Current J-1 Students

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 and passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future
  • 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 $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
    • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
    • The mandatory international student health insurance provided by the College of Charleston meets all of these requirements.
      • 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
      • Update any changes of address or phone number via MyCharleston within 10 days of the change
      • Request all other changes such as program extension, change of degree level, or any updates with the Center for International Education
      • Maintain full time enrollment by enrolling in at least 12 credit hours per semester

The College of Charleston has its own international student health insurance plan that all international students will enroll in and pay for which will provide coverage for the duration of studies at the College of Charleston. As this cost is outlined on your Certificate of Finance and is a requirement of the College you will need to plan your expenses accordingly.

You can learn more about enrolling in or waiving out of the CofC health insurance plan here

The College of Charleston offers the professionally staffed Student Health Services to provide treatment for basic medical conditions. They do not, however, conduct major surgery, treat major illnesses or provide overnight care. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Twenty-four hour care is available at several nearby hospitals. For life-threatening emergencies dial 843.953.5611 if on campus or 911 anywhere else in the United States.

All J-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time during Fall and Spring semesters. International students are normally not required to take classes during the summer.  Undergraduate students must be enrolled for 12 credit hours.  Graduate students must be enrolled for 6 credit hours.  For exceptions to being full time contact the Center for International Education.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Who must file tax forms for 2022 tax season?

Even if you did not earn any income, if you were physically in the US on F or J status anytime between January 1st – December 31st 2022, you’re obligated to file a Form 8843 with the IRS (the Internal Revenue Service, or ‘IRS’, are the US tax authorities).

Meanwhile, if you earned any taxable US source income, you may need to file a federal tax return with the IRS. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to file a state tax return(s).

Tax Filing Deadline:

April 18, 2023 is the last day for residents and nonresidents who earned US income to file Federal tax returns for the 2021 tax year.

Who is considered Resident or Nonresident for Federal Tax Purposes:

Generally, most international students & scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered nonresidents for tax purposes. International students on J-1 & F-1 visas are automatically considered nonresident for their first five calendar years in the US, whilst Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered nonresidents for two out of the last six calendar years in the US. If you’ve been in the US for longer than the five or two year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.

How to File:

Generally, most international students & scholars who are on F, J, M or Q visas are considered nonresidents for tax purposes. International students on J-1 & F-1 visas are automatically considered nonresident for their first five calendar years in the US, whilst Scholars/Researchers on J visas are automatically considered nonresidents for two out of the last six calendar years in the US.

If you’ve been in the US for longer than the five or two year periods, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.

We have teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with an easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for nonresident students and scholars in the US.

We (and all other university staff) are not qualified or allowed to provide individual tax advice.

After you login to Sprintax, you will be asked a series of questions about the time you have spent in the US over recent years. Sprintax will then determine your tax status. If it determines that you are a “nonresident alien” (NRA) for federal tax purposes, you can continue to use the software and respond to a series of guided  questions. Sprintax will then complete and generate the tax forms you need to send to the tax authorities.

However, if Sprintax determines that you are a resident alien for federal tax purposes, you won’t be able to continue using the software.

Step by Step guide on How to File Your Nonresident Tax Forms (F and J)

1. Gather the documents you may need for Sprintax

Document

Description

Passport

Visa/Immigration information, including form I-20 (F status) or form DS-2019 (J status)

Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have one)

This is not needed if you had no income and the 8843 is the only form you have to file.

*

W-2

This form reports your wage earnings if you worked. If you had more than one employer you should get a W-2 from each employer. It is issued by the end of January for the previous year. Make sure all employers from last year have an up-to-date address for you.

✔*

1042-S

This form is used to report:

  1. stipend, scholarship, fellowship income and travel grants (not tuition reduction or exemption)
  2. income covered by a tax treaty
  3. payment for other types of services (eg by the semester as a note-taker)

If you received this type of income, the 1042-S will be mailed to you by 15 March by the payer.

Note: Only Nonresident Aliens receive this form. If your tax status changes to a Resident Alien you will not get a 1042-S. Login to Sprintax to check your tax status if you're not sure.

US entry and exit dates for current and past visits to the US

In addition to passport stamps, you can review or print your US travel history here

✔*

1099

This form reports miscellaneous income. Can be interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, earning through freelance employment

1098-T

This form is NOT needed and can NOT be used for a nonresident tax return because NRAs are not eligible to claim education expense tax credits.

2. Create a Sprintax Account:

You will receive an email from the Center for International Education providing you with a link to Sprintax to set up your account as well as your unique code to use on Sprintax. This unique code will cover the costs of the federal tax return and 8843 at no cost to you. Open your new Sprintax account by creating a UserID and password or if you have an existing account on Sprintax you can login using your existing credentials.

If you have not received an email from the Center for International Education, please email intlstudents@cofc.edu

3. Follow the Sprintax instructions

If you did not earn any US Income: Sprintax will generate a completed Form 8843 for you and each of your dependents (if you have any).

If you did earn US Income: Sprintax will generate your "tax return documents", including either a 1040NR-EZ or a longer form 1040NR, depending on your circumstances.

4. (With U.S. income only) If required, complete your state tax return

After you finish your federal return, Sprintax will inform you if you need to complete a state tax return. If so, you will have the option to use Sprintax for an additonal fee. However, it is your choice to use them or to do the state tax return on your own.

5. Read the instructions for filing/mailing your returns

Remember to read the instructions that Sprintax provides.

You will be required to download, print and sign your federal tax return and mail it to the IRS. If you have a state filing requirement, you must also mail this to the tax authorities.

Finally, if you only need to file Form 8843, this will also need to be mailed to the IRS.

Need Sprintax Support?

If you need help while using Sprintax, you can contact their support team using the options below

Email - hello@sprintax.com

24/7 Live Chat Help

Refer to their FAQs

Sprintax Educational Tax Videos and Blog:

You also have access to the Sprintax YouTube account where there are a number of educational videos on nonresident taxes. These will provide further clarity on nonresident tax and how to use Sprintax. Sprintax also offer a range of useful content on their blog to help you file your return.

DISCLAIMER: International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) and the school are NOT permitted to assist any student/scholar with any IRS tax form preparation or tax related questions. The information provided is intended for your benefit. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sprintax, a certified tax preparer or a local IRS field office.