International students with J-1 visa status are part of the Department of State Exchange Visitor Program that fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.
Exchange visitor students return to their home country after they complete their program here in the USA, sharing their educational and cultural experiences with people in their home country.
Important information for J-1 students
Maintaining Legal J-1 Status
In order to maintain a valid and legal J-1 status, please ensure the following:
- Attend full duration of the program (refer to program start and end dates on the DS‐2019).
- Have a valid DS‐2019 with accurate program dates and signature of the DSO/ARO.
- Make sure that the date of expiry on your passport is AT LEAST 6 months in the future.
- Engage in authorized employment only.
- File timely and appropriate extension request, if your program is extended.
- Report early departure from your program to IPS. If you decide to depart the United States more than 30 days prior to the completion date of your program (as indicated on your DS‐2019), you MUST notify your department AND IPS. Correctly recording your program completion date is important because it can affect the date on which you can return to the United States on a new J‐1 program, or in another visa status.
- Maintain required health insurance coverage.
- Update your current and permanent address information on Banweb (and also email IPS) within 10 days of moving.
- In order to be considered as full-time enrollment, a student needs to be registered for at least 9 credits (for Graduate students) or 12 credits (Undergraduates) during the Fall and Spring semesters.
- International students do not need to be enrolled during Summer semester (unless they begin their program in Summer, or they are receiving a fellowship/grant/assistantship that requires Summer enrollment).
- As part of full-time enrollment, number of online credits can be maximum 3 (i.e., only one class).
- Audited courses do not count towards full-time enrollment.
- The only exception to the full-time enrollment can be considered if the student has a Reduced Course Load (RCL) request approved by IPS.
J-1 students can obtain employment in either of the following 3 categories (as long as they maintain legal J-1 status):
- Academic Training (AT): Academic training (AT) is a job that directly relates to your (the J-1 student's) study major that was authorized by your J-1 program sponsor and as mentioned on the DS-2019. For more details about AT, please visit this page.
- On-campus employment: On-campus employment (including Research/Teaching Assistantship) is limited to 20 hours per week (i.e., part-time) during the academic semester, or up to 40 hours during breaks. Please review this page for detailed information about on-campus employment.
- Off-campus employment: Off-campus employment which may not be directly related to the student's area of study, can be authorized under special circumstances only for students who are facing unexpected economic hardship. Employment would limited to 20 hours per week (i.e., part-time) during the academic semester, or up to 40 hours during breaks. In order to have approval to apply for off-campus employment, you must explain, by means of a written statement to IPS, the details of your unexpected economic hardship and also demonstrate that all other current or potential employment opportunities are insufficient. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further questions.
J-2 dependents are eligible to work either part-time or full-time (irrespective of whether it is during the academic year or a break), provided they have authorization from the sponsor of the DS-2019. Visit this page for details about J-2 dependent employment.
Please note, in order to be successfully employed in any position, (i) the employment must be authorised by the sponsor of the J-1 student's DS-2019; and (ii) the individual (the J-1 student or J-2 dependent) must have a valid social security number. For details on how to apply for an SSN, click here.
Extending Your DS-2019
A J-1 student may request to stay longer than the initial program end date, and their DS-2019 may be extended up to the maximum period of participation. You (the J-1 student) must put in a request with your sponsor, and your academic department should also be in agreement with the extension. International Programs and Services can approve an extension of any duration up to the maximum period of participation.
You will be considered eligible to apply for an extension of status if:
- You are working toward the original program objective shown in section 4 of your most recent DS-2019.
- You are maintaining their status as a J-1 Exchange Visitor.
- You can show that they have adequate funding for themselves and any J-2 dependents during the proposed extension (minimum $14,000 per year).
- You (including J-2 dependents, if any) are currently maintaining and continue to maintain health insurance coverage that meets J-visa requirements.
Guidelines to extend a DS-2019:
You will need: (1) A completed Department Approval Request for Extension of Program Form with the signature of the concerned department head, (2) A copy of the new offer letter showing amount and duration of support, and the new program end date.
A concerned personnel from the student's host department will need to fill this Google form with all relevant information and upload both of the above-mentioned documents.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
- If your (i.e. the J-1 student')s I-94 is marked with a "D/S," this means that the extension is complete.
- If the I-94 is marked with a specific end date and not "D/S," please contact IPS immediately. You may need to travel outside the US to complete your extension.
- Processing the extension may take up to 14 working days, so please apply in advance.
J-2 Dependent Information
Please review all the information provided on the Rules for J-2 Dependents webpage.
Change of Level or Major
Please visit this page for necessary information on how to proceed with changing your level or major. Feel free to contact IPS if you have any questions or concerns.
Change of Status to F-1
There are two ways to obtain F-1 status if you are already in the United States as a J-1 student:
- You can submit an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- You may request admission to an F-1 program at Michigan Tech, and when you receive an acceptance letter and (F-1) I-20, you can return to your home country and apply for an F-1 visa from there.
Please refer this page for detailed information.
Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement [212(e)]
The 2-year home residency requirement is termed "212(e)" and it applies to some J-1
Exchange Visitors (EV). If you are subject to this requirement, it should be mentioned
on your visa or at the bottom of your DS-2019.
For more information, refer to the Home Residency Requirement webpage.
Upon completion of your program, you and your J‐2 dependents are allowed a 30‐day grace period to depart the United States. It is critical that you depart the United States on time, prior to the end of your grace period. You are not authorized to work during the grace period.