Enrollment Requirements

F-1 Enrollment Requirements Webinar


CIE hosted a webinar regarding F-1 enrollment requirements for Fall 2023 and beyond. The main focus was online unit limitations.

 You can view the slides from the webinar here.

Full Time Enrollment

International Students in F-1 status are required by immigration regulations to be enrolled full time during the Fall and Spring semesters. 

Definition of Full time Enrollment: 

Undergraduate Students- undergrads are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units per semester. This includes students who are pursuing a 2nd Bachelor's degree.

Graduate Students and Post-Baccalaureate- graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of 8 units per semester. 

One class is typically 3 or 4 units each. 

Online Coursework

Immigration regulations allow for one class online or up to 3 units online per semester towards your minimum requirement.  You could take additional online courses beyond your minimum enrollment as well, if you like.  


  • Graduate student enrolling in 9 units (3 units, 3 classes)
    • 6 units in-person or hybrid and 3 units online meets the requirement
  • Graduate student enrolling in 8 units (4 units, 2 classes)
    • 4 units in-person or hybrid and 4 units online meets the requirement
  • Undergraduate student enrolling in 12 units (3 units, 4 classes)
    • 9 units in-person or hybrid and 3 units online meets the requirement
  • Undergraduate student enrolling in 15 units (3 units, 5 classes)
    • 9 units in-person or hybrid, 3 units online then the additional 3 units can be any modality and still meet the requirement. 

F-1 students can take more than 3 online credits as long as they meet the minimum traditional on-campus course requirement for their academic program

If you are in your final semester and you will be less than full time, your last class can NOT be online. 

Summer and Winter Terms

Summer is generally considered a vacation term for continuing students. To be considered a vacation term, you must meet these 2 requirements

  • The student has been enrolled in at least the preceding spring semester full-time
  • The student will be enrolled in courses during the next fall semester.

During your annual vacation, enrollment is optional and not reported to SEVIS. During summer vacation, students do not need any enrollment or they can enroll in as many classes they want in any class modality. 

If Summer is your final term, then it is not your vacation term. You must submit a Reduced Course Load to CIE if Summer is your final term. See below.

Winter term enrollment is also optional. If winter term is your last term, please inform CIE.

Final Term of Study (Fall, Spring, Winter or Summer)

If an F-1 student has additional course(s) to complete their degree but less than a full course load, they can qualify for a Reduced Course Load. If an F-1 student needs only one course to complete the program of study and the student intends to remain in the US, that course must be in-person or hybrid format. This will allow the student to maintain their visa status and be eligible to apply for work authorizations such as Optional Practical Training opportunities if they choose to do so.

If an F-1 student chooses to take online courses during their final semester, that student must do so from outside the US. In this case, a student will no longer be eligible for work authorizations such as Optional Practical Training.

Class Modality

Students must have in-person presence throughout the academic term.  The traditional format for courses is fully in-person and meets the F-1 in-person presence requirements.  Hybrid courses which consist of at least 51% in person components meet the F-1 in-person presence requirements.

  • In-person: You are required to meet regularly with a faculty member to complete the course requirements and attend lectures or other in-person interactive activities. 
  • Hybrid: You are required to meet both in-person and online. Class meetings (including the final) should be at least 51% in-person. Hybrid courses can be counted towards your F-1 full-time enrollment requirement as in-person courses.
  • On-line: You are required to complete ALL course requirements, lectures, or other activities online. This includes both synchronous and asynchronous courses. There are no required in-person meetings. A maximum of 3 online units per semester can be counted towards your F-1 full-time enrollment requirement out of a full-time schedule. However, this does not account for extra units, or more than 12 units for undergraduates and 8 units for graduates.  

F-1 students are not eligible to enroll in HyFlex classes.

Possible Exceptions to the Full-Time Enrollment Requirements

The immigration language for receiving permission to enroll less than full time is a "Reduced Course Load (RCL)".

Please review our Reduced Course Load information and form if you believe you may qualify for a Reduced Course Load. 

Academic Standing

Your academic standing could affect your F-1 status. It is important for you to maintain good academic standing while studying full time at Cal State East Bay.

Students will be placed on Academic Probation when they are not in good academic standing. International students are considered in valid F-1 status while on Academic Probation as they are maintaining full-time enrollment.  

If an international student is academically disqualified from CSUEB, he or she is no longer eligible to maintain F-1 status at CSUEB for the next semester. The student must find another school to attend in the U.S. and receive a transfer I-20 from that school, or return to his or her home country.  Please make sure to speak to both your Academic Advisor and International Student Advisor at CIE to discuss your options.  

For more detailed information, please visit the University Academic Policies page.