U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance to colleges and universities that enables F-1 international students to temporarily participate in additional distance learning credits beyond the three credits which are normally allowed under visa rules during the COVID-19 outbreak.

CU Online Course Delivery Restriction

Due to current restrictions imposed by U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, webcourse delivery cannot be provided to the following countries:

  • Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, Crimea Region of the Ukraine

Students who are a resident or may be a resident in any of these countries during their CU study, may require prior U.S. government approval. Students resident in a sanctioned country should not enroll or begin an academic program at CU. CU can seek prior U.S. government approval on a case by case basis. If you are interested in seeking prior approval, contact the Office of Export Controls at exportcontrolhelp@colorado.edu.

Immigration regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to be enrolled in a full-time course load each fall and spring semester in order to maintain nonimmigrant visa status. Full-time enrollment is only required in the summer if it is your first or last semester of enrollment.

  • ISSS is required to report in SEVIS whether a student is enrolled full-time at CU Boulder, received an authorized reduced course load, dropped below a full course of study without prior authorization by the DSO, or failed to enroll.

A full course of study is defined as:

  • Undergraduate students: At least 12 credit hours
  • Graduate students: At least 5 graduate credit hours or a combination of 8 credit hours of graduate and undergraduate-level courses

Classes must be taken for a grade or pass/fail in order to count toward the full-time requirement. Classes taken for no-credit will not count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.

Failure to meet the full-time enrollment requirement or receive an authorized reduced course load can result in your SEVIS record being terminated.

  • Please review the Study in the States website for further information on full-time enrollment requirements.

Online/ Distance Education Restriction

Please note that that F-1 student online education restriction is currently modified due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Requirement prior to the Temporary COVID-19 Pandemic Modification:. 

For both undergraduate and graduate students, only 3 credits of online or distance education courses can count towards the full-time requirement. For example, if you are an undergraduate student, you can take a 3-credit class online, but you must have at least 9 additional on-campus credits that are for in-person classes that take place in a classroom. 

On-Campus Physical Presence Requirement

On-campus presence is required every fall and spring semester (see exception below for F-1 students during the COVID-19 pandemic). It is also required in the summer if the summer term is your first or last semester. If you plan to graduate in the summer, you must maintain some level of on-campus presence by enrolling in on-campus credits.

Incomplete Withdrawal (IW), Incomplete Pass (IP), or Incomplete Fail (IF) Grades

Getting a grade of IW, IP, or IF counts toward full-time minimum requirement for enrollment purposes (not for work authorization purposes) as long as the course is an on-campus course, thesis hour, independent study, or dissertation hour. Students who are considering taking an incomplete in a course through Continuing Education should come speak with an ISSS advisor BEFORE taking an incomplete.

Exceptions to the Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

Less than a Full-Time Course Load Remaining

If it is your final semester and less than a full-time course load is required to complete your degree, you must submit a Confirmation of Final Semester form to ISSS.

Authorized Reduced Course Load

If you have a qualifying Academic or Medical reason, you may be eligible for an authorized reduced course load. Please consult ISSS if you have questions regarding eligibility requirements and do not drop courses without ISSS authorization.

ISSS Drop Advising Hold

Due to the full-time enrollment requirements for F-1 and J-1 students, an ISSS Drop Advising Hold is placed on all F-1 and J-1 students’ records that prevents students from dropping below a full course of study without prior permission from ISSS.

  • If students in F-1 or J-1 status wishes to drop a class after the ISSS hold is placed on their record, they will need to work with an ISSS advisor to have the hold removed.