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International students have a responsibility to obey a special set of immigration laws while in the United States. In addition to these laws, international students must continue to follow all other U.S. laws.

Course Load

Undergraduate students must maintain at least 12 credit hours; graduate students must maintain at least 9 credit hours. Never drop a class without first talking to an International Student Adviser.

Immigration Documents

Keep your passport and I-20/DS-2019 up to date. Renew your passport at least 6 months before it expires. Carry a copy of your immigration documents with you at all times while you are in the United States. 

Your Address

International students must report new address information to their International Student Advisor. Students can report their new address/name online.


International students must be careful about working in the United States because not all employment is legal or allowable for them. To avoid accidentally working illegally, please contact an International Student Adviser for more information. 

Legal/Illegal/Volunteer Work 

International students are legally allowed to work on-campus when Illinois State University is their employer.

  • Students may work up to 20 hours/week when school is in session, and up to 28 hours on campus when school is on break.
  • J-1 students must receive work authorization in writing from their International Student Advisor before starting any job. 

Students must be careful not to accidentally engage in what immigration considers illegal employment. Some activities that are not okay for international students include things like:

  • Performing work and getting paid by companies, or individuals, outside of Illinois State 

  • Having an internship without first receiving prior permission from an International Student Advisor

  • Being self-employed and earning income 

Volunteer work is usually allowable when students are not receiving something in return for their services, and as long as the position is not something that someone would normally be paid to do.

If you have any questions or doubts about your activities please contact an International Student Advisor.

Leave the United States on Time!

F-1 students must depart within 60 days after the ending date on their I-20.

J-1 students must leave the United States within 30 days after the ending date on their DS-2019.  

Extension of Stay or Transferring

International students who find that they will need more time to complete their studies, or would like to transfer to another U.S. university must receive authorization from an International Student Advisor.

2017-09-25T13:52:56.165-05:00 2017