Maintaining Legal F-1 Status

As an international student, it is your responsibility to maintain your immigration status. Our International Student Services team will help guide you through the immigration process. As your immigration advisors, we are here to assist, advise, and answer any questions regarding your status during your time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Always check in with us with questions or concerns you may have.

Full-Time Enrollment

All international students are expected to make normal progress toward their degree. This includes always being enrolled full-time to maintain your F-1 or J-1 status. Full-time enrollment means 12 credits for all undergrads and grads (with the exception of Master of Arts in Art Education; Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling; Master of Arts in Teaching; Master of Arts in New Arts Journalism; Dual Degree: Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy and Master of Arts in Modern and Contemporary Art History; and Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies).

Less Than Full-Time Enrollment

Special circumstances, such as an unexpected serious medical diagnosis, may allow you to be authorized to drop below full-time (specific documentation from a medical doctor or licensed psychologist is required). Contact International Affairs in the event that this occurs.


Students who violate the terms of their visa status may need to apply for reinstatement. You will need to make an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor to review your options. If you engage in unauthorized off-campus work you will be “out of status” and in violation of immigration law. If you are out of status because of unauthorized employment, you are not eligible to apply for reinstatement and must travel outside of the United States and apply for reinstatement at the Port of Entry.

Address/Phone Changes

You are required to update any changes to your address in SAIC Self-Service or by visiting the Registrar within 10 days of the change. Updates to your permanent international address can be made by International Affairs.