In general, J-1 students must be registered for a “full course of study.” Online classes do not count towards full-time enrollment. “Full-time” is defined as at least:
- 12 credits each quarter for undergraduate students
- 10 credits each quarter for graduate students
- 1 credit each quarter for students in dissertator status
Review the General Graduate Student Policies set by the Graduate School for more information and exceptions.
Exceptions to the Full-Time Enrollment Requirement
The J-1 regulations allow for some exceptions to the full-time rule. Most of the exceptions require advance permission from your ISS adviser. Do not register for fewer than the required number of credits or withdraw from a course without first receiving permission from ISS. Part-time studies could jeopardize your stay in the U.S. and make you ineligible for J-1 benefits. These are the exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement.
Annual Vacation Quarter
You may take a vacation quarter and remain in the U.S. if you have completed three full-time consecutive quarters and are eligible and intend to register for the quarter following the vacation. A student who arrives in the U.S. for the first time to begin study winter or spring quarter may take the first summer as a vacation quarter. Please contact your ISS adviser if you will be taking a quarter other than summer as your vacation.
Valid Academic Reasons
To apply for part-time enrollment permission for an academic reason, you will need to upload a support letter from your academic adviser or course instructor.
To apply for part-time enrollment permission for a medical condition, you will need to provide a support letter from a medical professional recommending the reduced course of study.
Final Quarter (Meaning Graduation Quarter or Last Quarter of Exchange)
You must register for at least one credit at UW in your final quarter. Here are the instructions to request permission for part-time enrollment:
- Degree Students: email your ISS adviser
- Exchange Students: Review the Required Course Load information on the UW Study Abroad office website (scroll to the middle of the page). If you meet the requirements to enroll part-time in the final quarter of your exchange, submit the “Part-Time Enrollment Request Form” at the link above.
Graduate students registered for thesis or dissertation credit may register for fewer than 10 credits and be considered full-time for immigration purposes.