portal. In the form students must upload a copy of F-1 student visa/ approval notice, I-94 and confirm that they are registered full time and their U.S. mailing address, phone number and foreign permanent address are up to date.
Students must maintain full-time status during each academic semester. Full-time is 12 credits for undergraduate students and 10 credits for graduate students.
DL Class (During 2021-2022 AND 2022-2023 academic year, all DL classes counts toward meeting full time enrollment):
No more than the equivalent of one Distance Learning (online) class per quarter may count toward the full-time enrollment.
Students may take more than one DL class and remain outside of U.S. In this case, the students' SEVIS record needs to be terminated.
Students may spend their final quarter taking DL class(es) outside of the U.S. In this case, the students' SEVIS record needs to be terminated and students will lose eligibility to apply for Post Completion OPT.
DL class cannot be the only class students take during the final quarter.
Exceptions to full-time enrollment include a vacation quarter. Continuing students who are registered full time for the following autumn quarter can take summer quarter as a vacation quarter. Summer is considered as the default vacation quarter, and students do not need prior approvals. Students who wish to take non-Summer quarter as a vacation quarter must consult with their International Student Advisor immediately.
Students may turn in the Reduced Course Load (RCL) Authorization in the ISSS Portal if they are facing any of the following reasons:
Improper Course Level Placement
Unfamiliarity with American Teaching Methods (first quarter only)
Initial Difficulties with Reading Requirement (first quarter only)
Initial Difficulties with English Language (first quarter only)
Illness or Medical Condition (proof required)
Students must fill outthe Reduced Course Load (RCL) Authorization in the ISSS Portal if their graduating quarter credit load is not full time.
Students are permitted to take time off from studies and remain outside of U.S. at any time. This is called Leave of Absence (LOA). If you come across an unforeseen circumstance and need to suspend your study or plan to take an LOA, please contact your International Student Advisor immediately.
Students must report contact information changes within 10 calendar days via MyUW. This include changes to phone number, local (U.S. mailing), U.S. physical (only if different from local/U.S. mailing).
Students have access to update their contact info by logging into MyUW. Go to the "Quick Links” on the left side of the main page and then click on "Change Student Address." If you have graduated from UW Tacoma, are engaged in Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT and are unable to edit their contact info in their MyUW, update them on SEVP Portal.
Students must make normal academic progress in order to complete the course of study. In the case of Academic Dismissal, your SEVIS record will be terminated.
Students must never let their I-20 expire. Submit the Program End Date Extension via the ISSS Portal at least 30 days before the expiration date.
After completion of their program, F-1 students are allowed to remain in the U.S. for 60 days, this is called grace period. Do not overstay your time in the U.S.
In the case of withdrawing from UW Tacoma, turn in a completed Withdrawal Form to the Registrar's office.
Additional rules apply when students are engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT). Attend the OPT Info Sessions to learn more.
If you violate your status and/or run into a situation where you are questioned by Federal or Local Agents (for example Police, Immigration Agents or FBI), you want to make sure that you know what to do. To learn more, please visit Know Your Rights, a useful resource prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns!