Overview for F-1 Students

An F-1 visa allows an international student to enter the United States to study in a language and/or academic program. If you are studying at WSU on an F-1 visa, you must comply with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements, as well as university requirements.

Enrollment requirements

F-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status.

Full-time status, fall and spring semesters:

  • Undergraduate students: 12 credits
  • Graduate students: 10 credits

In certain situations, such as when you are in your last semester before graduation, working on a dissertation, or have a qualifying emergency, you can request to drop below a full course load.

Inform WSU of any change in program

Your Form I-20 must accurately reflect your current status as a student. You are responsible for keeping it up to date. If you change your academic program in any way, please inform the Office of International Programs.

Your I-20 will need to be updated to reflect any of the following:

  • Change of major
  • Graduating from your academic program
  • Change of level (e.g., from undergraduate to graduate study)
  • Extending your F-1 immigration status
  • Dropping below full-time enrollment
  • Canceling enrollment

Check the detailed status requirements to be sure you follow proper procedure and meet U.S. government requirements.

For applications received from agents or educational representatives, Washington State University requires payment of a non-refundable $2000 tuition deposit be paid when the student is granted a visa. These funds will be applied towards tuition costs once the student is enrolled. This payment is due immediately upon notification that the student’s visa has been approved. If the non-refundable $2000 deposit is not paid, the I-20 letter will be withdrawn and the application canceled.


If you will be traveling outside the United States while your F-1 visa is in effect, you will need to follow certain procedures.

Change of address

If you move to a new local residence, you must update your address within 10 days of your move. Your new address will be sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security automatically via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Medical insurance

Washington State University recommends you have medical (health) insurance for you and any dependents you bring with you. WSU will automatically enroll you in its international Student Health Insurance Program (iSHIP), but you will need to purchase separate coverage for anyone else who comes with you.

Finding the policy that is right for your dependents

Evaluate different insurance products to find one that best suits your dependents’ circumstances.

If you have questions about the WSU iSHIP policy, please contact WSU Cougar Health Services.


For quick questions, stop by Bryan Hall Room 206 during open-advising hours or join us via Zoom during open-advising hours, Monday-Friday, 1-3 p.m.

To schedule an appointment for personal advising, call 509-335-4508. No same-day appointments are available unless there is an emergency.

International student portal

The Washington State University Office of International Programs International Student and Scholar Services now offers many of its services online. International students can conveniently request new I-20s/DS-2019s, reduced course loads, Optional Practical Training, visa support letters, and many more services through myPassport. Students may still meet in person by appointment or by coming in during open-advising hours of 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday in Bryan Hall 206.

Please check in at the front desk to meet with an advisor. The last check-in to meet with an advisor is 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Email advisories

The Office of International Programs will email you important reminders and immigration updates on Fridays throughout the academic year. If you are not receiving these messages, please contact International Student and Scholar Services department at ip.intlservices@wsu.edu to verify your correct email address.

Health care services

WSU Cougar Health Services provides low-cost medical services for minor illnesses and injuries. The clinic is located in the Washington Building on Stadium Way.

Extracurricular activities

Get involved through volunteer opportunities, cultural sharing, and student government and organizations.