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Current J-1 Students

Maintaining J-1 Status

The J-Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State. Students participating in an exchange program must follow J immigration regulations as developed by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security.

In order to maintain J-1 status students are expected to do the following:

  • Have a valid DS-2019, passport with a minimum of 6 months validity
  • Engage in employment only with work authorization from the Center for International Education
  • Carry Health Insurance that meets the minimum Department of State Requirements:
    • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
    • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • Remain in the U.S. no more than 30 days after the completion of the program or the expiration date on their DS-2019, whichever is earlier
  • Report any change of address to the Center for International Education
  • Request all other changes such as program extension, change of degree level, or any updates with the Center for International Education

Enrollment Requirements

All J-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time during Fall and Spring semesters. International students are not required to take classes during the summer.  Undergraduate students must be enrolled for 12 credit hours.  Graduate students must be enrolled for 9 credit hours.  For exceptions to being full time contact the Center for International Education.

Extending your DS-2019

If your DS-2019 will expire before the date when you expect to complete your program of study, then you should apply for an extension. The DS-2019 can only be extended before it expires.

You will need the following for a DS-2019 extension:

  • Have your academic advisor complete our Extension Request Form
  • Submit current financial documents that prove that you have sufficient funds to extend you studies

J-1 Employment Information

J-1 students are allowed to work, but all employment must be approved by the Center for International Education. Students are allowed to work on-campus ONLY and employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the school year.  During summer and vacation periods students may work on-campus full-time (40 hours per week).

Permission for off-campus employment may only be granted based on unanticipated economic necessity.  This authoriziation is given to students who find themselves in unforeseen economic hardship.  You must see the Responsible Officer in the CIE in order to get prior authorization for off-campus employment.  Remember, off-campus employment without prior authorization is grounds for termination of your J-1 status.

Academic Training

Academic Training is available in a student’s field of study before completion of a program as well as after completion of studies. Every month in J-1 status makes a J-1 student eligible for a month of Academic Training up to a total of 18 months.

For more information and to apply for Academic Training, please download the Academic Training handout.

J-1 Two -year Home Residence Requirement

The J-1 visa carries with it an, often inescapable, condition that requires you to return to your home country for two years upon completion of your studies (and academic training) before you are eligible for certain other visas in the U.S., including H-1B and permanent resident status.

This "two-year residence" requirement applies to you if you receive any funding (including nominal travel grants) from your home government or a U.S. government agency. It also applies to you, if trained personnel in short supply and your field has consequently been included on the U.S. government's "Exchange Visitor's Skills List."

If you do not know whether your country and/or field appears on the "Exchange Visitor's Skills List," ask a U.S. Consular officer or check the Department of State website before requesting J-1 status. Once you have acquired J-1 status and are subject to the two-year residence requirement, it may be impossible to change to another non-immigrant status or to permanent residence status.

J-1 Waiver Information

An exchange visitor may request that the 2-year home country physical presence requirement be waived. For further information on the waiver process check Department of State website.

Extension of Stay

If you do not complete your studies in the time noted on your DS-2019 form you must request an extension of your J-1 student status. This request must be supported by a letter from your advisor outlining the reason for the extension, the expected date of graduation and the amount and source of the funding available for the period of time requested. CIE will prepare a new DS-2019 reflecting the extended period. Your request for an extension must be completed before the end date as noted on your DS-2019 form.

Transfer of J-1 Program

An Exchange Visitor may transfer from one designated program to another designated program. CIE will verify your immigration status and program eligibility, prepare an DS-2019 form and secure the written release of the current sponsor in Section 8 of the new Form DS-2019. The transfer procedures must be completed prior to the end date as noted on the form DS-2019.

Change of Category

The Exchange Visitor Program may, at its discretion, allow an Exchange Visitor to change category or exchange participation, eg. from student to scholar. Any change in category must be consistent with and closely related to the participants original exchange objective. It will be necessary to prove that the requested change is due to unusual or exceptional circumstances. Requests for category changes, along with supporting justification, must be submitted to the Exchange Visitor staff at the Department of State by the participant's sponsor.

Grace Period

If you are a J-1 student and have completed your program objective, you have 30 days to leave the United States or change to another visa status.

After your J-1 Academic Training expires, you have 30 days to leave the United States or apply for a change of status.

If you withdraw from class without previous authorization, you have no grace period and must depart the U.S. immediately.


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