Full Time Enrollment and In-Person Course Requirements

The primary purpose of an F-1 visa, is for students to study in the United States. All F-1 students are required to take a full course load each academic term. The University of Redlands confirms every term that all F-1 students are fully enrolled. A full course load varies based on the academic program you are enrolled in. A full course load for:

    • CAS undergraduate students is 12 credits per semester
    • SBS undergraduate students is 12 credits per semester
    • SBS graduate students is 8 credits per semester
    • SOE graduate students is 8 credits per semester
    • GST graduate students is 8 credits per semester

All F-1 students are only eligible to take a maximum of one course per term online. All other coursework must be completed in-person.

Reduced Course Load

Students should not drop below a full course load without speaking to an OISS staff member. In some limited circumstances, an F-1 student can be authorized to take less than a full course load while maintaining their F-1 immigration status. The limited exceptions to get authorized for a reduced course load:

Academic Difficulties

    • This includes improper course level placement, initial difficulty with reading requirements, initial difficulty with the English language and unfamiliarity with US teaching methods
    • This option can only be used for the initial academic term and a student must maintain a minimum of half number of credits required for a full course load. Student must begin second academic term with a full course load.

Illness or Medical Concern

      • Student must provide medical documentation from a licensed:
        • Medical doctor
        • Doctor of Osteopathy
        • Clinical psychologist
      • The reduced course load cannot exceed 12 month aggregate per program level
      • This may excuse students from all classes.
      • The reduced course load must be renewed for each academic term

To Complete Course of Study in Current Term

    • This can only be used in a student’s final term if they can complete the program with fewer classes.
    • Student must be enrolled in at least one required class (must be in person).

Can Students Take Courses at Other Universities or Colleges While Enrolled at Redlands?

Yes, F-1 students may be able to take a course at a community college or a summer course at another university while enrolled and getting their degree at Redlands. This is called concurrent enrollment. Students would need to meet with a OISS team member to discuss their possibilities and next steps. The college/university where the student plans to take classes would need to be a SEVIS approved school and the student would be expected to take a class or two, not receive a degree. Since the University of Redlands is the institution who issued the student’s I-20, approval would be needed and a letter would be issued to the other institution outlining that the student is in active status at Redlands and granting permission to the other institution for the student to enroll in pre-determined coursework.

If a student wishes to get a degree from another institution, the student would need to transfer.


A transfer of a student’s SEVIS record needs to occur in the following situations:

  • When a student transfers from Redlands to another institution to complete their degree
  • When an active student completes their current degree and gets accepted to a masters/PhD/etc. program at another institution
  • When an active student on OPT gets accepted to another univerity’s degree program.

Any student considering a transfer must be in communication with the OISS team. To initiate a transfer out from Redlands, the OISS team will need:

  • Written confirmation of your acceptance to the other institution
  • SEVIS code for the other institution
  • Date to release your SEVIS record to the other institution

For students transferring before they complete their degree at Redlands they should be in touch with their academic advisors and also complete any University of Redlands withdrawal procedures.

Leave of Absence

F-1 students can take a leave of absence (authorized early withdrawal) due to a family emergency, personal matter or another circumstance that requires the student to leave the US prior to their program’s completion. Authorized early withdrawals are not needed for planned academic breaks (summer break for programs that do not run year round breaks between semesters, etc.).

There are guidelines as to how a student requests an authorized early withdrawal. Students must:

  1. Contact the OISS Office to discuss their options.
  2. Speak to their academic advisor and complete the LOA process for their school/college
  3. Complete OISS’s Leave of Absence from the University of Redlands by F-1 Student Form and submit it to OISS (
  4. Make their request prior to withdrawing from class or departing the US. If a student requests an authorized early withdrawal after the first day of classes, the student must currently be enrolled full-time for the term they are requesting a leave of absence from to be in status and granted an authorized early withdrawal.

Once granted an authorized early withdrawal, a student’s status in SEVIS will be terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal. Students must then depart the country within 15 days. If a student does not depart within 15 days they will be in violation of their student visa status and this may have negative implications on their ability to reenter the US and/or apply for another visa.

Depending on how long a student is on leave, makes a difference as to how/when a student can return to the US.

For leaves of less than 5 months the following applies.

OISS can request that your SEVIS account be reactivated. The earliest OISS can request reactivation is 60 days before the start a student’s returning term. If your account is reactivated, the earliest a student can re-enter the US is 30 days before the start of classes. Students should not attempt to re-enter the US before receiving confirmation from OISS that their SEVIS reactivation was approved. If students attempt to enter without approval, they will be denied entry.

A SEVIS reactivation will allow a student to use their current I-20 to re-enter the US and if approved, they will keep the same SEVIS ID number and record, with continuous F-1 status. If a student’s F-1 visa stamp is valid, they can use it for re-entry. However, if a student’s F-1 visa stamp is expired, they will need to apply for a new visa.

Students should contact OISS up to 60 days before their planned return to Redlands and provide the OISS office with the following information:

  • Proof of full-time enrollment for upcoming academic term
  • Copy of flight itinerary

Upon receipt of these materials, OISS will submit a request to have the student’s SEVIS record returned to active status. This may take 2-3 weeks, so do not delay in contacting OISS. Reactivation requests are adjudicated by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). If a student’s reactivation request is denied, they must apply for a new I-20 and F-1 visa to re-enter the US. If approved, OISS will notify the student once their record has been returned to active status, and they may apply for your visa and/or return to the US.

For a leave of absence for more than 5 months, the process is different.

For leaves of more than 5 months, students are required to get a new SEVIS ID and I-20 and are also obligated to pay the SEVIS fee again.

Once a student has been readmitted to Redlands and the OISS has received the following work on the issuance of a new I-20 can begin:

  • Proof that the student has completed the return from leave of absence process at Redlands/been readmitted to the U of R
  • A copy of the photo and information page of the passport
  • Proof of sufficient funding for the academic program that is less than six months old

If a student needs to apply for a new visa (if the current F-1 visa is expired or will expire before a student returns to the US) they must obtain a new F-1 visa) and the issuance of the new I-20 must be done before the visa appointment.

If a student’s F-1 visa is still valid at the time of re-entry, current Dept of State and SEVP guidance indicates that students do not need to apply for a new, regardless of length of time outside the United States.  Because a new SEVIS record with a new SEVIS number is created for the student in this situation, the SEVIS ID associated with the student’s previous visa will not match their new I-20. Students should be aware that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has occasionally been inconsistent in their treatment of students re-entering with an old visa and a new I-20 with new SEVIS ID. We recommend that students print current SEVP guidance and travel with it, in case they face any issues.