Maintaining Your Non-F1/J1 Student VISA Status
There are very few restrictions to study in a higher education institution within the U.S. for students on non-immigrant VISA’s. If you are planning to study at the University of Houston and you hold a VISA that is not an F-1 or J-1, then you are able to do so unless:
If you are a F-2 student, you are only able to study part-time. For Undergraduate students, this means that you must be in less than 12hrs during the spring/fall terms and less than 6hrs in the summer. Graduate students, it is less than 9hrs in the spring/fall terms and less than 6hrs in the summer. As long as you do not enroll full-time, you are able to earn a degree in the U.S.
If you are on a B1/2 VISA, you are not eligible to study in the U.S.
- For more information, you can view this link here: Who Can Study in the U.S.?
If you are a dependent off of your parent’s non-immigrant status, then you have to look into applying for a change of status when you turn 21. Only a few non-immigrant categories, such as A, G, and NATO are allowed to have dependents on their primary VISA holder’s status over the age of 21 (up to 23 or 25). Without applying for a change of status or taken other action to maintain status in the U.S., then you would be required to leave the country upon “aging out,” that is when you turn 21.
It is important to act early on your dependent status if you are planning to continue studies at the University of Houston after turning 21. Plan ahead by scheduling an appointment with an ISSSO counselor to talk about your need to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 or J-1.
Only students on F or J status are required to pay student health insurance upon enrolling at the University of Houston. For any non-F/J Visa holders, enrolling in student health insurance is optional. You will have a health insurance acknowledgement hold every semester to complete, but no health insurance is charged unless you choose to opt-in.
- For more information about Student Health Insurance, click here.
On/Off Campus Work
Non-F1/J1 students cannot work on- or off-campus without proper work authorization granted by USCIS.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards can be granted by USCIS for multiple reasons, if eligible. As a student, you may be able to apply for an EAD based on TPS, DED, pending permanent residency, or other qualifying factors. Please contact an immigration attorney if you wish to see if there are any options for you to work in the U.S.
Dependent spouses may have additional eligibility to apply for an EAD card based on their status, such as an A-2, J-2, E-2, or L-2.
Without proper work authorization granted by USCIS, you may not work in the U.S.