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advising international students.

As you work with international students during registration periods, we would like to send a reminder concerning immigration regulations affecting F-1 visa-holders.  International students are frequently reminded through our orientations and monthly electronic newsletter to keep the following immigration regulations in mind as they pursue their studies at UNO:


  • To maintain full-time enrollment status of 12 credit hours for undergraduate study/ 9 credit hours for graduate study at all times except summer.  The few exceptions to this requirement are specified in the immigration regulations: (1)  Academic difficulties such as initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods (may be used only one time per academic level and only during the first or second semester), or improper course level placement ; (2) completion of the final semester of the course of study or degree program; (3) full-time work on thesis or dissertation; and (4) temporary illness or medical condition that does not permit full-time study.


  • To obtain approval by an international adviser (also called a designated school official or DSO) PRIOR to dropping below full-time status.  The reduced courseload must be approved by an international student adviser BEFORE the hours are dropped; otherwise, the student is in violation of his/her immigration status. Such violations can subject students to arrest, detention, and possible removal/deportation.  In some of these cases, the international adviser and the academic adviser can work together before a student drops a class  to recommend that a student substitute a current class for an independent study or another course. 


  • To obtain prior permission from the international adviser to take a class (required for the major) at another institution in combination with the majority (9 credits for undergraduates and 6 for graduates) of his/her credits taken at UNO.  The timing of this can be difficult because the student must be careful to be registered as a full-time student from the outset of the fall or spring semester.  Students are not required to take summer classes unless it is their first semester at UNO.


  • To enroll in no more than one class or three credits per semester 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.  Definition:  "An on-line class 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." 

UNO, like other colleges and universities across the U.S., is mandated by law to track all international students on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  International Studies and Programs uses SIS and SEVIS for record keeping and/or reporting the following events and situations required by the regulations:

  • legal name changes 
  • address changes (student must report to us within 10 days of a move) 
  • program changes
  • less than full-time enrollment (authorized or unauthorized by IS&P)
  • drop out/ non-attendance/failure to enroll
  • approaching course or degree completion
  • enrollment in more than one 3-hour distance learning course (not permitted by USCIS)
  • authorized employment
  • any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of the student being convicted of a crime