Maintaining Your J-1 Status
Regulations by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the implementation of the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) require international students and scholars in J-1 visa classification to maintain their legal status in the U.S. Now that you have entered the U.S. as a non-immigrant student, you must be aware of and comply fully with the following in order to maintain your legal status.
This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. To discuss questions or concerns about your legal status in the U.S., please contact us.
- Basic Requirements
- Change of Address or Name
- Early Departure
- Enrollment Requirements
- Form DS-2019
- Health Insurance
- Out of Status
- Program Extension
- Transferring Schools
- Visit OIP within the first week of classes to have your documents copied and to report your local address. You will be registered in SEVIS to remain in legal J-1 status.
- Maintain a valid passport at all times.
- Attend the college/university that the USCIS has authorized you to attend.
You must be enrolled in a full course of study during normal enrollment periods. For the definition of full-time enrollment for your program and for exemptions to enrollment requirements, see Enrollment Requirements.
Always keep your DS-2019 current. Your DS-2019 has an expiration date indicated in item #3. If you need additional time beyond this date to complete your program of study, please see below for information about program extensions. If you have completed your program of study, you have 30 days to legally remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of your DS-2019 (or beyond the completion date of your program, whichever is earlier). This 30-day period is known as your "grace period." During the grace period, you can change to a new degree program, transfer to a new school, or prepare to depart the U.S.
Request a new Form DS-2019 when changing your academic program from one degree level to another (e.g., from bachelor's to master's level), one school to another (e.g., from the School of Medicine to the School of Business), or one major/field of study to another (e.g., from chemistry to physics). You must notify OIP as soon as you know about your program change, but not later than 2 weeks after the change has gone into effect.
You should retain all of your original DS-2019s. If you apply for an H-1B work visa or adjustment of status, you will be asked to produce copies of these documents.
Note: Your DS-2019 and your visa are two entirely different documents. While your DS-2019 needs to remain valid while studying in the United States, your visa does not. Your visa is an entry document to the U.S. and does not need to be renewed as long as you remain in the U.S. For more information about travel documents and visa renewal, see Travel Instructions.
Change of Address or Name
Report any change of local address or residence and/or any change of name by updating LOCUS within 10 days of the change. OIP will receive the information from LOCUS and then electronically notify USCIS/DOS of the change within 21 days, as required by immigration regulations. For more information, see Change of Address.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor program requires all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents to have health insurance coverage. During your stay in the U.S., your insurance coverage must meet the following minimum requirements: $50,000 for each illness or accident with a deductible not to exceed $500 per illness or accident, $10,000 for medical evacuation and $7,500 for repatriation of remains. Coverage must be continuous for the J-1 principal and J-2 dependents. Loyola University Chicago's health insurance is an acceptable form of coverage. For more information about health insurance, see J-1 Medical Insurance Requirement.
Notify OIP prior to traveling outside the U.S. so that the Form DS-2019 can be endorsed for travel or a new form can be issued, if required. For more information, see Travel Instructions.
Notify OIP of any accompanying dependents who will be in J-2 status and provide biographical information (full name, date of birth, address, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information) regarding those dependents. OIP is required to report information to USCIS and/or DOS regarding your dependents and to issue a Form DS-2019 for each dependent. For more information, see an OIP advisor.
You are not allowed to work in the U.S. without authorization. J-1 students are only allowed to work on campus with their program sponsor's authorization. J-1 students with a program sponsor other than Loyola should contact their J-1 program sponsor directly. If Loyola is your sponsor, you must receive approval from the Responsible Officer before engaging in any work (e.g., on campus, academic training or employment due to economic necessity). J-1 scholars should request permission from the J-1 Scholar Advisor in OIP before beginning any additional employment. For more information about J-1 employment regulations, see J-1 Employment Options.
International students and their dependents are required to file federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms each year. Filing deadline is April 15. All J-1s and F-2s must file the 8843. If you have earned income, you are also required to file the 1040NR-EZ, 1040NR, or in a few cases, the 1040. It is also recommended that you file these additional forms, even if you are not required to, to demonstrate your compliance with federal regulations if you think you might ever wish to apply to adjust your status to that of Permanent Resident. For more information about filing fax forms, see Taxes.
Complete an official immigration transfer whenever you change educational institutions. J-1 students and scholars must notify their current institutions of their intent to transfer, obtain a DS-2019 form from the new institution, and report to the Responsible Officer at the new school by the start date on the new DS-2019 form. For more detailed information about the transfer process, please see Transferring to a New School or Transferring to Loyola.
Apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date (item #3) on your Form DS-2019 if you cannot complete your program by that date. Requests for extensions should be submitted at least 30-60 days prior to the expiration date of your Form DS-2019 so the extension process can be completed prior to the expiration date on the document. To apply for an extension, please see the more detailed Program Extension page.
Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, students leave the university early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, suspension, or expulsion. U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.3(g)(3) and 22CFR62.70(a)(3)] require you to inform your OIP international student advisor if you plan to leave the university before the date on your DS-2019, and the reason for doing so.
Out of Status
It is highly recommended that, if you should become out of status through circumstances beyond your control, you apply for reinstatement before five months has passed. It will become much more difficult to obtain reinstatement after this amount of time has passed and most likely impossible after a year.
The visa stamp in your passport is an entry document only. As an F-1 or J-1 student, you only need to obtain a visa renewal is if it has expired and you are seeking to re-enter the U.S. from abroad. To learn more about visa validity, renewing your visa, and special cases please visit our visa renewal page.