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J-1 Maintaining Status


 You are responsible for maintaining your legal status, and we will give you the information you need.

“Maintaining status” means you are following the rules to stay in the United States legally. It is critical that you stay in legal status.

If you fall out of status, you are no longer in the United States legally. If that happens, you could have serious problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You could compromise your ability to get a U.S. visa or even enter the United States in the future. You must also be in status to receive employment authorization.

The ISO is happy to provide you with the information and advice you need to maintain your status. However, maintaining your status is your responsibility.

How to Maintain Your J-1 Student Status


Maintain a Valid DS-2019

Do not let your DS-2019 expire. If necessary, you can request an extension using iStart. However, if your DS-2019 was issued by another sponsor (not WKU), you will need to process your extension through them.

You will also need a new DS-2019 if you change your degree level, major, funding source, or the number of J-2 dependents you have. Making these changes can sometimes be difficult. Be sure to contact an ISO advisor to discuss your plans before you take any action.

Get Your DS-2019 Signed Before You Travel

Make sure you have a valid travel signature for yourself and your dependents before traveling outside the United States. To get one, make a request in iStart at least two weeks before you leave.

Enroll Full Time

To maintain your status as a J-1 student, you must enroll in a full load of classes each fall and spring semester. Undergraduate students must enroll in at least 12 credit hours each semester. Most graduate students must enroll in at least 9 credit hours.

Learn the exceptions to this rule>>

Work Only with Authorization

For the different types of work you must receive authorization from the ISO or your J-1 program sponsor before you begin working.  

Learn more about your employment options>>

Keep Your Address Updated

You are required to update your address within 10 days of any change or move, even if it is only temporary.

Learn about changes of address>>

Keep a Valid Passport

Your passport must be valid at all times. If your passport will expire while you are in the U.S., you need to contact your embassy to find out how to renew it.

Abide by Grace Periods

You have a 30-day grace period following the completion of your J-1 student program or Academic Training (AT). You can use this time to take care of personal matters and/or travel around the US. If you are not subject to the two-year home residence requirement, you can also apply for a different immigration status during your grace period. You are required to depart the Unites States by the end of your grace period if you have not taken other action to extend your stay.

Learn more about completing your program>>


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 Last Modified 11/14/16