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International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services

Reporting Requirements

ISSS reports to SEVIS every term and when certain changes occur in an F-1/J-1 student's academic or immigration record. The student is responsible for maintaining his immigration status. (Please note that the immigration status is different than the visa. The visa is the document in the passport that a nonimmigrant uses to ask permission to enter the U.S. Once a nonimmigrant is granted entry into the U.S., he acquires an immigration status. The status establishes a nonimmigrant's legal presence in the U.S.).  The following are some immigration reporting requirements for F-1/J-1 students that may involve an academic advisor:

Change to the Student's Academic Program

Change of Major

An international student will need a new immigration document if he changes his major. Once the major is changed in Banner, ISSS will be automatically alerted. ISSS will then create a new immigration document with the change of major, and will notify the student when it is ready for pick-up.

Temporary Absence

An international student who will be taking a break from his studies and leaving the U.S. for a temporary period of time should be referred to ISSS to complete the temporary absence process for the purposes of immigration reporting. This is in addition to any academic leave of absence process at DU.

Transfer out

An international student who is transferring to another school needs to be referred to ISSS in order to transfer the student's immigration record to the new school.

Returning students

A previously enrolled international student who is returning to DU after studying at another school or being outside the U.S. for an extended period of time should be referred to ISSS in order to receive a new immigration document after DU approves the Re-entry.

Completion of Academic Program by Program End Date

F-1/J-1 international students are expected to complete their degree by the end date on their I-20 or DS-2019. If a student needs additional time to complete his degree, he needs to apply for a program extension (extension of the immigration document)  BEFORE  the document expires.

For an extension, the student needs a compelling academic or medical reason. Following are the reasons stated in the immigration regulations:

  • Delay caused by a change in major field of study
  • Delay caused by a change in research topic
  • Delay caused by unexpected research problem
  • Delay caused by documented illnesses (Medical reasons must be documented by a medical provider.)
For the academic reasons, the academic advisor should give his professional opinion for the program extension on the  Academic Advisor's Recommendation for Program Extension  form. If the "Other" category is completed on this recommendation form, the reason given should be a compelling academic reason. For example, if the student spent time before his degree studying at the English Language Center, he would be eligible for a program extension for academic reasons.

Please note that the international student must be making normal progress towards completing the degree in order to qualify for a program extension. If there are any questions about whether an international student is eligible for a program extension, please contact ISSS.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

International students studying in the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 visa must follow the immigration regulations concerning full-time enrollment.

  • F-1/J-1 international students must enroll full-time for three out of four quarters (or two semesters)
  • At DU, full-time for undergraduate students is 12 credits. Full-time for graduate students is 8 credits

vacation term

  • F-1/J-1 international students may have one vacation term per year. Summer quarter is automatically considered a vacation term unless otherwise informed by the student.
  • After being enrolled for one academic year, the student may choose to take a vacation quarter other than summer. They may ask permission from ISSS by applying for a Non-Summer Vacation Term. Typically a Non-Summer Vacation Term means the student is enrolled in 0 credits. However, it is possible for a student to still enroll in credits during a Non-Summer Vacation Term. If the student is authorized for a vacation term and is enrolled in fewer credits than the minimum for full-time, it will be reported as a vacation term to SEVIS.

Online Courses

Each term, F-1/J-1 international students may have up to three online credits or one online course count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.

Concurrent Enrollment

For immigration purposes, F-1/J-1 international students may enroll concurrently at another institution if the combined enrollment amounts to a full-time course of study.   In addition to other DU requirements, approval for concurrent enrollment is needed from ISSS.

Less than full-time enrollment

F-1/J-1 international students may be eligible to be authorized to be enrolled for less than full-time through ISSS. The students must have authorization from ISSS BEFORE dropping below full-time. International students cannot simply drop a class due to academic performance, financial concerns, or personal reasons. There are specific criteria to meet for an international student to be enrolled less than full-time. They may receive permission to drop below full-time for the following reasons:

Academic Reason

  • Initial difficulty with English Language
  • Initial difficulty with reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • Improper course level

Note: May be used only once per degree level. Student must still be enrolled a minimum of half-time credits.

Medical Reason

  • Medical documentation is required
  • Students are eligible for up to 12 months total during degree.

Final Term

  • In a student's final quarter, if the student has fewer credits remaining than is needed for full-time enrollment, he may request to be less than full-time due to being the final term.

In order to be authorized to be enrolled for less than full-time, the student must submit a  Less Than Full-Time Enrollment Form  to ISSS. Section B of this form needs to be completed by an academic advisor. The academic advisor should mark the appropriate reason. If none of the reasons work, then the academic advisor can choose to not sign the form or to call ISSS for any questions about the student's particular situation. The student must receive authorization from ISSS before dropping below full-time. For F-1 students, the authorization will be written on page three of the student's I-20 (immigration document).


Off-Campus Employment Authorization

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment authorization for F-1 students. F-1 students must be enrolled full-time for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. CPT is authorized for a specific employer. The academic advisor’s recommendation on the Advisor’s Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form is necessary for CPT.

Before signing the recommendation form, here are some tips for academic advisors to review:

  • The employment for CPT needs to be an “integral part of an established curriculum” (8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10)(i)).   ISSS relies on the academic advisor to show that the employment is directly related to the student’s major
  • If the internship is not required for the degree, the student needs to be enrolled in a course for the degree.  It may be an internship course or independent study, depending on the department.   The course may be for credit or zero credit, if the department provides 0-credit internship courses
  • The academic course needs to be entered into Banner before the student applies for CPT
  • CPT is authorized by the quarter.  The student must enroll for a course each quarter that he is eligible for CPT
  • The course number for the CPT will be included in the employment authorization on the student’s immigration document
  • CPT may be part-time (20 hours or less) while school is in session and full-time (over 20 hours) during the student’s vacation term or official school breaks.   Full-time CPT during the academic session may be authorized with special recommendation from an academic advisor

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization for F-1 students.  F-1 students must be enrolled full-time for one academic year before being eligible for OPT.  The student does not need a job offer to apply for OPT.    F-1 students are eligible for one 12-month period of OPT per degree level.  Students in STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) may be eligible to apply for an extension of an additional 17 months.

 The academic advisor’s recommendation is requested on the Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) Request form

The following information may be of interest to academic advisors:

  • The OPT employment must be in the student’s field of study  
  • OPT may be pre-completion or post-completion OPT
  • Post-completion OPT depends on student completing degree
  • Post-completion OPT recommendation is based on the program end date (this is usually the last date of final exams for the quarter, rather than the date of graduation)

Academic training

Academic Training is employment authorization for J-1 students.  Academic Training may be used before or after the student completes his degree.  The employment must be directly related to the student’s academic program.  Degree-seeking J-1 students are eligible for 18 months of Academic Training (includes pre- and post-completion Academic Training), or the duration of the program, whichever is less.   Doctoral students may be eligible for an extension of an additional 18 months.  Non-degree students should be referred to ISSS for an explanation of their eligibility for Academic Training.

The academic advisor recommends Academic Training by completing the Advisor’s Recommendation for Academic Training form