F-1/J-1 Rules

All international students who are in F-1 and J-1 visa status must follow a set of immigration regulations as outlined by the U.S. government in order to maintain their international student status. The following set of rules and regulations is a guide to properly maintaining international student status at Stanislaus State.

Full Course of Study

International students must be registered for a full course of study during fall and spring semesters:

  • Undergraduate students 12 units
  • Masters graduate students 8 units
  • Postgraduate, seeking second bachelor's degree 12 units

Student have the option to Enroll in summer or winter semesters but these terms are not required.

Online Courses: Only 3 units or one online course per semester is applicable to the full-time enrollment total.

Audit Courses: Audit course units are not applicable to the full-time enrollment total.

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment is limited to up to 20 hours a week when school is in session during fall and spring semesters and 40 hours a week during University vacations and summer vacation. Freshmen students should note that they are not authorized to begin on-campus employment until their second semester at the University.

Off-Campus Employment

In order for international students to work off-campus, they must obtain the proper work authorization from the Office of International Education and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

For F-1 students, off-campus work authorization options are:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Off-Campus Employment based on Economic Hardship

For J-1 students, off-campus work authorization option are:

  • Academic Training (AT)
  • Off-Campus Employment based on Economic Hardship

Maintaining Valid Immigration Documents

Maintain a valid I-20/DS 2019 and Passport, failure to do so will put you out of status.

Students are responsible for monitoring their expiration date on their I-20/DS-2019. If it is not possible to complete their academic program by that date, students must request a program extension before the expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019. Students who do not file a program extension in a timely manner will be considered out of status.

Students should keep their passport valid at all times. If the passport will expire soon, student must renew it through the embassy or consulate of their home country.

Change of Local Address

Students who change their local address must report the change to Office of International Education within 10 days of moving by submitting a change of local address form.


As an F-1 visa holder, students are able to bring dependents (spouse and/or children) during their study.  The F-1 visa holder will need to submit a copy of a bank statement for the total of the costs of one academic year plus $6,000 per dependent, a copy of each dependent’s passport, and a copy of their marriage certificate for a spouse.  The immigration status of an F-2 is dependent upon the status of the F-1 student.  The F-2 cannot remain in the U.S. after the F-1 student has departed.  As an F-2 visa holder, dependents are not able to work or study full time.

Special Situations

IF you feel you might need a Reduced Course Load, Leave of Absence or permission to work off campus due to severe economic hardship, contact the Office of International Education and set up an appointment with the office Coordinator to explore options.