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Enrollment Requirements

You must enroll full-time if you study inside the U.S.

  • Full-time study for undergraduates is defined as 12 credits; at least 9 in person.
  • Full-time study for graduate students is defined as 9 credits; at least 6 in person.

Courses coded as in-person or hybrid may meet the in-person requirement depending on their primary mode of instruction. ISSS defines coursework as meeting the in-person requirement of regulations when the course meets partially (at least 50% of the time) or fully (100%) in person. Courses that meet primarily online (60% or more) do not meet the in-person requirement.

Students are encouraged to check with ISSS or academic advising if their hybrid coursework is sufficiently in-person. This information is not available to students in the Course List.

Important Deadlines

There are a number of steps that must be completed in order to successfully return. Because document issuance and visa applications take time, it is important to start the return process as early as possible. Review Miami University's Academic Calendar for term dates. All students must be able to arrive on time for the start of classes. All requests for an I-20 to return to studies should ideally be submitted and all tasks in Stage 1 completed at least thirty days before the start of the semester. After this deadline, incomplete requests may be subject to cancellation.

  • If you plan to return to your studies for fall semester, you should submit all request forms and complete all required tasks as early as March and no later than May. Miami closes the registration system for fall between the end of May through mid-July.
  • If you plan to return to your studies for spring semester, you should submit all request forms and complete all required tasks as early as October and no later than November.
  • Summer return is not advised by ISSS. While summer enrollment is optional for continuing students, as a returning student, you are required to enroll full-time due to government regulations. This can be challenging due to lack of course availability in summer; additionally courses are sometimes unexpectedly canceled. This can cause your enrollment to drop below full-time, resulting in loss of legal status. Because of U.S. government policy, ISSS cannot issue I-20s for online study. If you wish to enroll in summer courses, we encourage you to enroll and complete coursework online from your home country.

Return Steps

Stage 1: Submit Required Forms and Enroll in Coursework

Complete steps 1-4 concurrently (at the same time). ISSS will only issue your I-20 or DS-2019 after you have been approved for re-enrollment, resolved all registration holds, and enroll full-time in coursework for your return semester.

  1. Submit Re-Enrollment Request
    • If you are NOT currently enrolled in coursework at Miami University for the current term, you must submit an online re-enrollment request to the Registrar's office to be approved to resume enrollment.
    • If you are currently enrolled in coursework at Miami University for the current term, you may skip this step.
    • If you have questions about this form, email
  1. Submit "I-20 Request after Absence or Online Study"
    • Log in to InterLink to submit your "I-20 Request after Absence or Online Study" located under F-1 Student Services. If you no longer have access to your Miami account, you may still access InterLink through Limited Services.
      1. You will be required to upload documentation, including your passport and recently issued proof of funding. Refer to the Estimated Expenses for Study for guidance on estimated tuition, fees, living expenses, and other costs.
      2. You will need to provide contact information for your divisional academic advisor. After you submit your request, it will be reviewed by your academic advisor.
      3. After your academic advisor comments on your request to return, ISSS will review your request and follow up with additional instructions regarding registration holds and enrollment.
  1. Resolve Registration Holds
    1. Check your Banner Self Service account for any registration holds that prevent your enrollment. Common registration holds may be from these offices:
      • Academic Division (all students)
      • Rinella Learning Center (if returning from suspension)
      • One Stop (if you have an unpaid bill)
      • Academic Integrity (if you have had a recent academic integrity violation)
      • ISSS Most students returning after an absence or suspension will have a registration hold from ISSS. This hold is resolved through submission of a complete "I-20 Request after Absence or Online Study" in InterLink.
    2. To resolve a hold, contact the necessary office for instructions. ISSS will also provide communication regarding holds you must resolve if you have difficulty.
  1. Enroll Full-Time in Coursework
    • Registration opens in Banner Self Service in late April for fall semester.
    • Registration opens in Banner Self Service in late October/early November for spring semester.

Stage 2: Visa Document Issuance

  1. Visa Document Issuance

    • After you have completed steps 1-4, notify ISSS and an advisor will work on your I-20 or DS-2019.

  1. Pick Up or Express Mail

    • Your I-20 will be sent to your Miami email address. You must print and sign your I-20 after receipt.

  1. Pay Required SEVIS Fee

  1. Apply for Visa

    • If your current visa is not expired, it is your choice whether to apply for a new visa. This is a reminder that your old visa is attached to your old I-20, not your new document. This can sometimes cause questions from the officer at the port of entry.

    • If you choose to apply for the F-1 visa, allow sufficient time. You will have to submit the I-20, documentation of your financial support, official academic transcript, SEVIS fee receipt, and evidence that you intend to return to your home country at the conclusion of your studies in the US (i.e. ties to your home country). Before your visa interview, you will need to pay the visa application fee and fill out Form DS-160. This is a reminder that certain factors can cause increased scrutiny such as previous violations of status and academic performance (low GPA).

Stage 3: Return to the U.S. and Resume Study

  1. Travel to U.S.

    • Book your flight. You may re-enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on your new I-20 or DS-2019. Check the first page of your document and review your program start date in the “program of study” section (on an I-20) or the “from” date in the “form covers period” section (on a DS-2019). Please note you must return to the U.S and to Miami no later than the start of classes. It is not an option to return late.

  1. Check in with ISSS

    • After you return to the U.S., please complete the “Arrival Confirmation & Document Upload” form in Interlink. You will need to upload copies of your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and proof of SEVIS fee payment and enter information about your local U.S. address and phone number. After you complete this form, an advisor will verify the documentation. If all information is accurate and complete, ISSS will be able to register your new SEVIS record.

Impact of Absence on Practical Training Benefits

If you are a student in F-1 status returning to the U.S. with a new I-20 and SEVIS record, you will not be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) until you have been registered in coursework and maintained status for one full academic year (summer sessions excluded). Time spent in the U.S. prior to your leave of absence does not count.

Enrolling in winter term courses

ISSS will only issue a visa document that corresponds with the spring semester start date. However, you may re-enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start of the spring semester (typically the very end of December). If you choose to do so and enroll in a winter term course, that is okay.

The reason ISSS has this policy is because of government rules regarding full-time enrollment in the term of return. This ensures that if you experience difficulty in your winter term course, you will be able to drop the course with no impact on your legal status.

International Students and Scholars

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Use the link below to sign up to receive emails from ISSS. Please note that if you are currently enrolled in Miami University courses as an international student or scholar, you will automatically be added to this list.

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