International Students and Scholars Office


July 15, 2020 - Updated Frequently Asked Questions for SERV (Please note that the answers in this document may be subject to change. 
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is monitoring the recent modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and how these changes may affect our international students.
Since UNI will offer classes that are face-to-face, hybrid, and online in the fall semester, international students have a number of options that will help them maintain their F-1 status and remain in the U.S. UNI's teaching delivery modes will give international students the opportunity to take classes on campus and from abroad.  (ForwardTogether)



Can I take one online class and the rest only hybrid?

Yes; one online course per semester can be counted toward a full course of study under regular F-1 regulations.

What ICE guidelines apply for J-1 students?

J-1 students may also maintain status by continuing full-time study from outside the U.S., or from within the U.S. in face-to-face instructional situations or hybrid situations. J-1 students at UNI should keep in communication with ISSO staff about their enrollment plans.

Can I take online classes from my home country and maintain my F-1 immigration status if UNI is offering face-to-face?

Yes, if you enroll in a full-time online course load for your level of study:  At least 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and at least 9 credit hours for graduate students (Graduate students in fewer than 9 hours may still be considered full-time if working full-time on thesis, exams, projects, research, etc. that is required for the degree program. Please communicate with the ISSO if this might apply to you.)

Due to COVID-19 I cannot return to the U.S. Can I take online classes and maintain my F-1 status?

Yes (same answer as above)

If I take online classes from my home country, do I need to have a minimum of credits?

Yes, if you desire to maintain your F-1 status and keep your SEVIS record Active you must continue to comply with F-1 full-time study requirements. There is no minimum number of credits if you DO NOT wish to maintain F-1 status and you wish to study from home part-time. If you end your F-1 status like this, you will need a new I-20 form issued from a new SEVIS record and you will need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again ($350) before you may return to the U.S. for a future semester.

 Please note that these rules can change from day to day. Do not hesitate to contact ISSO.
Isabela Varela, Director,
Ross Shupbach, Immigration Advisor,