F-1 and J-1 Visa Regulations

F-1 Student Visa Regulations

F1 (student) status is given at the Port of Entry (POE) by an immigration official. F1 status is given to those entering the United States who present a valid SEVIS I-20 and F1 visa. Students must also be able to demonstrate a non-immigrant intent and that they plan to engage in full-time study.

F1 status will also be given an expiration date at the POE. Most often, F1 status is given an expiration of “D/S,” which stands for Duration of Status. This designation means that so long as a student remains in status, they may remain in the country.

The immigration status and expiration of that status are assigned by the immigration official at the POE and noted on the I-94 and I-20.

In order to remain in status, students must principally do the following:

•Pursue a “full course of study.” This means that F1 students CANNOT drop below full time (15 units) at any time. PERMISSION TO DROP BELOW FULL TIME CAN ONLY BE GRANTED BY A DESIGNATED SCHOOL OFFICIAL (DSO) IN THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SERVICES (ISS) OFFICE. F1 students may only receive permission to drop below full time ONCE.

•Do not engage in unauthorized employment. F1 student may only work on campus and are limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year. PERMISSION TO WORK OFF CAMPUS MUST BE COMPLETED THROUGH ISS PRIOR TO WHEN THE WORK BEGINS.

F1 Students must also:

  • Get a signature on page 3 of the I-20 from ISS before traveling outside of the United States (signature is officially “good” for one year, but no older than 6 months is recommended.
  • Make normal progress towards completion the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on I-20
  • Properly follow extension of stay procedures if program will not be completed by program completion date on I-20.
  • Report to the DSO for Initial Registration in SEVIS
  • Abide by grace period rules

F1 students should also maintain all immigration paperwork and documents:

  • Passport should always have at least 6 months of validity remaining
  • I-20 (3 pages) should be kept with passport and properly endorsed at the post of entry with “F1 D/S”
  • I-94 should be stapled into passport and properly endorsed at the Port of entry with “F1 D/S”

Questions about F1 status may be addressed to the International Student Services Office.

J-1 Student Visa Regulations

J1(student) status is given at the Port of Entry (POE) by an immigration official. J1 status is given to those entering the United States who present a valid SEVIS DS- 2019 and J1 visa. Students must also be able to demonstrate a non-immigrant intent and that they plan to engage in full-time study.

J1 status will also be given an expiration date at the POE. Most often, J1 status is given an expiration of “D/S,” which stands for Duration of Status. This designation means that so long as a student remains in status, they may remain in the country.

The immigration status and expiration of that status are assigned by the immigration official at the POE and noted on the I-94 and DS - 2019.

In order to remain in status, students must principally do the following:

  • Pursue a “full course of study.” This means that J1 students CANNOT drop below full time (15 units) at any time. PERMISSION TO DROP BELOW FULL TIME CAN ONLY BE GRANTED BY A DESIGNATED SCHOOL OFFICIAL (DSO) IN THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SERVICES (ISS) OFFICE. F1 students may only receive permission to drop below full time ONCE.
  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment. F1 student may only work on campus and are limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year. PERMISSION TO WORK OFF CAMPUS MUST BE COMPLETED THROUGH ISS PRIOR TO WHEN THE WORK BEGINS.

J1 Students must also:

  • Get a signature on page 3 of the DS 2019 from ISS before traveling outside of the United States (signature is officially “good” for one year, but no older than 6 months is recommended).
  • Make normal progress towards completion the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on DS 2019
  • Properly follow extension of stay procedures if program will not be completed by program completion date on DS 2019
  • Report to the DSO for Initial Registration in SEVIS
  • Abide by grace period rules

DS 2019 students should also maintain all immigration paperwork and documents:

  •     Passport should always have at least 6 months of validity remaining
  •     DS-2019 (3 pages) should be kept with passport and properly endorsed at the post of entry with “F1 D/S”
  •     I-94 should be stapled into passport and properly endorsed at the Port of entry with “F1 D/S”

Questions about F1 status may be addressed to the International Student Services Office.

Important Immigration Documents

Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).

Visa: Students apply for an F-1/J-1 visa in order to enter the United States to attend a college or university. An F-1/J-1 student must have a current visa stamp in their passport in order to enter the United States.  The visa allows you to request permission to enter in student status but does not guarantee entry to the United States.  The visa may expire while you remain within the United States provided that your I-20 is maintained in good F-1 status.

I-94: The electronic record of a nonimmigrant's status, arrival and departure, which is found here

I-20: This is a paper record of a student’s information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status—for Academic and Language Students,” is required to apply for an F-1 visa and an original copy endorsed for travel within the last six months by Lawrence’s ISS staff is required at the time of entry to the United States.

DS-2019: The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States. Read the detailed description of the Form DS-2019.  An original copy (signed in blue ink) is also required at the time of initial entry to the U.S. or, if endorsed for travel, for re-entry to the U.S. after a break.

Additional considerations:

I-901 Fee Receipt: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program issue this document to students and exchange visitors when they pay the SEVIS fee. You will be asked to present this receipt at both your visa application interview and for admission through the port of entry. When you receive the receipt, be sure to check that your personal information matches the information on your other documents.  A copy can be printed here.

Documentation of finances: You may want to bring copies of financial documents you provided to the school where you want to enroll. These documents are evidence of the financial preparations you have made to finance your stay (e.g., bank statements, letter of sponsorship) for at least one year.