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As an F-1/J-1 international student, you are responsible for maintaining your status for the duration of your stay at UC San Diego and the U.S. Below you will find information on how to maintain your status.


Complete the Document Self-Check Upon Arrival at UC San Diego

After arrival into the U.S., complete the International Student Document Self-Check within 15 days of your program start date at UC San Diego.*

You are also strongly encouraged to attend the International Student Orientation where we will review the immigration documents together.

*There is no need to notify International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) when you complete document self-check unless you have questions or if you believe there is an error in your visa status. While it is not required to bring your documents to International Student Orientation, failure to complete the document self-check steps listed above may result in the loss of your F-1 or J-1 status, especially if your documents were processed incorrectly at the port of entry and you do not get them fixed. Remember, maintaining your visa status is your responsibility but ISPO is here to help with any questions.

Attend International Student Orientation Sessions

Complete the Required Online Training and Attend Orientation Session for new international students. New international students in F-1 and J-1 status must complete iTriton Online Training and attend an international student orientation before the start of their first quarter of study.

Update Your Address in TritonLink

Update your address in Tritonlink within 10 days of any move or change. Also, update your TritonLink account with any changes in your phone number or emergency contact.

Maintain Full-Time Enrollment (at least 12 units) Every Quarter


You are required to maintain full-time enrollment for each academic quarter or term at UC San Diego.  Full-time enrollment requirements are defined below:

  • ACADEMIC TERMS: F-1 and J-1 students are required to enroll full-time in at least 12 units in each academic term:  Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.
    • Full-time enrollment is not required for continuing students with an active SEVIS record in the Summer term, since Summer is considered a vacation term.
    • However, you must enroll in some Summer units if Summer is your final term at UC San Diego.
    • Also, you must enroll full-time in the Summer, if it's your first term at UC San Diego (your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 has a program start date corresponding to a Summer term). Full-time enrollment requirements for the Summer term is defined as: 

      • Summer 1 Program Start Date
        • Summer Session 1 (6 units minimum)   and  Summer Session 2 (6 units minimum)   OR
        • Summer Session 3 (6 units minimum)
      • Summer 2 Program Start Date
        • Summer Session 2 (6 units minimum)   OR
        • Summer Session 3 (6 units minimum) 



Although you should enroll full time to maintain your status, there are some exceptions to the full course of study requirement. International students may be eligible to enroll in less than full-time requirements due to an academic, medical reasons, or final quarter reasons. Students must apply for Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization from ISPO  and receive approval before dropping a class. Generally, UC San Diego students are required to enroll full-time in the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. Full-time enrollment is not required for continuing students with an active SEVIS record in the Summer term, since Summer is considered a vacation term. However, you must enroll full-time in the Summer, if it's your first term at UC San Diego.



Study full time (12 units) for three academic quarters before taking your vacation quarter. At UC San Diego, the summer term is typically considered the vacation term. Vacation terms do not require full-time enrollment. If you are planning to take a vacation term outside of the summer term, discuss your plans with an international student advisor.

Keep Your I-20/DS-2019 Up to Date

Review the information on your I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students).


Extension of I-20/DS-2019 Program End Date

If you will not complete your program of study by the indicated program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019, submit an extension request to ISPO before your current document expires.


Change of Major and Change of Academic Level

If you have changed or will change your academic major or will complete your program at UC San Diego and start another degree program at UC San Diego, let ISPO know in advance to keep your I-20 or DS-2019 up-to-date or so that we can advise you about other options to pursue to continue studying lawfully in the U.S.


Other Changes

If you have changed or will change your name, or citizenship, or other information that is displayed on your I-20/DS-2019, then follow instructions on our Changing Information in Your SEVIS Record page to update your I-20/DS-2019.

Work Only with Proper Employment Authorization

Obtain employment authorization from ISPO before starting any type of employment

Maintain Adequate Health Insurance

The UC Regents made health insurance a mandatory non-academic condition for enrollment. To ensure that all students have adequate health care coverage, including ongoing primary and specialty care, and to satisfy the mandatory health insurance requirement, UC San Diego automatically enrolls all registered students into the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).


Additional Information for J-1 students:

J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by U.S. Department of State to have health insurance for themselves and any accompanying dependents in J-2 status for the entire time that they are in the United States as exchange visitors.

Minimum insurance coverage must provide:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per year or accident.
    1. may include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness.
  2. Medical evacuation of the Exchange Visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000.
  3. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  4. Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  5. May require a waiting period for preexisting conditions (but cannot exclude altogether coverage for preexisting conditions).

Additionally, the insurance corporation underwriting the policy must have one of the following ratings:

  • A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above.
  • Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-i” or above.
  • Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of “A-” or above.
  • Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
  • Coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of my home country.
  • McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above.
  • Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above.

Renew I-20/DS-2019 Travel Signatures as Needed

Notify ISPO if Transferring or Ending Your Program Early

If you are transferring your SEVIS record to another school or ending your program at UC San Diego early, you need to notify ISPO in advance so we can transfer your SEVIS record to another school or shorten the duration of your record as needed.

Carry Your Immigration Documents

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 requires foreign nationals to carry appropriate immigration-related documentation at all times. Appropriate documentation includes:

  • Valid passport.
  • Up-to-date I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students).
  • Form I-94.
Be prepared to present these documents especially when going through airports, train stations, checkpoints, border crossings, and other transportation hubs.


Additional Information for J-1 Students

Notify the International Students & Programs Office if Your J-2 Dependent Departs the U.S. Permanently

If one or more of your J-2 dependents (spouse and/or child) is departing the U.S. permanently before the completion of your J-1 program duration, you must notify ISPO by completing the J-2 Early Departure Form.

Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement (212e)