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Maintaining Your J-1 Status

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Quick Reference for Maintaining Your J-1 Status 

  • Report to OISS to have your student record registered in SEVIS in a timely fashion: no later than 30 days after the program start date and each semester thereafter 
  • Pursue a "full course of study" as listed on the Form DS-2019 during every academic session
  • Keep your Form DS-2019 valid by following proper procedures for an extension of stay if necessary
  • Keep your Form DS-2019 valid by following proper procedures for a change in educational levels or programs of study if necessary
  • Keep your Form DS-2019 valid by following proper procedures for a transfer of schools if appropriate 
  • Abide by J-1 grace period rules: 30 days 
  • Report a change of address to OISS within 10 days of the change 
  • Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity
  • Do not work, either on or off campus, without prior authorization in SEVIS. 

The Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement- 212 (E)

Some J-1 exchange visitors have the responsibility of spending 2 years in their home country before they will be allowed to reenter the U.S. in certain types of immigration status.  Your program sponsor and/or OISS staff can advise you regarding the applicability of this requirement to your particular situation.


Registration, Attendance, and Course Load Requirement 

International students in J-1 Status are required to maintain full time enrollment during the school year. Full-time enrollment for degree-seeking students is defined as 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and varies by school and program for graduate students. The requirement for non-degree students is that you must be engaged fulltime in a prescribed course of study. If you will not meet the requirement, you must complete this form. PLEASE NOTE: under enrollment must be pre-approved. Federal regulations severely limit a student’s ability to under enroll. OISS is required to report an
unauthorized drop below fulltime via the SEVIS system and you will be out of status.

Your options include:

  • Authorization to drop below full-time (if your circumstances fall into one of the allowable reasons)
  • Converting a class to independent study (possible in limited circumstances)
  • Providing evidence that you have a Teaching Assistantship or a Research Assistantship
  • For non-degree students, providing evidence that you are engaged full time in a prescribed course of study

Learn More

Extension of Status 

If a student will not be able to complete their course of study before the program end date listed on their DS-2019, they must apply for an extension before the program end date with an explanation of the reasons for the delay in completion of their program. 

If a student fails to apply for an extension before the DS-2019 program end date, the student is considered out of status and is not eligible for an extension. The student would have to either apply for reinstatement or exit the U.S. and apply for admission with a new DS-2019 and a new SEVIS ID for initial attendance. 

Click here for instructions and forms 

Procedures for Transfer Out 

Students must inform OISS of their intent to transfer to another school and provide the name and the school code of the school to which the student will transfer (the "transfer-in" school) on the transfer-out form. 

Students must inform the transfer-in school of their arrival within 15 days of the program start date listed on the Form DS-2019.

Please contact Beth Nazar at to learn more about ransferring your J-1 program.

Frequently Asked Questions