F-1 Student Visa Regulations

F-1 students' main purpose for being in the United States is to be a student. It is your responsibility to maintain your legal status while in the United States.

The only people qualified to give visa regulation advice are located in our department. Immigration regulations may change, so please contact IPS if you have any questions.

To ensure you are maintaining your F-1 status, you must:

  • Keep your documents current.
  • Keep all old I-20s
  • Maintain a full-time course load.
  • Report changes.
  • Have no unauthorized employment.
  • Obtain a travel signature before leaving the United States.
  • Show proof of health insurance.
  • Notify IPS if you plan to transfer to another U.S. institution.
  • File income taxes.

Make arrangements to depart the United States, transfer to another institution, and change program level or visa status within 60 days of completing your program.

Course Load Requirement

The following are the full-time course load requirements for students at Benedictine University:

  • For undergraduate students, full time is 12 credits per semester.
  • For graduate students, full time is 8 credits per quarter or 9 credits per semester
  • Online classes do not count toward this requirement.

If you are unable to maintain full-time enrollment, see your international student advisor immediately. Do not drop below full-time status unless an international student advisor has authorized it in SEVIS.

Part-time enrollment may be authorized for:

  • Severe difficulty adjusting to the U.S. educational system/difficulties with the English language in the first semester.
  • Medical need (detailed documentation from a U.S. physician required).
  • Student is in his/her last semester and taking the necessary number of credits needed to complete all degree requirements.

Unacceptable reasons for part-time enrollment include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor grades in a prior semester.
  • Fear of failing a class.
  • Lack of money to pay tuition.
Travel plans

International students are eligible for annual vacation terms once per year. Students must be enrolled full time for three quarters or two semesters in order to be eligible.

Please submit the Vacation Term Request Form to your advisor prior to taking a term off.

Grace Periods

F1 visa holders are provided a 60 day Grace Period at the end of their program.  The period starts that day after their program end date listed on the I-20 or the end date listed on the EAD card.  Students can do to the following during a grace period: 

  • Go back to their home country
  • Apply for OPT or STEM OPT (if eligible) 
  • Apply to a new degree program at BenU 
  • Apply to a new degree program at another institution 
Health Insurance

IPS strongly recommends that all international students obtain health insurance while they are studying at Benedictine University.  We work with GeoBlue to offer students a discounted rate at health insurance.  Download their guide to student guide for information on how to obtain insurance.