Although you are normally required to take a full course load every semester in order to maintain your F-1 status, you may, under special circumstances, receive authorization for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) from ISS. You should obtain this authorization before you drop below full time enrollment.
You may request authorization for an RCL if one of the following is true:
You need less than a full course load to complete your program of study during your final semester. RCL Form for Final Semester.
You encounter unexpected academic problems during your first semester due to language difficulties, improper course placement, or unfamiliarity with US instructional methods. RCL Form for Initial Academic Difficulty
You have medical issues that limit your capacity to carry a full load. RCL Form for Medical Issues. RCL Form for Medical Issues
An authorization for medical reasons will allow you to carry as few as zero hours during a given semester, but it can only be provided for a total of 12 months during your entire program. For non-medical reasons, your RCL should be no less than ½ of the full course load requirement.
Once you complete the authorization request, submit it along with other supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org