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General Immigration Information

Maintaining F-1 Status

International Student Services (ISS) is available to assist F-1 students; however, it is the students' responsibility to abide by the laws which relate specifically to "nonimmigrant aliens" in the U.S.. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the F-1 student status. To maintain status, F-1 students need to:

  • Keep the passport valid at all times.
  • Report a change of address to ISS within 10 days of the change.
  • Register and successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits each quarter, unless ISS approves a vacation quarter or a reduced course load. Please see below for more information. 
  • Obtain appropriate permission to work on and off campus. Working off campus without authorization is a violation.
  • Keep the I-20 valid by:
    • Making progress towards completing the program before the expiration date on the I-20.
    • Following proper procedures for extending the I-20.
    • Following proper procedures when changing programs or an educational level.  The I-20 may need to be updated.
    • Following proper procedures for transferring to another SEVP-approved school.
  • Abide by the F-1 grace period rules and any special requirements, such as Special Registration requirements.
  • Depart from the U.S., transfer to another institution, apply for a change of status, or apply for Optional Practical Training no later than 60 days after completing the program of study.

Full Course Of Study - 12 Credits

F-1 students at MCC must enroll in 12 credits each quarter at MCC and not only in one of the five-week sessions, unless they have prior approval from ISS.

Online & Hybrid Courses -

  • According to federal regulations, no more than the equivalent of one online class or three credits per quarter may count towards full time enrollment.
  • There is no limit on the number of hybrid classes that may be counted towards full time enrollment.
  • F-1 students taking ESL courses may not count any online courses towards the full time requirement.
  • F-1 students may not enroll only in an online course, even if it is their last required class in the final quarter at MCC. They must also have physical presence on campus, meaning they need to take an on campus or hybrid class.
  • F-1 students may contact ISS with any questions about their schedules. We will be happy to assist.

Reduced Course Load (RCL) for enrolling in less than 12 credit hours

Please see ISS Forms for the "Reduced Course Load Form". F-1 students need to meet with an academic advisor to complete the form and turn it into ISS for review. These are the following reasons for a reduced course load:

  • Academic Difficulty RCL - F-1 students may request an RCL due to academic difficulty only once per degree level.  If F-1 students receive an academic difficulty RCL, they must resume a full course of study in the next available quarter in order to maintain status. Academic difficulty are limited to the following reasons:
    • Difficulty with English language or reading requirements
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods or
    • Improper course placement (registered for the wrong course level)
  • Medical RCL - F-1 students may request a medical RCL due to a temporary medical condition with an appropriate doctor’s letter recommending the RCL for medical reasons.  Requirements of the medical RCL include:
    • Letter from a US based licensed physician, medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist that recommends the F-1 student to take less than the minimum credits required for full time enrollment.
    • Receive prior approval from ISS.
    • No more than 12 months total of medical RCL is permitted per degree level
  • Final Quarter RCL - The ISS may authorize a final quarter RCL if F-1 students are in the final quarter of study and have less than 12 credits remaining to meet academic program requirements.  F-1 students may request an RCL due to final quarter only once per educational level: ESL, certificate of achievement, associate. The students must complete the requirements in the quarter that the RCL is approved for in order to remain in status.


F-1 students are eligible for annual vacation after completing three consecutive quarters at MCC. Summer Quarter is not an automatic vacation quarter. ISS may consider past enrollment at another institution if there was no break before the transfer. F-1 students need to complete and submit a "Vacation Request" form to ISS for review. The form is available in ISS Forms.

Concurrent Enrollment

F-1 students may register for a minimum of 6 credit hours at MCC and take additional credits at another Dept. of Homeland Security - approved institution to count towards full time enrollment.

The students will need to complete a "Concurrent Enrollment" form, and provide ISS with a copy of the registration from the other institution. At the end of the other institution's term, the students will need to provide proof of the final grade to indicate that they completed the course and met the full time requirement.

Please contact ISS with questions or to request a form.

Out of Status

There are several situations where an F-1 student may violate the student status. This is often referred to as being "out-of-status." F-1 students who are out of status will need to leave the U.S., try to regain status by re-entry, or apply for reinstatement. Information about reinstatement is available on the ISS Forms page. Please make an appointment to discuss the regaining status by re-entry option.

Extending Your Stay:

F-1 students are required to apply, and must be eligible to extend their stay according to federal regulations, for an extension of stay when they need to more time to complete an educational program for longer than the allotted time on the I-20. The Program Extension form is available on the ISS Forms webpage. F-1 students will need to make an appointment (not walk in) to see an academic advisor before making and appointment with a DSO in ISS. The application should be submitted within the 30-day period before the expected completion date noted on the I-20.

F-1 Students Should email International Student Services at if they:

  • want an appointment
  • want to travel outside the U.S. before completing the studies at MCC. Page two of the I-20 must be signed to support re-entry into the U.S.
  • cannot take full-time classes (at least 12 credit hours).
  • want to work on or off campus.
  • desire to change status.
  • plan to transfer to another SEVP-approved institution.
  • need to update contact information.