Maintaining Status

You are responsible for staying in status, and we will give you the information you need.

“Staying in 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.

OIA 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

It is essential to check your IUI email regularly. If you do not, you could miss communications that are important to maintaining your status.

  • Maintain a Valid DS-2019

    Do not let your DS-2019 expire. If necessary, you can request an extension using Atlas. However, if your DS-2019 was issued by another sponsor (not IUI), 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 OIA 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 Atlas at least two weeks before you leave.

  • Enroll Full-Time

    To stay in status, you need to 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 8 credit hours.

    There are exceptions to this rule.

  • Work Only With Authorization

    In nearly all cases, you must receive authorization from either OIA or your J-1 Program Sponsor before you begin working.

    Learn more about your employment options »

  • Keep Your Address Updated

    You must update your address within 10 days of any move, even if it is only temporary. Learn more about changes of address »

  • Keep a Valid Passport

    You must have a valid passport at all times. If your passport will expire while you are in the United States, 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 United States. 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 United States by the end of your grace period if you have not taken other action to extend your stay.

    Planning for graduation »