Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I maintain F-1 or J-1 status?
- Can I work while taking classes?
- What about traveling while I am a student?
- I have a family member who wants to visit. What do I need to do?
- How many credit hours do I need to take?
- I was in college in my country. Do those credits transfer here?
- Do I have to buy health insurance for myself and my dependents?
- What if I need more time to finish my degree than is authorized on my I-20?
Q. How do I maintain F-1 or J-1 status?
A. To maintain F-1 status, you must:
- Attend the school that you are authorized to attend
- Maintain Full-Time Status of class work each semester, except during summer vacation
- Keep your passport valid 6 months in advance of the expiration date
- Keep the International Student Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) updated with your new address
- Leave the U.S. by the anticipated completion date shown on the I-20 Form or 60 days after completion of your degree program, or, if eligible, you may apply for an Extension through the International Student Advisor - you will be required to provide copies of your passport, visa, and I-94 to the International Student Advisor (email@example.com)
To maintain J-1 Status, you must:
- Do all of the above, except you must leave the U.S. within 30 days after completion of your degree program
- The Department of State requires you show proof of health insurance during your entire stay in the U.S.
Q. Can I work while taking classes?
A. You can work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. During winter break, spring break, and summer break, you can work 40 hours on campus. Please contact the International Student Services Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need a social security card.
Q. What about traveling while I am a student?
A. If you plan to leave the U.S. temporarily, you must have the International Student Services Office sign your I-20 or DS-2019.
Q. I have a family member who wants to visit. What do I need to do?
A. The International Students Services Office will be happy to write a letter of invitation for your family. Please complete an Invitation Letter Request and bring it to the International Student Services Office with financial documentation.
Q. How many credit hours do I need to take?
A. To maintain Full-Time Status at the Undergraduate Level, you must be enrolled in 12 credit hours. To maintain Full-Time Status at the Graduate Level, you must be enrolled in 9 credit hours. You must maintain a Full-Time Course load for the duration of your studies. There are special circumstances that may allow you to drop below full-time:
- Academic Difficulty
- Medical Emergency
- Last semester before graduation
- Thesis, Dissertation, and the Equivalent
Each of the above situations requires documentation and has specific rules. You must receive permission from the International Student Services Office in each case, so your record can be accurately updated with the Department of Homeland Security. If you have questions, please contact the International Student Services Advisor at email@example.com or 605-677-5332.
Q. I was in college in my country. Do those credits transfer here?
A. Transcripts from U.S. schools should be submitted to the Assistant Director of Admissions for review for acceptance of hours. If you would like to transfer credit from an Institution abroad, start by getting a course-by-course evaluation by Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. Please have the report sent to the Registrar at USD.
Q. Do I have to buy health insurance for myself and my dependents?
A. Yes. All international students are required to buy health insurance for themselves and accompanying dependents for the entire duration of their stay. This is a Board of Regents policy which cannot be waived unless the student's insurance is paid for by his/her government or sponsoring agency. For more information, visit Insurance Requirements for International Students.
Q. What if I need more time to finish my degree than is authorized on my I-20?
A. You may be eligible for an extension. Please contact the International Student Services Office to determine your eligibility.