J-1: Maintaining Legal Student Status

In order to maintain legal status as a J-1 student, you must:

  • Maintain a valid passport and a current, authorized Form DS 2019 at all times (check the completion of studies date in section 3 of your Form DS 2019).

  • Update ISS with your change of address within 10 days of moving. Please submit MyISS>F-1 and J-1 Student Services>Address Update to report a new address.

  • Maintain full-time student status.
    To be considered a J-1 student in status, you must be enrolled full-time every fall and spring semester except during the last semester of your degree program.

    • Full-time undergraduate = minimum 12 credit hours

    • Full-time graduate without Grad Staff appointment (Graduate Student Assistantship or GSA; requires employment) = 8 minimum credit hours

    • Full-time graduate with Grad Staff appointment = 6 minimum credit hours

    • Note that summer registration is not required to maintain your legal status if you were fulltime in the previous spring semester and you will be fulltime in the subsequent fall semester in the same academic program. 

    • Only one course or three credits delivered on-line or digitally online may apply to your minimum full-time enrollment status. Additional online courses may be taken as long as the minimum credit hours has been achieved.

    • Audited courses do NOT count toward your minimum full-time enrollment requirement. 
    • Last Semester of Program 
      • Students must enroll in and complete at least one class or research credit in which they are required to be physically present for at least 80% of the semester, and

      • no more than one one course may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.

      • Undergraduate students in their final semester 
        • may register part-time, but they must be in at least one class in which they are required to be physically present on campus for the majority of the semester.
        • Students must be enrolled in and pursuing all remaining coursework with the intention of graduation at the end of the semester and no more than three credit hours of the remaining required coursework may be delivered via distance learning.
      • Graduate Students who need part-time registration in their final semester to complete their studies must request reduced course load authorization by submitting MyISS>F-1 and J-1 Student Services>Reduced Course Load for Academic Reason.

  • Notify ISS of any change in your field of study , education level, or funding so that a new Form DS 2019 indicating this change can be produced.

  • Request a Program Extension if you will not graduate by the Completion Date in section #3 of your Form DS-2019. Note that once studies are completed, J-1 students are permitted a 30-day grace period, but if you are not completing your program, you must extend prior to the program end date on your DS-2019. Make the request through myISS as early in the semester as possible. The deadline to extend your DS-2019 is 14 calendar days before the expiration.

  • Keep your passport and your dependents' passports valid at all times. To extend your passport, you will need to contact your home country embassy or consulate for the procedures that you must follow. Be sure to contact your embassy at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of the passport so that you will have time to process the extension. If you have questions concerning this procedure, you may inquire at the ISS office.

  • Maintain and keep in your possession, I-94 Departure Card and Form DS 2019. These documents are proof of your J-1 status.

  • Maintain adequate health insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents as required by federal regulations