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Frequently Asked Questions

  • A full course of study at BYU–Hawaii is 12 credits for all students for any semester they attend. Students who wish to qualify for IWORK or Academic Scholarships will need to take 14 credits per semester.

    International students may only take fewer than 12 credits per semester if,

    a) the current semester is the student's last . b) If the student is on an approved Reduced Course Load or

    c) If it is the student's annual leave semester is after two semesters of being full-time student.

    Note: Be aware that if you withdraw from a class taking you below full-time status, you will be out of status. Please see the International Student Services office if you are thinking about withdrawing from a class and you will have fewer than 12 credits.
  • You are authorized to work only 19 hours a week. During the annual break, you may work up to 40 hours a week only if you are not enrolled in classes. You may work 40 hours a week for three weeks and then 19 hours on the fourth week (generally in the summer). Contact HR for more questions. 808-675-3492.
  • You may work off-campus only if you are authorized by International Student Services/ USCIS. To do so through exceptions such as Economic Hardship, Curricular Practical Training, Academic Training or Optional Practical Training. Contact International Student Services for information on the hours allowed to work off-campus once authorized.

    Note: If you work off-campus without authorization from International Student Services/ USCIS, your status will be terminated for ‘Unauthorized Employment’.
  • Your passport is a legal document and used to identify who you are and where you come from. Your passport must not expire while you are in the U.S.

    Your visa is a document allowing you to enter the United States. Your visa may expire while you are in the U.S. However, if you leave and plan to return, you must make sure you have a current visa.
  • It is recommended for students to renew their passport at least 6 months before it expires. Contact the consulate or embassy of your home country located in the U.S. for more information. You can find contact information for the different embassies/ consulates in the U.S. by going to Visa HQ.
  • An I-94 is the arrival / departure record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. An I-94 indicates your status category in the U.S. and the expiration date of your status. To obtain your I-94 please visit Make sure you keep it safe and in good condition as with other legal documents.
  • Your spouse and children will need a dependent DS-2019 or I-20 and a dependent J or F visa to accompany you to the U.S. You will be required to submit proof of finances to prove that you have the financial means to support your dependents the entire time you plan to be in school in order to obtain a dependent DS-2019 or I-20.• You will be required to submit a marriage or birth certificate to prove your relationship with each dependent in order to obtain a dependent DS-2019 or I-20.• You may obtain appropriate dependent visas from U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you with the help of the DS-2019 or I-20. Contact International Student Services for more information.
  • They are not allowed to work.
  • Yes, after receiving authorization from USCIS, J-2 visa holders may work in the U.S. Contact International Student Services for information on how to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • According to U.S. Immigration, once you marry a US Citizen, you are no longer considered a nonimmigrant, but rather a prospective immigrant. You may apply for permanent residency in the United States, work authorization and permission to travel outside of the US while your application is in “pending” status. Please contact International Student Services for more information.
  • In order to transfer to another university in the United States:

    You must maintain a legal immigration status at your current University.

    You must apply and get accepted to the university you would like to transfer to.

    You must show proof of acceptance to the International Student Services office who will then verify the student has maintained legal status and is eligible for the transfer.

    The International Student Services office needs at least one week of notice before the intended date of transfer, to complete a transfer request.

    Please Note: J-1 visa students admitted to BYU–Hawaii must complete their program here at BYU–Hawaii, and may not transfer to another university undergraduate or graduate school program. Upon completion of their degree program here at BYU–Hawaii, J-1 visa students wishing to attend a graduate school program must first return to their home country. J-1 visa students may make arrangements with a graduate school or university directly to obtain new immigration documents (I-20, DS-2019) and apply for a new visa.
  • A student is out of status if she/he violates any of the F/J visas regulations. Failure to maintain legal status will require a student to return to their home country. Staying in the U.S. without a legal status makes the student an illegal alien who does not have the right to work, register, or participate in any school program. See an Advisor in the International Student Services office to discuss possible options for returning to proper legal status.
  • For questions about changing status, adjusting status, H-1 B visas you can find detailed assistance at USCIS or by contacting the American Immigration Lawyers Association or Hawaii Lawyer Referral. International Student Services provides general information related to F-1 and J-1 visas and maintaining student status.

    For more immigration policy questions, you can:
    1. Send us an email to
    2. Call us at (808) 675-3516
    3. Come to our office and schedule appointments with an International Advisor.