International Student Policy


International students (matriculated and non-degree), scholars, and their dependents who hold non-immigration visa status

Policy Statement

Immigration Status

It is the responsibility of the international student to maintain lawful immigration status. The student is responsible for fully and properly complying with all laws and regulations of the United States, New York State and local governments. New international students must complete the SCIS clearance process and sign the Acknowledgement of Responsibility Statement before they may register for classes. Staff in the Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS) will provide information, advising and assistance. (effective date 2004)

Enrollment Requirements

Undergraduate students must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours. Graduate students must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours. Exceptions for a reduced course load are strictly defined by immigrations regulations and fall under two categories, academic problems and medical reasons. Students seeking to request a reduced course load must see an international student adviser at SCIS before dropping below a full course load. Students may also register for the exact number of hours needed to graduate in the final semester of study with the prior approval of an international student adviser at SCIS. (effective date 2003)

Health Insurance

Under federal regulations for the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, any individual granted J-1 status by the Department of State is required to maintain health insurance for the duration of his or her stay in the United States. For specific policy coverage requirements under J-1 regulations, please see an advisor at SCIS. In addition, any continuing J-1 student or scholar who wishes to apply for any type of benefit of this status (travel signature, work authorization, academic training, etc.) must provide proof of health insurance coverage that meets Department of State standards. (effective date 1964)

SCIS and Departmental Orientations

Attendance at all components of the SCIS and departmental orientations is mandatory. Failure to attend the required orientations and complete clearance procedures with SCIS will result in a hold on registration for classes. Contact SCIS for assistance. (effective date 1979)

English Language Assessment Exam (ELAE)

This English Language Proficiency Exam is required for all undergraduates for whom English is not the native language to determine English/Writing course placement. ENL 211 and 213, when completed successfully, substitute for WRITING 105 and 205 in most schools and colleges. See orientation schedule for dates and times. Required for all graduate students with a TOEFL score under 600 on the PBT or under 100 on the IBT. Graduate students of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science do not take the English Language Assessment Exam as per instructions of the Dean of the college. Please contact the Office of Languages, Literature and Linguistics for additional information

Eligibility for Employment, Academic training and Curricular Practical Training

Employment opportunities for international students are limited by Department of Homeland Security regulations and are available only to students who have maintained their immigration status and academic standing. Do not work or give the appearance of working before you have received proper approval. Both paid and unpaid “work” experiences may be considered as employment by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is therefore essential that you contact the SCIS before pursuing any kind of work experience. SCIS will provide information on the general types of employment: on-campus employment, off-campus employment, practical training (F-1 students), and academic training (J-1 students). (effective dates 1986, 1991)

Dependents of International Students

Students must provide financial proof of one year of full support for their dependents prior to issuance of immigration documents. The student must also agree to purchase health insurance for his/her family upon arrival in the United States prior to issuance of the immigration documents. Syracuse University requires that all international students and their dependents be covered by health insurance. (effective date 1979)

Policy Administration

Links to Procedures and Related Information

Date: May 2007
Amended: 10/8/13