International Students in F-1 visa status should enroll for a minimum of twelve (12) credits to fulfill Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements. In general, students will enroll for fourteen (14) to nineteen (19) credits per semester to complete an undergraduate degree in four years.
Exceptions to full-time study must be cleared through the International Student Adviser in advance by completing the Reduced Course Load eForm in iStart. All exceptions granted by the International Student Adviser must be reported to DHS within 21 days as well as the return to full-time status.
Travel and Re-entry to the United States
Before students leave the United States, they need to have the following documents to re-enter the United States to continue studies:
- valid passport (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
- valid U.S. visa (except Canadian citizens)
- valid form I-20/DS-2019 with signature for re-entry on the second page (Travel endorsement). Request a travel signature through iStart!!
current proof of financial support
transcripts (not required but recommended)
proof of current enrollment or proof of registration for the next semester (not required but recommended)
Additional documents for students on OPT: EAD card and job offer letter.
More information on travel, and inviting family or friends to visit: Click Here
You must be in valid F-1 status to re-enter the United States. If your SEVIS record has been terminated, contact you International Student Adviser for instructions!
Leave of Absence from University
This is two-step process for F-1 students: you will have to submit the withdrawal form from the Office of the Registrar (on the academic side), and Exit form in iStart (on F-1 visa status side).
If you withdraw from the semester, your SEVIS record will have to be terminated, and you will need to leave the United States, and request new I20 before you return to the U.S.
Taking leave or a break from the university:
Leaving the University
Maintenance of F-1 status
Returning to Penn State
After Leave of Absence, Suspension or Semester Withdrawal
First, you will need to re-enroll in the university and/or register for courses. To re-enroll, fill out and submit this form to the Registrar’s Office at Abington first. ISSA won’t issue an I-20, if you are not eligible to return to Penn State for the term you are requesting.
Next, will need to complete the Returning Students eForm in iStart. Use “Limited Services Access” to log in. You must upload an updated financial guarantee HERE, that is no more than 6 months old to the Returning Students eForm.
Due to lack of adequate number of courses at Abington during summer, when requesting I-20, make sure you choose Fall or Spring semester.
Once the new I-20 has been issued, you will have to pay the I-901 fee (SEVIS fee) for the new document, pay express mail so we can ship it to you, and complete the Immigration Document Check-In in iStart.
More information about the SEVIS fee and Check-in will be included in the approval email so be sure to ready it very carefully.
Upon your arrival, schedule appointment with Global Programs Staff for compliance, academic success and programming information.
Can I find an On-Campus job?
You are allowed to work on campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the semester and full-time during academic breaks and in the summer at Penn State Abington, Click Here.
Can I find an Off-Campus job?
International students have the option of working in the United States by engaging in practical training during your program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills you are learning in school, please click here to learn more about the employment process for international students.
There are two types of practical training that students in F-1 status might be eligible for: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). See Dagmara Karnowski at Conference Center, Lower Level, Room 2 to ask questions related to CPT or OPT.