6: Visas and Immigration

The 3 E’s

While you are a student at UH Hilo, there are some important regulations you need to follow. The most important are ‘the 3 E’s’: Enrollment, Employment and End Date.


You must be a full-time student. For undergraduate students, “full-time” at UH Hilo means that you are enrolled for 12 or more credits. “Full-time” for graduate students is 6 or more credits. Most classes at UH Hilo are worth 3 credits, so a student typically needs to take 4 classes to be considered full-time (3 credits X 4 classes = 12 credits). If you take English as a Second Language classes, those credits will count toward the 12 credits. Students on visas are allowed to take an online class, but only one online class per semester. Important: If you ever need to drop below 12 credits, you must get permission from the Director of International Student Services first.

UH Hilo follows a semester system, which means that we have a “fall” semester from August to December, and a “spring” semester from January to May. UH Hilo offers classes during the summer (from May to August), but you are not required to take any classes during the summer.