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Maintaining J-1 Student Status

As a J-1 student, you are required to follow certain rules in order to maintain valid immigration status. It is essential that you understand these rules and contact the International Center if you have any questions. Even unintentional failure to comply with any of these rules may lead you to lose your status and your J-1 benefits, including on-campus employment and practical training privileges.

Note: J-1 students at Tufts may be sponsored by either Tufts directly, or by an external organization such as the Institute of International Education, AMIDEAST, or LASPAU. If your sponsor is an external organization, you must contact them for information about how to maintain valid J-1 student status.

1. Maintain unexpired immigration documents

  • You must maintain an unexpired passport at all times
    • Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future
    • Contact your country's embassy to get your passport renewed if your passport will expire in the near future
  • You must have a valid, unexpired Form DS-2019 that correctly reflects your program objective (e.g., bachelor's degree) and major (e.g., biology)
    • Contact the International Center if your degree objective and/or major has changed

2. Maintain full-time enrollment at 12 SHUs (for undergraduate students) or 9 SHUs (for graduate students)

  • You must enroll full-time during the fall and spring semesters
  • You may take summers as a vacation, unless full-time enrollment is required by your program
  • You must not withdraw from a course without first getting authorization from an International Center advisor, if withdrawing will cause you to drop below full-time
    • An unauthorized drop below full-time status will lead to termination of your F-1 student status
    • You may request a reduced course load (part-time or no study) in certain situations, but the reduced course load request must be approved by the International Center before dropping below full-time enrollment

3. Make normal, full-time progress toward completing your degree or educational objective

  • You must maintain satisfactory academic standing and make normal, full-time progress toward reaching your degree or educational objective

4. Extend your DS-2019 BEFORE it expires if you need more time to complete your programĀ 

  • If you need more time to complete your program, you must contact the International Center BEFORE your DS-2019 expires
    • Extensions may be completed only if there are compelling academic or medical reasons for needing more time to complete your program.
    • To request an extension of your DS-2019 end date, please meet with your academic advisor or Registrar to discuss your academic plan.
    • Upon receiving approval for extension, complete the J-1 Program Extension Request in the Request Center of your International Center Portal.

5. Update your US residential address and telephone number in SIS

  • Update any changes to your US address and phone number within ten days
    • You should update your address changes in the Student Information System (SIS)
    • If you are staying in a Tufts residence hall, your US address will be updated in SIS automatically once your residence hall address becomes active

6. Maintain J-1 health insurance coverage

  • J-1 visa holders (and J-2 dependents) are required to have health insurance that meets J-1 visa requirements for health insurance
  • If you are not receiving your health insurance through the Tufts Student Health Insurance plan, you must get alternative insurance that meets the J-1 visa health insurance requirements

7. Do not accept off-campus employment without authorization

  • If you want to work off-campus, you must first get authorization from the International Center
  • Working without authorization is considered a serious violation of immigration status and may require you to leave the US

8. Depart the US or take other steps to maintain your status before the end of your 'grace period'

  • Once you complete your program objective, you have a grace period of thirty (30) days in which you are allowed to prepare for departure from the US
    • The grace period starts once you have completed your J-1 program objective
    • The grace period ends once you leave the US or by the end of the 30th day, whichever comes first
  • You may also pursue other immigration options during the grace period, such as applying for post-completion J-1 Academic Training or requesting a J-1 transfer to another school
  • The 30-day grace period is available only when you complete your original degree objective
  • The grace period is intended only to give you time to prepare for departure - it does not give you extra time to continue studying or working in the US