Education Abroad for International Students

F-1 Students are eligible to participate in the following Education Abroad Programs:

  • Study Abroad
  • Reciprocal Exchange
  • Independent Study
  • Internships
  • Faculty-led Programs

Description of Education Abroad Programs

  • Study Abroad: Student registers for study abroad courses at UTD, but pursues the courses at an institution abroad
  • Reciprocal Exchange: Student registers for reciprocal exchange courses at UTD, but pursues the courses at an institution abroad
  • Independent Study: Student registers for independent study courses at UTD, but pursues the courses at an institution abroad
  • Internship Abroad: Student registers for internship course at UTD, and fulfills the work assignment abroad (CPT approval not required)
  • Faculty-led Program: Student registers for a UTD course that includes an international component as part of the curriculum

F-1 Enrollment Requirement During Semester of Education Abroad

Fall or Spring Education Abroad

  • Full-time enrollment in semester abroad (12 credits for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduate students)
  • Only three credit hours can be online or hybrid
  • The remaining credit hours must meet physical presence requirement

Summer Education Abroad

  • Full-time enrollment in semester abroad (9 credits for undergraduates, 6 credits for graduate students) if summer enrollment is required
  • Only three credit hours can be online or hybrid
  • The remaining credit hours must meet physical presence requirement

Graduating Semester

  • Enrollment in at least one face-to-face course which runs the entire semester required
  • If more than one course is required for graduation only three credit hours can be online or hybrid

Physical Presence Requirement

Meet Requirement: Don’t Meet Requirement:
  • Face-to-face
  • Internship Course
  • Independent Study
  • Online
  • Hybrid
  • Distance Education

Eligibility Requirement for F-1 Participation in Education Abroad

Fall or Spring Education Abroad

  • Enrollment in a full-course of study in the U.S. for one academic year prior to semester of education abroad

Summer Education Abroad

  • Enrollment in a full-course of study in the U.S. for one academic year prior to semester of education abroad

Authorized Early Withdrawal Alternative

  • Students who cannot meet F-1 requirement in semester abroad may consider applying of an Authorized Early Withdrawal by submitting the request form to [email protected]
  • Student is allowed to suspend F-1 status during semester abroad
  • Student may be enrolled at UTD during semester abroad but not an immigration requirement
  • Student may return to the same F-1 status if they re-enter U.S. within 5 months
  • Student must apply for a new I-20 and F-1 visa if abroad more than 5 months

Practical Training Considerations for Participation in Education Abroad

Impact on CPT and Pre-Completion OPT

  • If approved by ISSO for Education Abroad and meet full-time enrollment requirement semester abroad can be counted towards eligibility for CPT or Pre-Completion OPT

Impact on Post-Completion OPT
May not be eligible for post-completion OPT if participating in Education Abroad in graduating semester for the following reasons:

  • Students outside the U.S. are not in any nonimmigrant status while abroad
  • Student is not residing in the U.S. with a current I-94
  • May not be able to return to U.S. after program end date

F-1 Considerations for Participation in Education Abroad

Temporary Absence

  • F-1 students may be absent from the U.S. for 5 months or less to return to the same status
  • This provision does not apply to F-1 students who have been approved for Education Abroad by the ISSO

Reduced Enrollment

  • F-1 students are not eligible for an extension of their I-20 based upon approval for Education Abroad
  • Notify ISSO & Education Abroad before you drop a course

Program Extension

  • F-1 students approved for Education Abroad, by the ISSO, are not eligible for a Reduced Enrollment Authorization during semester abroad
  • Keep I-20 end date in mind when considering participating in Education Abroad

Travel Considerations While Participating in Education Abroad

Re-Entry to United States

  • I-20 with study abroad approval and travel endorsement issued within one year
  • Passport valid for 6 months beyond re-entry
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Study Abroad Status Verification Letter
  • Faculty-led only need travel endorsement and F-1 status verification letter in addition to valid passport and F-1 visa

F-1 Visa Renewal

  • Recommended to renew F-1 visa in home country
  • May apply for F-1 visa in third country
  • Check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate you plan to visit
  • Leave plenty of time for unexpected visa delays
  • All applicants must participate in an in-person interview

Application Process for Education Abroad Approval

  • Obtain international travel authorization by completing all application and required documents through Education Abroad
  • Submit Letter and Travel Endorsement Request Form to [email protected] for a study abroad I-20 and letter (can apply remotely)
  • Faculty-led only need travel endorsement and status letter in addition to international travel authorization

Contact Information
For more information on the impact of Education Abroad on your F-1 status and the I-20 approval process:

For more information on Education Abroad programs and the Education Abroad approval process: