J-1 Visa Status

J-1 International Students MUST:

  • Have a valid, unexpired passport
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend
  • Refrain from unlawful employment
  • Make normal progress towards completing a course of study
  • Have a valid DS-2019 and apply for extensions in a timely manner
  • Follow transfer procedures
  • Be a full-time student by completing a minimum of:
FULL TIME REQUIREMENTS Undergraduate Students*** Graduate Students***
Fall/Spring Semesters* 12 credits each 9 credits each
Summer C** 12 credits (or 6 credits Summer A and B each) 6 credits (or 3 credits Summer A and B each)
Summer B** 6 credits 3 credits

* You must be registered full time each Fall and Spring semester
** If you are admitted in a Summer A, B or C semester, you must be registered full time in the summer in which you are admitted. Future summers do not require full time registration.

NOTE: If you are in your FINAL GRADUATING SEMESTER, you are automatically allowed to register less than full time as indicated in the table below. No special authorization is required in this situation.

Final Semester Minimum Registration Requirements Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
Fall 1 credit 3 credits
Spring 1 credit 3 credits
Summer 1 credit 2 credits

Recognize and Avoid Status Violations

If you violate the requirements that govern your immigration status, you may jeopardize your ability to remain in the United States as a student. Examples of violations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to enroll by the date specified by your school.
  • Failure to maintain a full course load without prior authorization for a reduction from your ISA.
  • Unauthorized employment during your stay.
  • Failure to leave the United States following completion of your course or program-related employment.
  • Failure to maintain insurance coverage for the student and his/her dependents

* Please note that this is not a complete listing of potential status violations. Check with your ISA for more information.

J-2 Dependent Spouse or Child

  • J-2 Spouse:
    • Is only in status while the J-1 is in status
    • Is eligible for employment; must be authorized by USCIS
    • Is allowed to enroll in a degree program
  • J-2 Child:
    • Is only in status while the J-1 is in status
    • Is eligible for employment; must be authorized by USCIS
    • May enroll in educational institutions (K-12) and as degree seeking students

Employment Authorization

  • J-1 STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR EMPLOYMENT AS INDICATED BELOW:
    • On campus, with prior approval from the ISA
    • A maximum of 20 hours per week during fall/spring semesters; full time permitted for summer semesters
    • Full time during official vacation periods
    • Through Academic Training during the degree program or after it is completed

NOTE: Contact ISS prior to any employment which occurs off campus (paid or unpaid) and prior to accepting payments from United States sources.

Grace Period

As a J-1 student, you have a 30 day grace period after your date of graduation (or Academic Training end date, if applicable). During the grace period, you may remain in the United States but you may NOT exit and re-enter the United States in J-1 status. If you only need to re-enter the United States to pick up your belongings, you should consider the possibility of entering the United States on a tourist visa.