Maintain your immigration status

All F-1 and J-1 students must make sure to be registered full-time, update their address, and obtain a travel signature when leaving the United States in order to maintain their immigration status. For more information on these important regulations and work authorizations, please see below.


Full Time Enrollment

In compliance with the United States Citizenship, Immigration and Naturalization Service, (USCIS), Undergraduate international students are required to carry no fewer than 12 credit hours each semester and have two semesters to achieve a 2.00 grade point average. Graduate international students are required to carry no fewer than 9 credit hours each semester and have one semester to achieve the appropriate grade point average. Failure to meet these guidelines may result in dismissal from Grand Valley State University and USCIS will be notified that the student is out of status.

F-1 iStudents can be authorized for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) for only two reasons:

  1.  Students who are in the final semester of their program and have less than a full-time course load remaining need to be authorized with Immigration for a RCL. Students should be certain that they will indeed complete their program during the semester for which they have requested an RCL since an RCL cannot be authorized two semesters in a row and the student's SEVIS record will be shortened to reflect their indicated graduation date. 
  2. Students who are experiencing an illness or medical condition that inhibits their ability to attend classes. Students in this situation need medical documentation from a licensed Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, or Clinical Psychologist.

 


Online & Hybrid Classes

Graduate Students

G​​​​​​raduate students must take at least 9 credits each Fall & Winter semester

  • At least 6 of those credits must be in-person
  • 1 class (3 credits) maximum can be taught in an online format, if taking the minimum courseload of 9 credits
  • a hybrid course is considered in-person if it meets in person at least 25% of the time (approximately 4 weeks of in-person meeting in a standard semester)
  • If taking more than the minimum courseload (more than 9 credits), the additional credits can be online

Examples:

  • 9 credits: 6 credits in-person, 3 credits (1 class) online ✔ permitted
  • 9 credits: 6 credits in-person, 3 credits (3 classes) online ✘ not permitted
  • 12 credits total: 6 credits in-person, 6 credits (4 classes) online ✔ permitted
  • 12 credits total: 3 credits in-person, 9 credits online ✘ not permitted

 

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate student must take at least 12 credits each Fall & Winter semester

  • At least 9 of those credits must be in-person
  • 1 class (3 credits) maximum can be taught in an online format, if taking the minimum courseload of 12 credits
  • a hybrid course is considered in-person if it meets in person at least 25% of the time (approximately 4 weeks of in-person meeting in a standard semester)
  • If taking more than the minimum courseload (more than 12 credits), the additional credits can be online

Examples:

  • 12 credits total: 9 credits in-person, 3 credits (1 class) online ✔ permitted
  • 12 credits total: 9 credits in-person, 3 credits (3 classes) online  not permitted
  • 15 credits total: 9 in-person, 6 online ✔ permitted
  • 15 credits total: 6 in-person, 9 online not permitted

Change of Address

Federal Requirements: United States immigration law requires the reporting of a change of address within 10 days of the move, even if it is changing apartments within the same complex. 

Reporting Change of Address: Grand Valley students must report their change of address in three ways:

  1. On Grand Valleys myBanner 
  2. Submitting the Change of Address Form which we use to update SEVIS
  3. To the US Postal Service 

Travel Signatures

Any student wishing to leave the country for either travel or vacation must have a valid travel signature on their I-20 or DS 2019. Signatures are valid for one year from the indicated date. Students traveling to Canada or Mexico are encouraged to have their documents signed within 6 months of travel. If you are interested in visiting Canada and/or Mexico, you should visit the Canadian and Mexican embassy websites before traveling to check visa requirements. 

Travel advice from Immigration

Request Travel Signature


F-1 Work Authorization

F-1 students are only at eligible to work at GVSU without any additional immigration authorization as follows:

  • Maximum 20 hours per week during the regular semester (Fall & Winter semesters)
  • Maximum 40 hours per week during breaks (Spring Break, Winter Break, Spring/Summer semesters)

For information on work authorization off campus BEFORE graduation, visit CPT Information

For information on work authorization off campus AFTER graduation, visit OPT Information


J-1 Work Authorization

J-1 International Students are only eligible to work at GVSU and only during their studies.

Academic Training (AT) is work authorization for J-1 students after program completion. Some J-1 students may be eligible for AT after their program ends. Students should make an appointment in their last semester to discuss eligibility. To schedule an appointment please email [email protected]



Page last modified January 5, 2024