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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

J-1 Exchange Students

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Immigration status is granted at the U.S. port of entry. You have J-1 student status. In most situations your visa type and immigration status are the same, unless you have changed your immigration status after entering the U.S. People in J-1 status who are subject to the "two-year home country residency requirement" may not change to any other non-immigrant status within the U.S. Exchange visitors who enter the U.S. in one exchange visitor category, such as "student," are rarely permitted to change to another category, such as "researcher."

How to Maintain Your J-1 Immigration Status in the U.S.

1. Report to the ISSS upon arrival

2. Always enroll FULL-TIME during the academic year

J-1 students must maintain full-time student status each semester until they receive their degrees. For undergraduate students, full-time means you must register and complete at least 12 credits each semester; as a graduate student, you must simply be registered. There are some rare exceptions to this regulation however, please talk to the ISSO staff BEFORE you drop below full time enrollment or take a leave of absence

3. Update your local address within 10 days of moving on Eservices

The immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the U.S. You must do this by updating your local address in "Just the Facts" AND notifying the ISSO. You are required to use a physical residential address and not a PO Box or a Cornell department address. As of December 2, 2003, "Special Registrants" who are in J status may also update addresses directly with the ISSO and no longer have to fill out the Form AR-11SR.

4. Maintain the health insurance required for J-1 exchange visitors

The U.S. immigration regulations require that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents maintain a specified level of health and accident insurance

5. Keep your immigration documents VALID and CURRENT:


You should keep your passport valid for at least six months in to the future while you are studying in the U.S. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. You can find the contact information for your consulate at:

- Apply for an EXTENSION at the ISSO BEFORE the end date in Item 3 of your DS-2019

The end date of your immigration status is written on your DS-2019 as the end date in item #3 (not the end date of your visa stamp). If you are unable to complete your course of study by that time, you must apply for an extension BEFORE the DS-2019 end date. You must file your program extension with the ISSO or your own sponsor at least two months before it expires. Pick up an J-1 Program Extension packet from the ISSO to begin the process

- If you plan to transfer to another school, come in to the ISSO to discuss the immigration status transfer.

If you plan to transfer to or from another school or sponsoring agency, the ISSO and your sponsoring agency will need to complete the immigration transfer procedure. Permission to transfer is granted only if the transfer contributes to the realization of the exchange visitor's original purpose in coming to the U.S. Come in to the ISSO to discuss the transfer process.

6. NEVER work off-campus without PRIOR authorization.  Work on-campus follows the F-1 on-campus work permit procedures; however, those sponsored by the International Center must enter that on-campus work permission into your SEVIS record.  Any sponsored students from another agency MUST have permission in advance to work on or off campus.  Any work/employment/internship questions should be directed to an adviser within the International Center well in advance.

7. Notify the ISSO when you leave the U.S. permanently or when you change your visa status.

8. If you TRAVEL outside the United States, be SURE to have the proper re-entry documents/signatures