International Student Guidelines


All international students will continue to be required to physically attend international business registration prior to registering for classes. This is a separate registration process for international students only. Before business registration is complete, all international students will be blocked from registering for classes. During business registration, International Student Services (ISS) will review each student’s immigration documents, confirm to SEVIS that the student has arrived on campus, and then release the restriction on the student’s registration.


International students are not permitted to audit courses UNLESS it in addition to an already established full-time course load. For example: If an undergraduate student currently has 8 credit hours and wishes to audit a course worth 4 credits, they are not permitted to do that. However, if they already have an established 12 credit hours and would like to audit an additional course, they may do so.


Effective January 1st 2003, international students may not drop below a full course of study without prior authorization from ISS. Full-time status means 18 credits per semester for ELI Program students, 12 credits for undergraduates, and 9 credits for graduate students.

If you are thinking about dropping a class or reducing your credits, please review the "Reduced Course Load" page first. 

PLEASE REMEMBER: Only the International Student Advisor has the authority to authorize a reduced credit load for international students! Academic Advisors DO NOT have this authority. 


Any international student who is unable to complete a full course of study in a timely manner can apply for a program extension. This process can only be done through ISS and the student MUST apply 45 days before the completion date on their Form I-20 or DS-2019. If you are aware of a need to apply for a program extension, we ask that you come to International Student Services  immediately.


The USCIS also requires that any international student who completes a semester with 2 or more grades of F should be terminated except in situations where the student clearly has an English language comprehension deficit warranting these grades.

There are stringent regulations regarding course grades that are in effect for all international students. Any student who maintains the minimum 12 credit hour requirement during an academic semester may not receive more than two grades of “F” each semester. If two or more “F”s have been given, that student will automatically fall out of status and his/her program of study will be terminated. For example: Joe has 12 credits, and has failed his Math 101 and English 103 at the end of his first semester at Gallaudet. He is no longer in status and his program will be terminated.

However, if a student exceeds the minimum 12 credit requirement, and receives an “F” for a course that, if discounted, will still keep the student above 12 credit hours, then that student will be permitted to continue their program. For example: Jane has decided to take 18 credit hours for her first semester at Gallaudet, but receives two grades of “F” for in Math 101 and English 103. Jane still completed 12 credit hours with passing marks. Her GPA will be affected, but her program of study will not. She is fine to continue her studies.


Without prejudice to individual faculty members’ attendance policies, the USCIS expects international students to attend classes regularly. In order to maintain legal status, an international student cannot be absent from more than five classes per class per semester without compelling reasons. USCIS has imposed a duty on the University to report any international student in breach of this limit. Your Academic and Major Advisor will inform us immediately if you are in danger of 5 unexcused absences. This will allow us to bring you in for counseling.

The USCIS is required to audit Gallaudet’s compliance with these new requirements every two years. Failure to comply with the federal regulations may result in the loss of our ability to accept international students. Current international students will also be asked to find other programs.

ISS strongly suggests you stay up-to-date regarding immigration policies and procedures so that you may better enable yourself in maintaining legal status. If you have questions regarding any situation, or are not sure how to proceed in regards to any international regulations, please contact the International Student Advisor. We need to be proactive to safeguard the interests of our international program and its students.

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