Current F-1 Students

Registration, Attendance, and Course Load

Current f-1 students

Registration & Attendance: You must register at and attend the school indicated on your I-20.

Course Load: You must register as a full-time student when school is in session. For undergraduate students, full-time is defined as a minimum of 12 credits. For graduate students the requirement is 9 credits (6 credits if on a full assistantship) or registration for Master's Thesis or Doctoral Research.

Reduction in Course Load: You may register for a lesser course load if

  • you will complete all degree requirements by the end of the semester and do not need a full course load to graduate
  • you are experiencing academic difficulties due to
    • initial difficulties with the English language
    • initial difficulties with reading requirements
    • unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
    • improper course level placement
  • you have a documented medical condition

You must complete and submit OISS’s online Reduced Course Load Request eForm at least two weeks before the start of the semester you would like to take a lesser course load.

  • Login to eOISS
    • Under the heading F-1 (or J-1) Student Services, choose “Reduced Course Load Request".
  • Before submitting your eForm, please meet with your Academic Advisor.
    • After you submit your eForm, your advisor will be sent an email notification to approve your request.

After your eForm has been approved by your Academic Advisor (and the Graduate School, if applicable), an OISS Advisor will authorize your reduced course load in SEVIS.

Health Insurance

As a condition of enrollment, all international students are required to purchase and enroll in UNH's Student Health Benefits Plan (SHBP).

To view the brochure, visit UNH's Health & Wellness.


Within the U.S.: You have the right to travel freely within the U.S. provided you maintain your legal F-1 status and have your passport and immigration documents in your possession.

Outside the U.S. with return planned to the same school: You must consult the OISS in advance regarding travel authorization and the necessary documentation required to facilitate your reentry to the U.S.

Outside the U.S. with return planned to a different school: You must consult the OISS in advance regarding your proposed travel and change of schools. If the change is permissible, you must obtain a new Form I-20 from your new school before you attempt to reenter the U.S.

Completion of Study

Upon completion of studies, you may have the right to a) continue study at the same school or transfer to a different school for a higher academic degree, certificate or program of academic work; b) apply for Optional Practical Training; or c) take up to 60 days to depart the U.S.

If you complete your studies before the expiration date listed on your I-20, you will have 60 days to prepare for departure. If you choose to remain in the U.S. for more than 60 days following the end of your program (without entering a new program or Optional Practical Training), you will be in violation of your immigration status, could be subject to deportation, and/or may be denied entry to the U.S. in the future.

All foreign nationals in the United States are issued "immigration documents" indicating the type of immigration status one holds. The information on these documents determines the nature of activities permitted under the terms of the particular immigration status.

Every foreign national who enters the U.S. legally is given an "immigration status" upon entry. This immigration status determines the types of activities the foreign national can engage in and the length of time he/she is eligible to remain in the United States.

Online Programs Restrictions

Regulatory Citation [8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)]

For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student's course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student's full course of study requirement.

What This Means

At UNH, full time enrollment per semester is equivalent to 9 credits for Graduate students (6 credits for students with full assistantships) and 12 credits for Undergraduate students. Students in degree programs are not required to enroll in courses during the summer.

  • No more than 3 online credits or 1 course per semester may count towards the "full course of study" requirement. Upon meeting the full-time requirement, a student may add as many distance education or online courses as he or she wishes.
  • Students in their final semester of study who have less than a full-time course load left to complete their program cannot take any online or distance education courses.
  • During an official summer break, students may take as many online or distance education courses from UNH or another institution (with approval from their Academic Advisor) as they wish.

OISS Advisors welcome questions and are available for consultation to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Extending Your I-20

The following information outlines the procedures for F-1 students to extend their permission to stay in the U.S.

The program end date on your Form I-20 is the date by which you are expected to complete the requirements for your current program. If you are unable to do so by that date, you will need to request an extension at least 60 days prior to your program end date. Lateness in submitting an extension request will make you ineligible to continue (or to apply for) benefits provided to F-1 students. Employment (even on-campus employment through a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship), applying for transfer to another school, practical training, or other F-1 benefits will be jeopardized.

You may apply for an extension if:

  • You expect to exceed the time limitation indicated in the program end date on your Form I-20, and
  • You have continuously maintained lawful F-1 status, and
  • The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic reasons, or compelling and documented medical reasons. Delays in completing program requirements which are caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for extension of an academic program.

Complete and submit OISS's online Program Extension Request eForm at least 60 days prior to the program end date on your Form I-20.

  • Before submitting your eForm, please meet with your Academic Advisor.
    • After you submit your eForm, your advisor will be sent an email notification to approve your request.
  • To submit eForm, login to eOISS.
    • Under the heading F-1 Student Services, choose "Program Extension Request".

After your eForm has been approved by your Academic Advisor, an OISS Advisor will contact you regarding the financial documentation you will need to provide.

After financial documentation has been provided, an OISS Advisor will issue you a new Form I-20 with a revised program end date.

If you have been accepted into a new degree program at UNH, please complete and submit OISS's online Change in Degree Level Request eForm at least 60 days before your current academic program ends.

  • Login to eOISS
    • Under the heading F-1 Student Services, choose "Change in Degree Level Request".

After your eForm has been submitted, an OISS Advisor will issue you a new Form I-20 with your new degree level.