Maintaining your J-1 status

Exchange visitors (EV) are required to attend the orientation program offered by our office in the beginning of the semester. Students must bring the following documents to the orientation:

  • DS-2019
  • Passport/visa
  • Proof of health insurance for themselves and all dependents

To maintain your legal status in the United States as an EV, you must remember these important requirements:

  1. Always be full time.
    • Degree-seeking students must enroll for a full course of study (12 credits for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduates) every fall and spring semester.  Students may take only on-campus courses in order to meet your full course load requirements.  Exchange students must enroll in and complete the specific prescribed course of study necessary for them to complete their program.
  2. Obtain permission to be less than full-time before your drop, withdraw, or stop attending a class.
    • Students who believe they will not be able to maintain a full course of study must contact our office PRIOR to dropping below full time so we can advise them appropriately.
  3. Make sure your program end date on your Form DS-2019 is accurate.
    • If students cannot complete their program by the program end date listed on the DS-2019, they must apply for an extension BEFORE the program end date. If they expect to complete their program earlier than the program end date, they must get an updated DS-2019 BEFORE they complete their program. Contact our office immediately if you need assistance.
  4. Maintain appropriate health insurance.
    • All J-1 exchange visitors, including their dependents, are required to have health insurance that meets certain standards set by the U.S. Department of State for the duration of their program.  Failure to carry sufficient health insurance is considered a violation of J-1 immigration status and could result in the termination of an exchange visitor’s SEVIS record.
      • The minimum requirements are:
        • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
        • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
        • In case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of at least $50,000;
        • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness. 
  5.  Update your local address and personal information within 10 days of the change.
    • Students must do this by notifying our office. Students are required to report changes of name, major, financial sponsorship and address. Students can update their address through the Pipeline but for all other changes they must contact their international adviser.
  6. Work only as authorized.
    • J-1 students may engage in employment in an on-campus position.  Such employment is limited to part-time during the academic year (no more than 20 hours per week) and full-time (more than 20 hours) during official school breaks and summer vacation.  All on-campus employment must be authorized by our office before the employment start date.
    • J-1 students looking for off-campus employment may apply for Academic Training.  Please speak with an adviser for more information.
    • Note that any type of work without prior authorization is a violation of J-1 immigration status and is grounds for termination of an exchange visitor’s record.
  7. Depart the U.S. within 30 days of your program end date or Academic Training end date.
    • Students who have completed their program of study or Academic Training must depart the U.S. within 30 days of completion program.
    • There is no grace period for students departing the U.S. before the end date of their program.
    • Please contact an adviser if you are planning to leave the U.S. before the program end date listed on your DS-2019. We will record your departure in SEVIS by “ending” your program.
  8.  Keep your immigration documents current.
    • Keep your passport valid. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. Additionally, you should make photocopies of your immigration documents and keep the originals in a safe place. You should make photocopies of your passport pages with your personal information and picture; your U.S. visa; your I-94 Form printout and your Form DS-2019.