Maintaining Active Status

The International Student Office requires all current F-1 students at the Gordon-Conwell—Charlotte campus to submit two forms each semester as proof of maintaining active status.

Please email the completed forms to esl@gordonconwell.edu, or schedule a Current International Student Advising appointment with the International Student Advisor to submit them in person.


Requesting a Reduced Course Load

International students may apply for a reduced course load (RCL) for specific circumstances: academic or medical. Please review the criteria for allowing reduced courses loads before submitting a request.

Academic Difficulty

F-1 students may be approved for a reduced course load for academic difficulty for no more than one semester. Students must take at least one course (3 credit hours) while in an authorized reduced course load. Situations of academic difficulty include:

  • Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement

Medical Conditions

F-1 students may be approved for a reduced course load for documented medical conditions. Students must provide documentation from one of the following:

  • licensed medical doctor
  • doctor of osteopathy
  • clinical psychologist

Students approved for Reduced Course Load for a medical condition should take as many classes as possible, but are not required to take any courses during the period of RCL. RCL for medical conditions is limited to a total of 12 months during the course of studies. F-1 students must provide a copy of the doctor’s letter and any other medical documentation to support this request.

Request Reduced Course Load


Changing Visa Status

Foreign nationals previously admitted to the U.S. under a valid visa may be eligible to change their visa status, depending on their current visa type and whether they have maintained active status.

  • Submit Gordon-Conwell—Charlotte Application for I-20/Visa Certificate
  • Submit a copy of the acceptance letter to the seminary and all required financial documentation, either via email or in person.
  • Schedule a Current International Student Advising appointment with the International Student Advisor
    • The International Student Advisor will create a new I-20 form.
    • The advisor will review the requirements for the change of status with the applicant.
    • Bring all the necessary forms and information below for the advisor’s review.
  • Prepare the complete Change of Status Application Packet for submission to USCIS (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), and mail it to USCIS before the deadline. The packet needs to include the following:
    • New I-20: Photocopy of new I-20, which must contain applicant's signature.
    • Copies of Financial Documents: Include copies of the financial documentation used to obtain the I-20.
    • Payment: Applicants must make two separate payments.
      • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-190 fee.  This can be paid online at http://www.fmjfee.com.
      • Application fee
    • I-94: Copies of your I-94 card and copies of any dependents included in the change of status. You may retrieve using the following link: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html
    • Passport: Photocopy the identity page of your passport and any dependents.  
    • For Dependents changing to F-1
      • In addition to the required documents for requesting a change to F-1 status, a dependent wishing to change from a non-immigrant dependent status (e.g., an F-2 spouse) must establish that he or she has been maintaining valid dependent status.
  • I-539 Application
    • Complete every section of the form.
    • Include “Supplement-1” if any dependents are included in this application. 
  • Optional Letter from the applicant: the applicant may include a letter explaining why he or she wants to change status to F-1. A strong letter can help convince USCIS of the student’s temporary intent as well as persuade USCIS that the student did not have a pre-conceived intention to study in the U.S.

Helpful Information

Questions? Contact the International Student Office at esl@gordonconwell.edu or call 704-527-9909.