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Maintaining your visa status

Application for Reduced Course Load (ARCL) 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 and J-1 students to maintain a full course of study every semester. Undergraduates must take a minimum of 12 units. Graduate students must take a minimum of 9 units, and be enrolled every semester. The ISC is required to transmit student enrollment information to the DHS each semester.

DHS regulations allow a reduced course load under certain circumstances, but it must be pre-approved by an SDSU International Student Advisor or you will be in violation of your immigration status.


ARCL Eligible reasons for approval

Before you enroll in a reduced course load, review the reasons below to determine if your reason is eligible for approval for a reduced course load:


How to apply for a reduced course load

Remember to re-apply each semester

It is your responsibility as an international student to submit the ARCL form each semester you will enroll in a reduced course load. You will not be contacted or reminded to submit the form.

Serious consequences if you do not submit the ARCL  

If you do not submit the ARCL form, or if your ARCL form is not approved, your SEVIS immigration record will be terminated, and you will become ineligible for any benefits of the F-1 or J-1 status. It is possible that you will have to depart the United States and discontinue your studies. This could also result in a problem with a future visa application or entry to the U.S. To ensure that you are maintaining proper enrollment status, you must submit the ARCL form to the ISC by the deadline and receive approval by the ISC.