Skip to main content

F-1 Processes and Regulations

Becoming an F-1 Student

If you would like to begin your admissions process and have never been granted an F-1 visa:

  1. Follow the steps on How to Apply.
  2. When you receive your acceptance letter, review the information before signing and dating your I-20.
  3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and keep your receipt.
  4. Contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule your visa interview.
  5. When your F-1 status is approved, contact Admissions via email at
  6. Make your travel plans to arrive approximately 2-3 weeks before the start of your program, and in time to attend your required New International Student Orientation.
  7. Be prepared to present your I-20 and passport at the port of entry to the United States. Your I-94 arrival record can be accessed online at
  8. Congratulations! You are now a U.S. student.
  9. Once you arrive in Grand Rapids, schedule a meeting with your international student advisor to review paperwork and discuss the next steps in the enrollment process.

F-1 Visa Regulations

  • As required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), international students must enroll in a minimum 12 credit hours each semester (excluding summer). Failure to maintain the required credit hour minimum will affect your F-1 status.
  • No more than one online course per semester is permitted.
  • Students must maintain a satisfactory cumulative grade point average (GPA) each semester - please refer to GRCC's academic standing policy for more details - and make adequate progress toward completing requirements for a degree program.
  • Students must have the approval of the international student advisor before dropping classes.
  • The Admissions office must receive your change of address within 10 days of moving.
  • Summer semester is optional unless you are working as a student employee on campus.
  • F-1 students are permitted to work on campus up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. You can inquire about positions on campus at our Student Employment Services office.
  • Any student wishing to leave the country for travel or vacation must have their I-20 endorsed by the international student advisor (or a designated school official). Please allow a minimum of 5 days for this signature. 

See detailed regulations at the USCIS website.