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International Student Services Office

The International Student Services (ISS) Office warmly welcomes you to Virginia International University. VIU hosts students from over 100 countries across the globe. Like you, all of these individuals have a dream to study in the United States. As a result, many services are offered to our international students to assist in the transition from their home countries to life in the United States. On this website you will find information about US Immigration regulations as they relate to international students. You will also find VIU policies and procedures, as well as additional helpful information for international students.


Raza Razai
– International Student Advisor/DSO

(703) 591-7042 x388


Eriko Palmer
– International Student Advisor/DSO

(703) 591-7042 x412

Maintaining Your F1 Visa Status

Check in and enroll within 30 days of entering the US:

You will need to enroll in classes to maintain your F1 visa status.

Keep your passport valid:

Your passport should be valid for at least six months in the future. Passports can be renewed by your home country's consulate.

Maintain full-time enrollment:

Full-time enrollment differs depending on your program or level of study. Undergraduate programs require students to enroll in at least 12 credit hours each semester during the academic year. Graduate programs require students to enroll in at least 9 credit hours each semester during the academic year. The intensive ESL program requires students to enroll in at least 5.6 hours each term for four consecutive terms.

Online Study for F-1 Students
All F-1 students studying in a Degree Program with VIU are permitted to engage in no more than 3 credits (equivalent of one class) of online training per semester.
All F-1 students studying in VIU’s ESL Program are prohibited from engaging in any online training.

Please Note: Online study consists of any form of distance learning that does not require the student’ s physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.

Program extension needed:

If your program will require more time to complete than the time originally granted according to your current I-20, please submit a Program Extension Form 60 days prior to the end date listed on your I-20.

Permission needed to work in the US:

You must obtain work authorization from the ISSO and DHS before working while you are an F1 student. Working off-campus without permission is a serious violation of F1 visa regulations and could result in deportation. F1 students may be allowed to work part-time on-campus but they are required to complete a Form I-9 with the ISSO before doing so. VIU offers optional CPT courses and post-completion OPT (if approved by USCIS) to all qualified students within a VIU academic program. Please check with the ISS Department for further details regarding types of employment.

Travel outside of the US:

All F1 students and their F2 dependents are required to obtain authorization to travel outside of the US.

Transfer to VIU:

Each semester VIU receives hundreds of applications from students interested in transferring to VIU. If you are interested in transferring to VIU, please know that the transfer process to VIU is quick and easy.