Full Time Enrollment
- As an F-1 or J-1 student, you must be a full-time student in order to maintain your immigration status. If you enroll in less than the required number of units, you must file and receive approval for a Request for Reduced Course Load.
- Undergraduate Students must maintain at least 12 units throughout each semester. Summer Session enrollment is optional.
- Graduate Students must maintain at least 8 units of graduate level classes (4000 and 5000 level), or otherwise maintain full time enrollment.
- Students who have completed ALL coursework requirements and need additional time to complete their thesis must enroll in UNIV 900 each term (equivalent to full time enrollment) to maintain continued student status..
- Students who CANNOT enroll in the comprehensive exam or submit their thesis due to the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) must enroll as a full-time student.
4. Only one (1) online class is counted towards a student's full-time status.
Reduced Course Load
If you enroll in less than the required number of units, you must submit a Request for Reduced Course Load to the International Office for approval. Failure to obtain approval PRIOR to dropping below full-time status will result in your falling out of F-1/J-1 status. Submitting a request does not mean an automatic approval. The International Office must review your request and supporting documents.
Concurrent Enrollment allows F-1 students to enroll in a limited number of classes at another institution while attending Cal State LA. Students may count a limited number of units from another institution toward their full-time enrollment requirement. Prior approval from the ISSO is required before a student can proceed with concurrent enrollment. Course completion is required at the end of the academic term to confirm the student maintained full-time enrollment for the given term. Students are responsible for communicating with their academic advisors regarding credit transfer for courses completed outside of Cal State LA.
You should first speak to an academic advisor in the department of the major you are interested. When you decide to change majors, you should submit necessary documents to the Registrar’s Office. After the information is updated in GET, submit the I-20 Request Form with the necessary documents to the International Office to request a new I-20 to reflect the change in major.
Leave of Absence
If you (as an F-1 Student) need to take a leave of absence from your academic program, you must complete the Leave of Absence request in the International Student Portal prior to the first day of classes or prior to dropping your courses (if taking a leave mid-semester). F-1 students must remain outside of the U.S. during the leave.
- By completing the Leave of Absence request in the International Student Portal in a timely manner, the ISSO will provide you with an "Authorized Early Withdrawal” in SEVIS which does not leave a negative mark on your immigration record.
- If you fail to complete the Leave of Absence request in the International Student Portal in a timely manner, the ISSO is required to close your SEVIS record for “Failure to Enroll” or "Unauthorized Withdrawal" which can cause problems in the future when you plan to return to continue your studies or if you need to apply for a new visa or other immigration benefits in the future.
SEVIS regulations do not permit F1 students to take a leave of absence without formally requesting/receiving approval for an LOA from the ISSO.
Applying for Leave
- Schedule an appointment with your International Student Advisor to discuss your plans.
- Complete the Leave of Absence request in the International Student Portal.
- Discuss your leave eligibility and academic plans with your academic advisor.
An “I-20 Immigration Documents” hold that prevents enrollment will be placed on your student record once your leave of absence request is approved. To remove the hold, you must follow the "Returning from Leave" instructions and request an I-20.
Returning from Leave
- Notify your International Student Advisor of your planned return to the U.S.
- Request a new I-20 in the International Student Portal.
- Pay the SEVIS fee as soon as you receive the new I-20.
- Renew F-1 visa (if applicable)
- If you are outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months, apply for a new F-1 visa.
- If you are outside the U.S. for less than 5 months, contact the U.S. embassy in your country to determine whether or not your F-1 visa needs to be renewed.
- Enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on the new I-20.
- Complete SEVIS Check-In and report your arrival in the U.S.
If you are placed on probation, schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor immediately.
If you are disqualified, schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor immediately.