ISSS Approval to Add or Drop

  • Adding does not require any approval from ISSS.
  • We encourage students to use MAUI for drop requests - at any rate, they should not use both paper and MAUI.
  • Instructions for international students to drop online are found here.
  • ISSS must review and approve all drop requests that take an international student below full-time, as well as all drop requests that involve online courses regardless of the impact on total semester hours. Students receive notification via MyUI whenever they need to seek ISSS approval.
  • ISSS approval to drop courses can be given only while the semester of enrollment is still in session; retroactive drops cannot be approved.

On-Line Classes

  • Due to government regulations, only one on-line or distance education class of up to 3 s.h. can be counted each semester toward full-time equivalency. The class is considered “on-line” or “distance education” if it does not require the student’s physical attendance in a classroom for classes, exams, or “other purposes integral to completion of the class.

Part-Time Enrollment

U.S. immigration law requires international students to register for full-time study during each fall and spring semester. Full-time study is defined as 12 semester hours for undergraduates and 9 semester hours for graduate students. There are limited academic and medical circumstances in which an F-1 or J-1 international student may be registered part-time.

  • Academic Difficulty—may only be used once; limited options (difficulty with English language, reading, or American teaching methods) available primarily in student’s first year of study in the U.S.
    • A subcategory, called "Improper Course Level," can be used at any point during the student's program of study.
  • Final Semester of Study—option only available to degree-seeking undergraduate or master’s students.
  • Medical Condition-- may not be used more than 3 semesters.

Please note that students must seek advance approval from ISSS through the submission of a reduced course load request. These reasons must be reported to the federal SEVIS system and become a permanent part of the student's immigration record. This is not to be confused with the Registrar's Short Hours form.

Full-Time Equivalency

ISSS considers these circumstances to be “full-time equivalent.” The majority of these options are only available to degree-seeking graduate students with the exception of concurrent enrollment. Non-degree, professional improvement, and exchange students do not qualify for reduced course load authorization.

  • Graduate Assistantship and registered for at least 6 hours
  • Completed/is currently completing all required coursework and is preparing for a Comprehensive Examination
  • Completed/is currently completing all required coursework and is making normal progress on Thesis/Dissertation
  • Full-Time On-Campus Clinical Program in Dentistry
  • Concurrent Enrollment (also available to undergraduate degree-seeking students)

Please note that students must seek advance approval from ISSS through the submission of a reduced course load request. This is not to be confused with the Registrar's Short Hours form.

Students Enrolled in TAPE classes

  • F-1 or J-1 students who need assistance with English proficiency may be required to enroll in coursework with the TAPE program. While these courses do not count towards their degree and may show 0 s.h., ISSS considers one TAPE class to be equivalent to 3 s.h. and does count toward full-time for immigration purposes (it is possible they may not count for scholarship purposes).

Summer Registration

  1. New students admitted to begin studies during the summer must begin in the 8-week session that begins in June, and must be registered full-time (6 s.h. for undergraduate students and 5 s.h. for graduate students).
  2. Current students who were enrolled in spring and plan to enroll again in fall are not required by immigration rules to enroll during the summer as this is considered a vacation period. If such a student chooses to take courses, there is no minimum requirement.
  3. Students who return to the University of Iowa after an absence, and who choose to return during the summer, are required to enroll full-time in the 8-week session starting in June (same as group 1 above).
  4. Students completing their studies must be registered, but there is no minimum or maximum amount of hours. However, at least one course must be on-campus; international students are restricted from taking solely online/distance courses during the final semester of study.