Listed below are the basic immigration regulations that exchange visitors with J-1 visas are required to follow while in the U.S. By following the guidelines below, you should have no problem maintaining your J-1 visa status and can therefore take full advantage of the benefits available such as academic training.
- Maintain a valid passport at all times. If your passport has expired or will expire within the next six months, contact your home country’s embassy in the U.S. or your international student advisor on campus for instructions on how to receive a new passport.
- Enroll full-time each semester. Exchange students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours per fall and spring semesters to be considered full-time.
- Apply for a program extension if your DS-2019 will expire and more time is needed to complete your program. Please note the completion date on item #3 of your DS-2019. If you do not plan to finish your program by that date, you must apply for a Program Extension 30 days before your DS-2019 expires. Application materials are available in the Office of International Programs & Services.
- Notify the OIPS of any changes on the DS-2019. These may include a change of address or contact information, marriage (if your spouse will hold the J-2 dependent visa) or change in program courses. Such changes require the Office of International Programs & Services to report to ICE through the SEVIS tracking system. Financial support documentation must not be any older than 6 months for J-2 dependents.
- Maintain health insurance with medical evacuation and repatriation coverage throughout the duration of your stay as a J-1 student. Required health insurance benefits for exchange visitors are set by the U.S. Department of State.
- On-campus work is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students may work 20 hours per week while classes are in session. On-campus employment may be full-time during the summer and official school breaks only. No special permission from ICE is required for on-campus employment.
- Off-campus work is prohibited unless authorized by the Designated School Official in the Office of International Programs & Services. Exchange visitors are not allowed to work off-campus without prior approval.
- Travel outside of U.S. requires a signed DS-2019 for re-entry. If you are planning to travel outside the U.S. with the intention of re-entering, you must have the Designated School Official endorse your DS-2019 authorizing your re-entry into the United States.
If you fail to comply with the ICE regulations listed above, you will be out of status. Persons who are out of status are not eligible to engage in Academic Training. It is important to maintain close contact with the OIPS to ensure that you remain in status. If you have any questions about your J-1 visa, contact the Office of International Programs & Services at any time.
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