Important Immigration Reminders from ISS

Please be aware of the following important immigration reminders so that you are able to maximize your experience at UW-Madison while maintaining your valid immigration status with the federal government.

Maintaining your valid immigration status is your responsibility—let ISS be your resource. It is beneficial to consult ISS on your academic, career, and personal plans in the U.S.

Please read the following information closely. It will provide a quick overview of what you need to be thinking about each semester. Click on the links for additional information.

Enrollment Reminders

  • Full-time Enrollment
    • All F-1 and J-1 international students are required to be enrolled full-time during the fall and spring semesters (12 credits for undergraduates; 8 credits for graduates). Additional enrollment requirements for graduate assistants, dissertators, ESL, etc. can be found on our website.
    • Federal immigration regulations allow for a reduced course load in certain circumstances, which are outlined on our Reduced Course Load (RCL) form. If the reasons on the RCL form do not match your situation, please come to the ISS office to consult an ISS advisor.
  • Online Enrollment
    • F-1 Students: No more than three online credits can count toward your full-time enrollment requirement.  In other words, an undergraduate must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 in-person credit hours, the rest can be online. A graduate student must be enrolled in a minimum of 5 in-person credit hours, the rest can be online.
    • J-1 Students: Full-time enrollment must be met by traditional, in-person courses only. Online course enrollment cannot count toward your full-time enrollment requirement.
    • It is not recommended that students enroll in non-UW Madison courses during their final year of study, especially UW-Extension Independent Learning.
  • Final Semester Enrollment
    • If you have degree requirements remaining that are less than the full-time credit load, you may be granted permission to enroll for only those courses required for the degree program. In this case, you are required to complete and submit the Reduced Course Load (RCL) form for ISS approval.
    • On-campus credits are required. If you will enroll only in online courses, you cannot remain in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student.
    • You must be completing credits required of your declared degree program(s). If you have satisfied all degree requirements, you will need to review our Program Completion Checklist for post-completion options and consult an ISS advisor.
  • Add, Drop, & Withdrawal Deadlines
    • All requests must be submitted by the deadline established by the university. Be mindful of ISS’s 10 business day processing times and PLAN AHEAD. Failure to meet a deadline may have serious consequences to your immigration status and/or academic record.
    • To drop below a full-time course of study, you must first have permission from ISS.
    • To withdraw from all classes, you must have permission from ISS. Consult an ISS advisor.


Immigration Documents

  • I-20/DS-2019
  • Passport
    • Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times. Passport renewal questions should be directed to your country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.
  • Address Changes
    • While you are enrolled, report any change in U.S. or foreign address in your Student Center within ten days of the change.
  • Other changes to your academic record, such as a change or addition of a major, must be reported to ISS.


Final Semester Reminders


Health & Wellness

  • Stay Healthy!
    • Get a flu shot and/or other vaccinations through UHS.
  • Stay Well!
    • Your overall wellness is important for your academic, personal, and professional success.
  • Stay Safe!
    • Always be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself, your belongings, and your identity.


ISS Events & Programs

  • Stay up-to-date with events and programs specifically for international students, including immigration-related workshops, health and wellness, academic support, and social engagement.
  • International Reach: A Cross-Cultural Speakers’ Program
    • Become an International Reach Ambassador to speak about your country, culture, or current events.
  • BRIDGE: International Friendship Program