Maintaining your Status

The information on this page reflects F-1 / J-1 visa status-related policies and guidance of OIS and does not necessarily reflect the policies or requirements of other units on campus, such as the Graduate School.

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to meet the following requirements to maintain status:

Full-Time Enrollment Throughout Program

Full-time enrollment at NC State University is normally defined as 12 or more credit hours for undergraduate students and a minimum of 9 hours per semester for graduate students. One (3 credit) on-line or distance education course may be used each semester to help satisfy full-time enrollment requirements. Students who will take only one course in a semester are not permitted to take that course through on-line or distance education. Read more about enrollment requirements on this page.

OIS does not determine the full-time / part-time enrollment status for international students and the standards for determining enrollment levels do not differ between domestic and international students. Instead, OIS adheres to the policies of the Graduate School when determining if an F-1 or J-1 student is enrolled full-time / part-time. OIS is only involved when the student is determined to be less-than-full-time.

Reduced Course Load

There are certain exceptions to full time enrollment requirements when reduced course loads can be authorized in SEVIS. Unauthorized drop in course-load, withdrawal, or part-time enrollment is a reportable visa violation and OIS is required by law to terminate the SEVIS record of students who fail to maintain full-time enrollment. More information available here.

Leave of Absence or Withdrawal requests

International students who for some reason want or need to interrupt their program of study and either withdraw completely from their program or take a semester away from their studies must consult both their academic advisor (or DGP) and an OIS advisor. More information here.

Good Academic Standing

All F-1 / J-1 students are required to uphold good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or above for graduate students, 2.0 or above for undergraduate students) and make normal academic progress toward their degree objective.throughout their degree program in order to keep their visa status. The definition of good academic standing is determined by NC State University policy, not by OIS. For more information on the university’s policy, please refer to the respective graduate and undergraduate webpages.

Authorized Employment Only

F-1 and J-1 students are only allowed to engage in employment for which they are eligible according to their immigration status, which is authorized in writing in advanced if required, and which does not interfere with one’s studies or delay one’s program completion.  There are various types of employment which may meet these criteria such as on-campus employment, curricular practical training, optional practical training, etc. For each type of employment, there are different eligibility rules and requirements and procedures for obtaining authorization.  F-1 and J-1 students who want to be employed should read more about the rules for F-1 and J-1 student employment on OIS’s student employment page prior to accepting an offer of employment. In addition, OIS provides information on the following types of employment:

On-Campus Employment

Off-Campus Research Assistantship

Curricular Practical Training (F-1 Students only)

Optional Practical Training (F-1 Students only)

Academic Training (J-1 Students only)

Unpaid work opportunities may also require students to ensure eligibility or obtain special authorization.  More information about unpaid work opportunities is available on OIS’s internships and volunteering page.

Maintain Health Insurance

Purchasing of health insurance is a REQUIREMENT for all F-1 and J-1 students at North Carolina State University.  The NC State Health Insurance is currently provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield. Effective for Fall 2015 – the Voluntary Plan and dependent/spousal coverage under Student Blue will no longer be offered. Current Student Blue information can be found at this sitePlease note: Students on Teaching and Research Assistantships will be provided NC State health insurance through the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP). Exchange Students attending NC State based on an exchange agreement through Fulbright or NC State’s Study Abroad Office (SAO) may also be eligible for a waiver of the NC State insurance requirement if adequate insurance is provided by the student’s home institution or government. Go to this page for more detailed information on health care and health insurance in the U.S. Details for Study Abroad, including access to and instructions for the waiver, are available at SAO’s Health Insurance.

Maintain Updated Residential Address Information in MyPack

All students must update their local address information every semester in MyPack Portal (NC State’s Student Information System). The SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) database is updated from MyPack Portal and uses the SEVIS Local Address to update your local address and the SEVIS Foreign Address for your Foreign Address. Please select the SEVIS Local Address check box after adding a new address in order for your information to be passed successfully to the Department of Homeland Security.

Once you log into MyPack Portal,  follow these instructions to update your SEVIS Local Address, Phone Number, and Emergency Contact Information.

** NOTE: The ”SEVIS Foreign Address” option in MyPack portal should only be used for your Foreign Address. Your Foreign Address is your address in your home country. **

Maintain Updated Employment Address Information

OPT – Optional Practical Training Validation
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains record of the employment activities for F-1 students engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT). DHS has required that all US universities ensure that their students who are engaging in OPT regularly update and maintain their employment and unemployment information.

If you are a student in F-1 OPT or OPT STEM status, you must report the following updates to OIS:

  1. Change in address (within 10 days of the change occurring). Your Unity ID and account remain active, even after graduating from NC State University. To update your address information, you would log into the MyPack Portal and update your SEVIS local address in your address information tab.
  2. Change in employment situation. Once you receive your EAD card from USCIS, submit a scanned copy of the EAD to OIS. If you are in the first 12 months of OPT, update your employment information using the SEVP Portal when you start employment or have a change in employment situation, address or name. Students on STEM OPT should consult the STEM OPT page for full instructions on employment reporting requirements.
  3. Change in visa status. Please submit a copy of proof of your new status (e.g. I-797 Approval Notice), so we can close your F-1 record. You can scan/e-mail this information to
  4. Transfer to another school to start a new degree program. Visit the Student forms page and fill out the transfer out form.
  5. Change to a new degree program at NC State University.Visit the Student forms page and fill out the change degree form.
  6. Departure from the US. Visit the Student forms page and fill out the departure form.

If you experience any problems or have questions, please send an email to