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Do international students need special permission to take fewer than 12 credits during the fall or spring semester

The following information is meant for L&S undergraduate students who are on an international student visa and wish to be enrolled in fewer than 12 credits during the fall or spring term.

All international students enrolled at UW-Madison as an undergraduate student in the College of Letters & Science (L&S) on an F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled in at least 12 credits (full-time status) during the fall or spring term.   Any L&S undergraduate student on an F-1 visa who wishes to be enrolled in fewer than 12 credits must obtain special permission from International Student Services (ISS).  After the ninth-week drop deadline during the fall and spring semesters, international students in L&S on a student visa must also obtain permission from an academic dean on L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans' Services (110 Ingraham Hall, 608/262-0617) to drop a class in addition to getting permission from ISS.   Prior to meeting with an L&S academic dean, students should fill out the Reduced Course Load (RCL) form and bring this signed document to their individual appointment.

  • Summer enrollment is not required by the US federal government regulations for F-1 visa holders. 
  • L&S undergraduate students on an F-1 visa are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credits during the fall and spring terms.
  • F-1 visa holders must also make sure they get permission from International Student Services (ISS) to drop below full time during the fall or spring term after they have obtained permission from an L&S academic dean (after the 9th week drop deadline).  A student on an F-1 visa will not be granted permission to take fewer than 12 credits during the fall or spring term if s/he does not get permission from ISS.  
  • Permission to take fewer than 12 credits in a given semester is only valid for the semester/term indicated on the application.



Keywords:international students, credit load, F-1 status, J-1 status, F-1 holder, J-1 holder, full-time status, part-time status, ISS, reduced course load, RCL   Doc ID:31710
Owner:Tori R.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2013-07-19 14:00 CDTUpdated:2017-07-17 11:23 CDT
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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