Maintaining Student Status

International students to maintain their lawful F-1/J-1 immigration status while in the U.S. Failure to do so may have serious implications on one's stay in the U.S. and ability to  return in the future.

How to Maintain F-1/J-1 Status

  • Check-in with the Glavin Office of International Education for SEVIS registration upon arrival to campus, no more than 30 days after the program start date indicated on your Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Attend the college/university listed on your Form I-20(F-1)/ Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Engage in a full course of study during normal academic periods (12 credits or more)
  • Make normal progress towards completing your program of study
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times
  • Follow transfer and/or change of educational level procedures
  • Apply for program extension prior to the end date on your Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1) if unable to complete your studies by this date
  • Receive authorization before engaging in employment in the U.S.
  • Report a change of address/residence within 10 days of the change
  • Maintain adequate health insurance and provide documentation (J-1 requirement)

Full Course of Study

F-1/J-1 student status is granted only to students who plan to study full-time at an approved institution in the United States. Immigration regulations define full-time study for undergraduates as 12 credits per semester. Babson College defines full-time study as 12 credits per semester for both graduate and undergraduate students.

  • Undergraduate: 12 credits per semester, inlcuding exchange students
  • Graduate:
    • 12 credits per semester for MBA, MSEL, Visiting Student programs and exchange students
    • 9 credits per semester for MSBA, MSF, and CAM programs

Students may be considered to be maintaining valid F-1/J-1 status despite completing less than 12 credits in only a few circumstances. These include:


An F-1/J-1 student is considered to be in status during the annual or summer vacation if the student was in status the previous semester and intends to register for the next semester.

Valid Medical Circumstances

If a leave of absence or reduction in course load to less than full-time is needed for medical reasons, the student must notify the International Student Advisor (ISA) prior to withdrawing to less than full-time. The student will be required to provide the ISA with a letter from a health-care practitioner requiring or recommending the interruption or reduction in studies.

Valid Academic Circumstances

During the first semester of study in the U.S., a student may be able to reduce his/her course load due to initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper course level placement. The student‘s Class Dean or the Dean of the Graduate School must provide a statement describing the problem to the ISA in advance of the reduction in credits.

Final Semester

During the final semester, if a student does not need 12 credits to complete his/her program of study, s/he may take less than 12 credits. However, if the student fails or withdraws from one of these courses and must make it up the following semester, s/he may be considered to be out of status. Students should obtain approval prior to the start of the semester from the ISA.

F-1/J-1 students who do not fall into any of the categories above, and who fail to complete 12 credits each semester generally will not be able to benefit from privileges associated with F-1/J-1 status, such as:

  • Travel signature on the Form I-20 (F-1)/ DS-2019 (J-1) needed re-entry to the U.S.
  • On-campus employment
  • Curricular or Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1)
  • Transfer of SEVIS record to another U.S. institution

Address Reporting

International students must initially enter or review their address information within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. each semester. A student who lives on-campus will have automatic address updates through the campus systems but must reivew other information. Outside of the start of the semster reivew, address updates must be made within 10 days of the change. International stuents must use the Immigration Address Reporting Form to report this information, found on the Babson Portal > Smart Tools > Administrative > Immigration Information. Students' must also keep their information in Workday Student up to date.