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Maintaining Your J-1 Status

  • If your DS-2019 was issued by IUP, please read the following. If your DS-2019 was issued by a sponsoring institution such as Fulbright or IIE, please contact your student advisor there.


    You are obliged to follow these requirements: 

    • Passport, Visa, and I-94: Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future. If you need to extend your passport while in the U.S., you should contact your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. Your visa must be valid for entry into the U.S. only. If your visa expires while here, you can remain as long as your DS-2019 is valid. Your I-94 should be marked D/S, which stands for "duration of status." This means you can remain in the U.S. for the period specified on your DS-2019, plus a period of thirty days after. 
    • Health Insurance: Both J-1 and J-2 visa holders are required to obtain health insurance that meets minimum requirements specified by federal regulations.  It must be maintained through the entire program. Proof of insurance must be given to ensure validation of your immigration record. Requirements: 1) benefits of at least $100,000 per accident; 2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; 3) medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000; and 4) a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness. 
    • Address: Notify International Education of your local address when you arrive at IUP and about any change in address within ten days of moving. Please complete the Check-In Form.
    • Full Course of Study: To remain a full-time student, you must take twelve or more credit hours if you are an undergraduate student or nine or more credit hours if you are a graduate student during each academic semester (Fall and Spring). Before you drop a full course of study, you must get an approval from the international student advisor in the Office of International Education. Students are not permitted to take a semester off. Please complete the Reduced Course Load Form.  
    • Employment:
      • Off campus: It is a serious violation of your status to work off campus without prior authorization from International Education.
      • On campus: You are allowed to work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session. These twenty hours include work for an assistantship. Students are permitted to work forty hours per week on campus during breaks (summer, winter, and spring).
    • Extension:
      • Exchange students cannot extend their DS-2019 because of agreements between universities. Exchange students may remain in the U.S. with approved academic training but cannot become degree-seeking students while on exchange.
      • Degree-seeking students, if you have valid academic or health reasons, you can request more time to complete your program at IUP than that which is authorized on the IUP DS-2019. The request to extend the program must be done before the expiration date on your DS-2019. Please complete the Program Extension Form.
    • Completion of Study: If you have completed your studies and/or academic training and did not change to another immigration status, you must leave the U.S. within thirty days. 
    • Departure: Any earlier departure from IUP, before the end date on your DS-2019, requires you to inform International Education about the date and reason for doing so, so your immigration record can be updated.
    • Travel: If you plan to leave the U.S., you must have the following documents with you to re-enter the country:
      • Valid passport
      • DS-2019 with a valid signature. The signature is valid for twelve months.
      • U.S. visa stamp in your passport must be valid for your return to the U.S. If it has expired or will expire, you need to obtain a new student visa abroad — it cannot be renewed in the U.S.
      • Proof of enrollment. You can request a letter from the Office of International Education stating that you are valid as a student at IUP.
    • Students traveling outside the U.S. who fall under “special registration” must have an exit interview with immigration officials at the airport from which their international flight departs. If you travel within the U.S., International Education recommends that you carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019 form.
    • Academic Program or Degree Level Change: If you plan to change your academic program or degree level, you must inform International Education. You will receive a new DS-2019, which has to be produced within fifteen days of beginning the new program or degree level.
    • Attending Another School (Transfer): If you decide to attend another university, you must notify International Education of your intention. According to DHS, International Education must transfer your record in SEVIS to your new school. After that, the new school can issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019. Please complete the SEVIS Transfer Form.
    • Dependents: You must notify International Education of any accompanying dependents in J-2 status and provide biographical information (e.g. full name, address, country of birth, etc.) and immigration information (e.g. passport information, visa information, etc.). You can do this using the Request for Spouse and Children Form. For traveling and re-entering the U.S., J-2 dependents need all the same documents as the J-1.

    Failure to Maintain Legal Student Status

    Consequences if you fail to maintain your legal student status:  

    • You lose the privileges of your student visa (tuition waiver, work, practical training, etc.).
    • You are considered illegally present and can be subject to removal by the U.S. government.
    • Possible denial of request to re-enter the U.S.
    • Possible denial of request to change your non-immigration status.
    • Possible denial of future visa application.

    Please see the Office of International Education on-line calendar for immigration workshop dates. E-mail International Education,, if you have additional questions.