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J-1 Immigration Requirements for Students

Students in J-1 status are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the J visa. Failure to do so will violate the scholar’s legal status in the United States.

1. Report Address changes to International Students & Scholars Services (ISSS) within 10 days. (Form AR-11)

U.S. federal regulations require all J-1 students to report a change of address within 10 days (of the address change) to an International Student Advisor in ISSS. the U.S. federal government requires international students and scholars to report directly to ISSS. ISSS is required to provide this and other data to the federal government electronically. No other university office is authorized by the federal government to process this data.

2. Obtain Prior Authorization from ISSS to Drop Below a Full Course of Study

To maintain in good standing with your student status at WVU you must take at least 12 credit/hours per semester at the undergraduate level and meet all the WVU requirements. At the graduate level full course of study is defined by your college but usually 9 credit/hours per semester.

Online Classes (Distance Education) Limits

No more than the equivalent of one on-line/distance education class or 3 credits per session/semester may count towards the “full course of study” requirement per semester.

3. Report Departure Date and Reason to ISSS

Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, students leave the university early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, completion of practical training, leave of absence, suspension, or expulsion. U.S. federal regulations require J-1 students to inform their International Student Advisor in ISSS if they plan to leave the university before the expiration date of their DS-2019 form as well as the reason for doing so.

4. Report Changes in Program to ISSS

Students must notify ISSS whenever there is a change in their academic program or program dates.

5. Abide by Employment Regulations

J-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session [8CFR214.2(f)(9)]. These 20 hours include the work you do for assistantships if you have one. You are not permitted to work off-campus without receiving PRIOR authorization from the U.S. Federal Government and/or your ISSS International Student Advisor.

Additional Information Concerning Worker's Rights

Know Your Rights (Wilberforce Pamphlet) from the Department of State. An information pamphlet describing your rights while working in the United States.

6. Apply for an Extension Prior to the DS-2019 Expiration

All students must apply for an extension before their DS-2019 form expires if they intend to stay at WVU.

7. Receive Transfer Authorization Prior to Leaving WVU

Scholars must receive authorization from ISSS before leaving WVU in order to transfer to another institution.

8. Depart the U.S. within 30 Day Grace Period

J-1 visas must depart the U.S. within 30 days of DS-2019 expiration date or program end date, whichever is earlier, unless they have applied for a change of status with USCIS.

9. Obtain Travel Signature Prior to Departing the U.S.

You should obtain the ISSS's signature on the DS-2019 form prior to traveling outside the U.S.

Please note: If you are not in the Morgantown area to get your DS-2019 signed in person and you have enough time to mail it to us for a travel signature, you can mail it to the address at the bottom of the web page. Be sure to include a self-addressed, "stamped" envelope as you are responsible for paying for the return shipping charges.

Other Obligations

  • Strive to understand and tolerate a host country’s educational and cultural setting, including standards of conduct, law, respect for others, honesty and integrity.
  • Respect the rights of self-determination of others.
  • Observe the laws and respect for culture of the host country.
  • Participate as fully as possible in the life of the host university and country.
  • Seek to participate in joint and cooperative ventures of an educational, social or cultural nature with citizens and students of the host country and with other international students and scholars.
  • Individually and in groups, act with respect for the rights of persons from other countries, cultures and subcultures, without abridging those rights even in pursuit of one’s own rights.
  • Accept responsibility for the best interests of international education interchange programs, so as to gain the largest amount of public support for them and the widest possible involvement in them.