F-1 and J-1 students must be registered at UC Berkeley within 30 days of the start of each semester and must be enrolled full-time (minimum 12 units) each Fall and Spring semester. Read below for more details.
Registration at UC Berkeley is defined as:
- The student is enrolled in at least one course.
- There are no blocks against registration.
- Current U.S. residential address and phone number are updated in Cal Central.
Registration Deadlines Each Semester
Per immigration regulations, the registration deadline for F-1 and J-1 students is thirty (30) days after classes have begun each semester. If a student has not registered by that time, the student's SEVIS record will automatically terminate and the student will lose legal status in the U.S., unless approved for withdrawal by Berkeley International Office. The status of a student's registration can be checked at any time through the Office of the Registrar.
Fee payment delays or problems
If you are not able to register because of delays in fee payment by an academic department, fellowship, or sponsor, see an Adviser at Berkeley International Office.
In order to assist students with paying tuition & fees and becoming officially registered at the University, Cal Student Central offers several short-term interest-free loans:
- Tuition & Fee Payment Plan (FPP) Enrolling in the Tuition & Fee Payment Plan allows for the fall and spring semester registration fees to be paid in five monthly installments of 20% each.
- Emergency Loans are interest-free and available to undergraduate and graduate students usually the week before the semester starts until the last day of the semester. They can be applied to living expenses or to registration fees.
Students facing unexpected circumstances may also wish to explore various other aid opportunities listed on our Financial Aid for International Students page.
Consequences of Late Registration
Shortly after the semester has begun, students who have not yet registered will receive email messages from Berkeley International Office reminding them of the approaching 30-day deadline. If we do not receive a response, we will begin making phone calls to the student's home and academic department. In some cases, we have made overseas calls to a student's permanent home in an effort to prevent termination of a SEVIS record.
Berkeley International Office makes these efforts to help students avoid problems with their legal status in the U.S. It is critical that students communicate their circumstances to the Berkeley International Office so we can have a better understanding of the problems you are facing. We are here to guide you with your legal options.
Full-time Enrollment Requirements
Immigration regulations require international students in F-1 or J-1 status to be in full-time units each semester. For immigration purposes, full-time enrollment is defined as:
- Undergraduate students = 12 units
Colleges may require more than 12 units to be considered full-time (e.g. Letters & Sciences full-time = 13 units or more).
- Graduate students
Full time enrollment for graduate students is 12 units or the number of units required by the department for all graduate students in the program.
For additional details about full-time enrollment, including to learn about options to reduce your course load, see Full-Time Enrollment Requirements.
Full-time Enrollment & On-line Coursework
Immigration regulations limit the number of online courses a student can count towards the 12 unit full time requirement. International students may count only one course or three units of on-line coursework towards the full time requirement. If the full time requirement for a session can be satisfied with three units or one course, the full time requirement cannot be satisfied with online coursework alone.
Reduced Course Load
Before a student drops classes below full-time requirements, Berkeley International Office must approve the request. A reduced course load is only granted in limited circumstances. For more information, see Full-Time Enrollment Requirements.
SEVIS Reporting Requirements
U.S. federal law and regulations require schools to update and maintain the SEVIS records of nonimmigrant students in F and J visa categories. There are certain "automatic functions" that will occur on a student's record in the SEVIS database system if these updates are not made in a timely manner. For example, if a student's record is not updated to show registration each semester, that record will automatically "terminate." A terminated record means that the student is considered to be out of status or illegal in the U.S.
Berkeley International Office is the designated office on campus to manage SEVIS reports for the University. It is our intention to be as proactive as possible in preventing the automatic termination of SEVIS records. We have put into place certain protocols to alert students of impending deadlines. It is extremely important for you keep your email, telephone and address information updated in Cal Central as much as possible so that we can contact you in urgent situations where your SEVIS record may be in jeopardy.