**Note:  All immigration information below pertains only to international students on F-1 or J-1 visas.  If an international student is on any other type of visa, the regulations are different.  If a non F-1 or J-1 holder has questions about what s/he may or may not do, s/he should contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for additional information.   

Employment (including unpaid internships)

International students are not permitted to work off-campus in any capacity, including unpaid internships, without prior approval of ISSS   The U.S. immigration laws are extremely strict regarding employment.  Off-campus employment may be permitted with authorization for “Curricular Practical Training (CPT)” under limited circumstances.  The employment, whether paid or unpaid, must be directly related to an F-1 student's major field of study.  The student MUST either receive credit from a course (such as an internship course or an independent study) related to their major field of study or the work must be a requirement for the student's major field of study as outlined in the JMU course catalog.   

Full-Time Status

International students must maintain full-time status (12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduates), except in very limited situations, which must be approved prior to dropping courses.  Therefore, international students planning to drop a class must consider whether the drop would take them below full-time status.   For more information, see: http://www.jmu.edu/global/isss/student-immigration/course-of-study.shtml

Reporting Requirements

International students must report to ISSS at the beginning of each semester, as ISSS is required to register their record in SEVIS each semester.  In addition, all changes of majors or minors must be updated in the student’s SEVIS record.  International students should be encouraged to pay attention to emails sent by ISSS and follow through on all reporting requirements. 

Extending Graduation Date

It is common knowledge that it sometimes takes students more time than was first anticipated to complete all the educational components of their chosen degree, especially if they’ve changed or added majors or minors.  For an international student, this means that they also need to extend their SEVIS record/Form I-20.  International students who are not graduating in the time anticipated (4 years for Undergraduate students, 5 – 5.5 years for Undergraduate students who started in the International Study Center, or 1 – 4 years for Graduate students) should be advised to check their Form I-20 and contact ISSS to obtain an extension if necessary.  

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