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Office of International Student & Faculty Services

F1 Basics

Prospective international students must provide the following documents before she/he should be admitted:

  • A completed (and signed) Morgan State University admission application.  The applicant MUST provide her/his permanent address in home country.  Applications without a foreign address should not be processed. 
  • Academic credentials that meet or exceed Morgan's admission requirements.
  • Credible evidence of financial support for the first 12 months of study

Students who are attending another institution here in the United States MUST provide (in addition to the above) a completed Transfer Eligibility Form, copies of current/previous I-20(s), visa and ID pages of passport and copy of I-94 (front & back).

  1. Under no circumstances should an international student be granted conditional admission.
  2. The student should also note that she/he must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before requesting a visa interview.  Instructions on fee payment can be found at

As an F-1 visa student admitted to the United States you must meet certain obligations set by the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services. The general obligations are as follows:

  • Have a valid passport with an expiration date of no more than 6 months.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend.
  • Continue to carry a full course of study. A full course of study is to complete 12 (9 for graduate students) credits per semester, fall and spring. The summer and winter sessions are optional.
  • Leave the U.S. by the anticipated completion date on your I-20, or, by that date, apply for a program extension, OPT, or another program of study.
  • Limit authorized employment, both on campus and off, to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.
  • Report a change of residence within 10 days of said change.

Arrival & Registration

Upon arrival in the United States, student must report to the PDSO/DSO to present travel documents (passport, I-94, and I-20).  PDSO/DSO will make copies of each document and start a file on the student.

  • The student is required to complete the SEVIS Data Form (provided by PDSO/DSO.
  • Attend general orientation for freshmen and transfer students.
  • Attend a mandatory orientation for F-1 students (regardless of classification and level of study).
  • The student must complete the registration process (placement test for new freshmen, advising, course selection, and bill payment).

How to Stay in Legal F-1 Visa Status

Full-course of study requirements for post-secondary programs

  1. F-1 post-secondary students have a number of requirements they must abide by to remain compliant.
  2. F-1 undergraduate students at a college or university must take at least 12 credit hours per term.
  3. F-1 students in postgraduate programs at a college, university, conservatory or seminary must take a full course of study as certified by the institution.
  4. F-1 students in other post-secondary liberal arts, fine arts or other non-vocational or English language learning training programs must meet 18 clock hours per week if the majority is classroom instruction or 22 clock hours per week if the majority of the program instruction does not take place in the classroom, such as laboratory work

Online courses and "Distance Learning"

An online, or distance learning, course for the purpose of international student regulations means a course that is primarily offered through technology and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examinations or other purposes integral to the completion of the class.

  1. Only one online or distance learning class can count toward a full course of study for an F-1 student during each term or semester.
  2. No online or distance learning classes may count toward an ESL student's full course of study requirement

Talk to your DSO to verify your schedule meets the requirements to maintain your status.

Allowable Deviations from the full-course-of-study requirement

  1. A valid medical excuse. "A student who is compelled by illness or other medical conditions to interrupt or reduce a full course of study is considered to be in status during the illness or other medical condition. A medical excuse must be presented to the PDSO/DSO showing the dates of your disability. If approved, the PDSO/DSO will effect appropriate notification through SEVIS.
  2. Vacation. An F-1 visa student is considered in status during the summer and winter sessions. Students are not required to attend the summer and winter sessions.
  3. Valid academic reasons for enrolling less than full-time. An F-1 student may be allowed to enroll in less than a full-time course load, if it has been determined the student had initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper course level placement.
  4. Undergraduates completing programs during the course term. An F-1 visa student who needs fewer than 12 hours to complete his or her program of study is considered to be pursuing a full course of study if the student enrolls in the number of credit hours necessary to complete the program in the final term.
  5. Post-completion practical training. A student on practical training following completion of studies is considered by USCIS to be pursuing a full course of study.