Skip to main site navigation
Skip to main content
Switch to text-only view
Switch to default view

Restrictions for Certain Visa Holders

U.S. immigration regulations restrict study for persons in some visa categories. If you are in one of the following categories, you may apply for admission, but restrictions on study apply. If you are eligible for admission, the Office of International Student Services will help you explore options for achieving your educational objectives.

B-1/B-2 (Visitor for business or tourism). U.S. immigration rules state that enrolling in a course of study is a violation of visiting status. Only short-term study that is recreational or avocational in nature is allowed. B-2 visa holders who seek to obtain a student visa must delay enrollment until the student visa status is approved. Persons who enter the U.S. in B-2 status and then apply for study within a few months are sometimes found not eligible for a change to student visa status in the U.S. You should meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options if you are currently in B-2 status.

If you are currently abroad, it is strongly recommended that you do not enter the U.S. in B-1/B-2 status if you intend to pursue a degree program.

F-1 on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Enrolling in a new course of study may jeopardize your status if the courses apply towards a degree program and are at a higher level than your last degree (the basis for your OPT). For example, if you elect to apply for OPT following an associate’s degree, you should not take courses towards a bachelor’s degree while pursuing OPT employment.

F-2 (Dependent of F-1 Student). You are restricted from taking courses towards a degree program. F-2 study is restricted to courses that are considered “recreational” for personal interest or self-improvement. However, if you are offered admission to a degree program, you may defer your enrollment until you are able to obtain F-1 status.

J-1 (Research Scholar, Professor, or Specialist). Your study must be part-time (7 credit hours or less each semester).