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ISSS – Visa Regulations and Information

SEVIS

SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.  It is a US government electronic database that maintains accurate information about J-1 and F-1 students and their F-2 or J-2 dependents.

I-20s and DS-2019s are printed based on the information that is in SEVIS.  This includes your program start and end dates, your major and other biographical information.  All universities have to update SEVIS with information about F1 and J1 students attending their universities, such as the following:

  • Local address, email and phone number
  • Program of study (including your major/minor)
  • Registration each semester (full-time, part-time, on-campus, or not enrolled)

It’s really important that you keep the International Student Services Office updated with any change in this data, so that Boise State can keep your SEVIS record accurate.

Study

All F1 and J1 students must study full time.  For undergraduate students that is 12 credits per semester and for graduate students that is 9 credits per semester.  Only 1 class (that class can have a maximum of 3 credits) of that full time load can be online.  There are some limited exceptions to this full-time study requirement for medical and academic reasons.  They are called Reduced Course Loads (RCL).  Contact the International Student Services Office before you drop below full time to learn if you qualify for an RCL, or if you have questions about RCL authorization.

F1 and J1 student status is based on full-time enrollment each Fall and Spring semester.  If you need to take a semester off studying, or can’t study full time, then you must work with an International Student Advisor within the Center for Global Education (CGE).  Please consult our Leave of Absence information for full details of important paperwork and information.

It is important to talk to the International Student Services Office before withdrawing from all classes.  In most cases, if a student is granted a complete withdrawal from the Dean of Students office and/or from the Registrar, their SEVIS record is terminated and they must leave the United States within 15 days of the complete withdrawal approval.  In order to return, the student will need to apply for reinstatement.

Employment

F1 and J1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and more than 20 hours during semester breaks.  Off-campus employment is quite restricted for F1 and J1 students. Any off-campus employment requires authorization from International Student Services and/or USCIS before work begins and not all internships and jobs qualify for an authorization.  In some cases, employment authorization can take 3-4 months for approval so it is best to plan ahead.  In addition, J-1 exchange students must have specific authorization from International Student Services in advance of working on campus.  Please look at the Employment tab of the International Student Services website for further employment information.

Travel

You must bring your I-20/DS-2019 to International Student Services for a travel signature if you plan to leave the U.S. during your studies at Boise State. The signature is valid for a year (6 months if you are on OPT).  Please make sure you enroll properly for the next semester (if eligible) before you request a travel signature.

A Boise State official’s signature on your I-20/DS-2019 confirms for US Immigration that you are returning to Boise to continue your education program and that you are maintaining your visa status. Attempting to enter the US without a current signature on the I-20/DS-2019 will delay your clearance through customs/immigration and may require extra paperwork.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to bring the I-20/DS-2019 to the ISS office at least 3 business days prior to your scheduled departure from campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the regulations about work?

F1 and J1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and more than 20 hours during semester breaks.  Off-campus employment is quite restricted for F1 and J1 students. Any off-campus employment requires authorization from International Student Services and/or USCIS before work begins and not all internships and jobs qualify for an authorization.

What are the approved reasons for a Reduced Course Load (RCL)?

An advisor in International Student Services may authorize a reduced course load for the following reasons:

  1. Initial difficulty with American teaching methods (first semester only)
  2. Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements (first semester only)
  3. Improper placement in a particular course level
  4. Last semester of the academic program and graduation due at the end of that particular semester
  5. Medical reasons (maximum of one year per academic level)

Students authorized for a reduced course load based on approved academic reasons (1-3) must still enroll in at least six credits.

Contact the International Student Services Office before you drop below full time to learn if you qualify for an RCL.  We are here to answer any questions about the RCL application paperwork.

What do you need to report to ISS?

  • Name change or new contact details (within 10 days of the change)
  • Change of address (use the Change of Address form within 10 days of any change)
  • Change of major, minor or degree program (use the Replacement I-20 form)
  • Study Abroad Plans
  • Taking a semester off classes (report via the Leave of Absence form before you take the semester off)
  • If you need to drop below full time (this must be approved before you drop classes)
  • Transfer to another university or degree program (Transfer Out form)