Graduate Studies

Advising International Students

WIU International Students Have What Type of Visas?

F-1 student

  • F-1 is the most common immigration status for degree seeking international students. Prospective F-1 students will receive a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) document from WIU to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

J-1 student

  • J-1 students receive a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) document from either WIU or from the program sponsor that they will use to apply for the J-1 visa.

H visas

  • Some students may hold an H visa and do not follow the same rules as F and J visa holders.


What is Full-time Enrollment for International Students?

  • Undergraduates must be enrolled in 12 credit hours.
  • Graduate student must be enrolled in 9 credit hours.


Can an International Student Change Their Major/Degree Level?

  • Yes, students need their Form I-20 to reflect their current degree program and level of study; please have them contact the Immigration Specialist.


Does an International Student Need to Enroll Full-time in the Summer?

  • No, the student can choose to enroll or not enroll in any courses.  


Can International Students Take Online Courses?

  • F-1 international students can only count ONE online class toward their full-time enrollment.  Students can take more than one online course as long as only one is being counted toward their full-time enrollment.
  • If only one course is needed to complete the program of study, the student can’t enroll in just the online course. (Students can take the online course, but will be required to enroll in a face-to-face course as well).


Can International Students Pursue Online Degree Programs?

  • F-1 students cannot pursue online degrees while in the U.S, but can pursue an online degree from their home country.  


Do International Students Follow Immigration Regulations While Taking Online Courses in Their Home Country?

  • It depends.  If a student is taking courses online and has not taken any classes at WIU in-person (been issued a WIU Form I-20), there are no requirements to follow.  If a student has completed a semester at WIU, and then chooses to take the following semester online while abroad, the student should discuss this with the Immigration Specialist.


  Can Students Register Below Full-time?

  • Yes, under certain circumstances, F-1 students may receive authorization for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).  Usually this is when students have only one or two courses left to complete their degree in their final semester.  
  • The school's Immigration Specialist must approve the RCL after receiving the completed form signed by the student and advisor.


Can Students Enroll Concurrently at More Than One Institution?

  • Yes, as long as the combined enrollment amounts to a full-time course of study.
  • Students must attend another SEVIS-approved institution and consult with the Immigration Specialist.


Can F-1 Students Work On-campus?

  • F-1 students pursuing a full course of study may work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session.
  • When classes are not in session, they may work more than 20 hours per week.


Can F-1 Students Work Off-campus?

Off-campus work is prohibited unless it is specifically authorized under the regulations governing the student's particular immigration category. Working without authorization is an immigration status violation that can make the student subject to deportation. Before accepting or engaging in any kind of employment, students should consult the Immigration Specialist.


Who Should I Contact If I Have Any Questions?

Please contact Dana Sistko, Immigration Specialist, at 298-1806 or