Enrollment Requirements

For Fall 2022 Circumstances:

Please read the entire box for complete information on F and J programs as well as the University current plan and what that means for student requirements:

F Program: On April 18, 2022 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) extended its March 2020 Guidance (FAQs for SEVP Stakeholders About COVID-19) to cover the 2022-2023 academic year.

J Program: On April 22, 2022 the BridgeUSA (the Department of State Exchange Visitor Program-EVP) updated its FAQs and continues to allow temporary modification through June 30, 2023. 

However, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will resume normal operations for the fall 2022 semester. Thereforetraditional regulations regarding full-time enrollment will apply for F-1 and J-1 students. Make plans to return/arrive on campus and register for fall 2022 in accordance with the traditional F-1 and J-1 requirements to maintain your student visa status.

Please see our ISS COVID-19 and International Student FAQ - Fall 2022 for information related to the transition from previous circumstances to the expected Fall 2022 semester.

Full-Time Enrollment

International students in F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status must be enrolled full-time each semester (fall and spring) in order to maintain valid student visa status. Students required to take English Language Institute (ELI) courses are allowed to count each ELI course as 3 credit hours toward meeting their full-time course load requirement.

NOTE: At the end of semester, ELI courses will be listed with 0 credits, per University policy. However, even though ELI courses do not count toward a degree, ELI coursework does fulfill graduation requirements.

Minimum credit hours for full-time enrollment:

Level of Study Minimum full-time enrollment
requirement each semester
Undergraduate 12 credit hours
Graduate 8 credit hours
Graduate w/ Graduate Assistantship 6 credit hours
Graduate in thesis/dissertation stage 1 credit hour of 700F, 800, or LSJD 500

Reduced Course Load (Part-Time Enrollment)

Under certain circumstances, international students may receive authorization from the ISS to enroll for less than full-time. RCL request forms are available at the ISS office or on the Forms page. Requests must be submitted to and approved by ISS BEFORE a student drops below full-time.

The allowable reasons include:

  • academic difficulties (including initial English language difficulties)
  • having an illness or medical condition documented by a licensed physician
  • preparation for and taking doctoral comprehensive exams
  • last semester of study that requires less than full time course load

Online Class and Program Restrictions for F-1 and J-1 Students

Online Classes

F-1 and J-1 students may enroll in online classes. But online class enrollment has certain restrictions that affect full-time enrollment requirements and student visa status in the U.S.

Completely Online Classes

Due to online class restrictions, F-1 and J-1 students may not enroll in completely online programs.

General Definitions

Online classes and completely online programs (degree and/or certificate) do not require any physical presence in the classroom and are subject to enrollment restrictions. However, hybrid online classes, where coursework is completed through a combination of online and in-class participation, are not subject to enrollment restrictions.

Note 1: Different Online Class Restrictions

F-1 immigration regulations are different from J-1 immigration regulations with regard to online class restrictions affecting full-time enrollment requirements. (See chart above for full-time enrollment requirements.)

  • F-1 Students: Per F-1 regulations, F-1 students may only apply 3 online credit hours to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement. After the minimum full-time enrollment requirement has been met, students may enroll in additional online classes. Therefore, if enrolling in online classes:
    • Undergraduate students must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes, plus 3 (or more) online credit hours.
    • Graduate students must register for a minimum of 5 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes, plus 3 (or more) online credit hours.
    • Graduate Assistants must register for a minimum of 3 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes, plus 3 (or more) online credit hours.
  • J-1 Students: Per J-1 regulations, J-1 students may not apply any online credit hours to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement. Therefore, if enrolling in online classes:
    • Undergraduate students must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes before enrolling in online credit hours.
    • Graduate students must register for a minimum of 8 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes before enrolling in online credit hours.
    • Graduate Assistants must register for a minimum of 6 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes before enrolling in online credit hours.

Note 2: Students with Other Visa Statuses

If a student has a non-immigrant visa status other than F-1 or J-1 student visa status (e.g., J-2 dependent of a J-1 student, H-1B worker, H-4 dependent of H-1B, etc.) then online class restrictions do not apply.

Note 3: Taking Online Classes from Abroad

If enrolled in online classes while remaining outside the U.S., then online class restrictions do not apply.

Note 4: Summer Enrollment

In general, online class restrictions do not apply to summer term enrollment unless the student is enrolled in summer term as his/her final term. See Note 5.

Note 5: Last Semester/Last Term

If students are in their last semester or term and need only one course to complete their program of study (or graduate), the course cannot be completed through online coursework. This restriction applies to completion of program occurring during the fall or spring semesters and summer terms.

If you have any questions, please schedule an appointment with an ISS advisor.

Concurrent Enrollment

Students may enroll concurrently at UH Mānoa and other school(s), as long as the combined course load constitutes a full time course load in addition to the following:

  • Continue to make normal progress toward the degree/academic objective.
  • Continue to take at least one credit-bearing class at UH Mānoa each semester concurrently enrolled.
  • Enrolling concurrently at another campus in the UH system does not need advance authorization from the ISS.
  • Enrolling concurrently at a non-UH campus will require advance authorization from an ISS advisor. You should schedule an ISS advisor appointment and bring proof of your registration at the other school. Dates of the term at the other school should be similar to the semester dates at UH Mānoa.

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT

UH policy stipulates that all non-immigrant students must obtain adequate health insurance as a condition of enrollment. Read more on the Health Insurance page.