Maintaining F-1 Status

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Maintaining F-1 Status For Graduate Students
Full-Time Enrollment

F-1 students MUST maintain full-time enrollment and make normal academic progress toward completion of their degree program.

  • Full-time Enrollment: minimum of 8-12 units per academic quarter (please check with your department for full-time course load unit requirements)

    Failure to maintain full-time enrollment during your program will result in severe consequences for your F-1 status.

    *F-1 students are not allowed to drop below full-time enrollment without receiving prior authorization for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) from DCISS.

  • Filing Fee: students on filing fee status during their final quarter must submit a filing fee application to their department by the end of Week 2 of the quarter to comply with F-1 reporting requirements and maintain their F-1 status. F-1 students are only allowed one quarter of filing fee status.

  • Leave of Absence: students not enrolling for the quarter and taking a leave of absence must meet with an F-1 Counselor to discuss F-1 status requirements and eligibility.
Address Reporting

F-1 students are required to have a valid local mailing address and permanent foreign address at all times (P.O. box addresses not valid).

  • Local Address:must be a valid, residential address in the Los Angeles area where you will be residing during your F-1 program at UCLA. This address cannot be an address outside of the U.S., outside of California, or an academic department address (P.O. Box addresses not valid)
  • Permanent Address:must be a valid, residential address outside of the United States (P.O. Box addresses not valid).
  • E-Mail:The e-mail address listed in URSA will be the primary method of communication that DCISS will use to contact you. Please make sure that you list an e-mail address in URSA that you check regularly.

**Please keep all of your addresses up-to-date on URSA. Changes in address (local and permanent) must be updated in URSA within 10 days of the change. Failure to maintain a valid local and permanent address will affect your visa status and eligibility for services at DCISS.

Valid Passport

All F-1 students must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future.

  • On-Campus Employment: F-1 students are eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time (more than 21 hours per week) during winter and summer vacation. On-campus employment may include teaching assistantships, research assistantships, reader appointments, or student positions at the campus library, bookstore, food/dining services, etc. F-1 students can work on-campus without obtaining employment authorization from DCISS or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    For jobs with UCLA departments, please contact that specific department for job opportunities.

  • Off-Campus Employment: F-1 students may not engage in off-campus employment (including paid and unpaid internships) before receiving proper employment authorization from DCISS.

    Types of Off-Campus Work Authorization:

    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Employment authorization approved by DCISS for you to engage in an internship or employment opportunity directly related to your field of study and integral to your academic program.

    • Optional Practical Training (OPT): Up to 12-months of employment authorization approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for you to gain practical experience in your field of study upon completion of a degree program.

    **You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive wages from employment in the U.S.
Program Completion

Grace Period:

Upon completion of your degree program, you have 60-days to:

  • Prepare for departure from the U.S.
  • Transfer to another school/degree program by requesting a SEVIS Transfer Out
  • Change your visa status

**Students may not exit and re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during their 60-day grace period.

F-1 Student Handbook
Contact the F-1 Unit

Or call 310-825-1681