As a student in the U.S. in J-1 status, you are required to follow specific federal laws. This page is meant to provide a generic overview of certain J-1 requirements; it does not contain all laws for every situation. If you ever have questions or concerns, always contact an advisor with International Student and Scholar Services for specific guidance.
As a J-1 student, it is your responsibility to maintain your non-immigrant J-1 status. Failure to follow the laws for J-1 status can result in you losing your legal ability to be in the U.S., and may harm your chances of getting a new visa in the future. To ensure you are following J-1 laws, you must:
- Keep your passport valid at all times, in most cases for at least 6 months into the future.
- Ensure your I-94 card is always marked as J-1, D/S when you re-enter the U.S.
- Study at The University of Iowa (educational institution listed on your DS-2019).
- Complete your class registration by the published registration deadline generally the 10-12 days after the first day of class, as published in the Office of the Registrar Academic Deadlines calendar.
- Maintain adequate health insurance coverage for your J-1 status and your J-2 dependents as legally required.
- Update your change of physical address (where you live in the US) on ISIS within 10 days of the change. This address cannot be a P.O. Box or a departmental address.
- Pursue a full-course of study each fall and spring semester, defined as: 12 semester hours for undergraduate students and 9 semester hours for graduate students.
- Obtain permission from an ISSS advisor if you need to enroll in less than a full-course of study, using the Part-Time Enrollment Authorization form.
- Obtain permission from an ISSS advisor before withdrawing from all your courses.
- Make normal progress toward completing a course of study. This includes graduating when you are eligible to graduate and not delaying graduation for non-academic reasons.
- Not let your DS-2019 expire. You must remember the expiration date on your DS-2019, and process your program extension prior to the expiration date listed on your current DS-2019 if you are not able to complete your studies by that time.
- Obtain all on-campus work, off-campus work, and academic training authorizations in advance of beginning employment. The authorization must be in writing and must come from an ISSS advisor.
- Restrict your on-campus work to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. You may work full-time during the winter and summer vacations. You must maintain a current J-1 On-Campus Work Authorization Letter.
- Not work after completing your program of study unless you have been authorized for academic training by an ISSS advisor.
- If traveling outside the U.S., ensure you have a valid visa (except Canadian citizens) and a recent travel signature on your DS-2019.
- Notify ISSS if you will complete your program 30 or more days prior to the end date on your DS-2019.
- Depart from the U.S. within 30 days after completing your program of study.