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Maintaining J-1 Status

Degree-seeking Students (J-1 visa)

Use the links below to find more information about how J-1 students can maintain their immigration status. This information is not definitive. If more information is needed, please email or call the Office of International Programs and Services to set up an appointment.


This document is issued by the International Student Advisor at Pacific or a Pacific partner organization and gives J-1 students status while in the U.S. The personal information (name, date of birth) should always be accurate and match the information in the passport. The program information (major, start date, end date, degree level) should accurately reflect the student's official status at Pacific. J-1 students should contact IPS if their DS-2019 needs to be updated.

The passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times. If the passport will expire in 6 months or less, the embassy should be contacted immediately to request a new passport.

The visa is a document allowing entry into the U.S. J-1 students should always monitor the end date of the visa. The visa can be expired as long as the J-1 student stays in the U.S. and maintains a valid DS-2019 and passport. If the visa is expired and a J-1 student leaves the U.S., a new visa must be obtained before reentry. Travel to Canada, Mexico and "adjacent islands" in the Caribbean can be an exception to this rule. J-1 students interested in automatic revalidation should speak to IPS.

The I-94 is the record of entry, immigration status and length of status for the J-1 student. The I-94 should indicate J-1 D/S meaning J-1 "Duration of Status". A paper copy can be printed from


All J-1 students must notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of any address change within 10 days of the change. This requirement applies to moves between apartments off-campus, moves from on-campus housing to off-campus housing, room changes and residence hall changes. J-1 students should complete the Change of Address form to notify IPS of the change. Additionally, students must also change their address in PacificNet to notify the Registrar's Office.


Full-Time Status
All J-1 students must be enrolled full-time during the Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time status for undergraduates is 12 credits per semester. Graduate students must enroll in 9 credits per semester to meet full-time status.

Online, Distance and Independent-Study Courses
J-1 students are ineligible to take any online, distance or independent-study classes to count towards their full-time enrollment.

Summer Enrollment
J-1 students that start a program in the summer semester or will finish their final classes in the summer semester must follow regular full-time enrollment requirements as stated above. If a J-1 student has enrolled full-time during the prior fall and spring semesters and intends to enroll in the upcoming fall semester at Pacific, that student can take fewer than the number of credits required for full-time status or none at all.


J-1 students are eligible for a reduced course load for very specific reasons. Those reasons are:

  1. Illness or medical condition
  2. Bona fide academic reason
  3. Academic Training
  4. To complete course of study in the current semester.

Certain reasons are only available during the first or last semesters and others have a limited period of time during which they can be used.

Before registering for a reduced course load, J-1 students should arrange an appointment with IPS to determine if a reduced course load can be approved. An appointment can be arranged by emailing or calling (209) 946-2011.


Travel within the U.S.
J-1 students should carry their original DS-2019, passport, visa, and a print-out of the I-94 anytime they leave Stockton.

Travel outside of the U.S.
The original DS-2019, passport, visa, and a print-out of the I-94 must be carried when traveling outside of the U.S. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of reentry to the U.S. The visa must be valid upon date of reentry and indicate the appropriate number of entries. Additionally, J-1 students must have a valid travel signature on the bottom of the DS-2019. A travel signature is valid for one year from the date of the signature and indicates to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the student is currently maintaining J-1 status. Failure to obtain a travel signature prior to travel or having an expired travel signature upon reentry to the U.S. may result in secondary questioning by CBP or even denial of entry to the U.S. A new I-94 will be issued upon reentry to the U.S.


J-1 students are issued DS-2019s with a specific end date indicating the length of their program. If additional time is needed or desired, J-1 students must complete the program extension packet and return to IPS at least one month prior to the end date currently listed on the DS-2019. Program extension requests must have written approval from the home institution. The DS-2019 can only be extended one semester at a time for a maximum of 24 months in total.


On-campus employment refers to any employment that is paid for by Pacific with the actual workplace located on the campus the J-1 student is authorized to attend or for a company that holds a contract with Pacific to offer services directly to Pacific students on the Pacific campus the J-1 student is authorized to attend.

J-1 students can work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. During the summer semester, J-1 students can work up to 40 hours per week provided they will enroll in the upcoming fall semester.

J-1 students must receive authorization from the International Student Advisor prior to beginning any on-campus employment by submitting the job offer letter to IPS.

J-1 students who are employed need a Social Security Number (SSN). Once a student receives a job offer, the student should request an Social Security Letter (and attach a copy of the job offer letter) from the International Student Advisor. Once the student has all necessary documents, the student must go to the Social Security Administration office.

To search for employment opportunities on campus, please visit the Tiger Jobs website.


Academic Training (AT) is training related to the J-1 student's field of study. To be eligible for academic training, a J-1 student must be "participating in academic training that is directly related to his or her major field of study at the post-secondary accredited academic institution listed on his or her Form DS-2019", be in good academic standing at Pacific, and receive written approval from the home institution, if the J-1 student is a Pacific exchange student.

AT can be approved for use during the program or after the completion of the program. Academic training can only be approved for the same length of time spent in classes or 18-months whichever is shorter.

To apply for AT, Pacific-sponsored J-1 students must complete the Academic Training packet and submit it along with the written approval from the home institution and the employment letter to IPS prior to the end date listed on the DS-2019.

Non-Pacific sponsored J-1 students (such as IREX, ISEP or Fulbright) must request AT authorization from the sponsoring organization. The AT authorization from the sponsoring organization must be completed prior to the end date listed on the DS-2019.


A social security number is issued by the U.S. federal government to individuals that are employed for the purpose of accurately tracking wages. International students are generally not eligible for an SSN unless they are employed on-campus or through Academic Training.

The SSN is not needed for the purpose of renting an apartment, buying items online from websites such as Amazon, buying a cell phone or getting a prepaid phone plan, buying a car, renting one of the Zip cars available on campus, getting a driver's license or state ID or any other reason.

In order to get a Social Security Number, the student must follow the process outlined below:

  • Be hired to work on-campus or by an employer if on Academic Training and obtain a hiring letter or letter of employment.
  • Request a Social Security Support Letter from IPS. This letter can be requested using the Official Letter Request Form.
  • Apply at the local Social Security Administration office with the following documents.
    • Hiring letter or letter of employment
    • Social Security Support Letter (from the IPS)
    • Form SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card
    • Most recent DS-2019
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Print out of I-94

The Social Security Administration will process a request within approximately 30 days. If the application is approved, the student will receive a social security card in the mail. If the application is denied, the student will receive a denial notification letter in the  mail.

Students SHOULD NOT carry their social security card in their wallet or purse on a daily basis. Keep it in a safe place so that it is not lost.

More information from the Social Security Administration is available at:


J-1 students who fall under one of the following categories are subject to the 212(e) two-year home residency requirement.

  1. The exchange visitor received financing, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or a foreign government for the purpose of the exchange.
  2. The exchange visitor came to develop or exercise skills that are in a field which the exchange visitor's home government requested be included on the State Department Exchange Visitor skills list.

Even if the major or funding source changes, the J-1 student will still be subject to the 212(e) requirement. If the J-1 is subject to the 212(e) requirement, the J-2 dependents are also subject to the requirement.

If a J-1 student is subject to 212(e), the J-1 student must "reside and be physically present" in the home country for a total of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits again.

During the two-year period in which the J-1 student is subject to the 212(e) requirement, the J-1 student cannot:

  1. Obtain an immigrant visa or adjust their status to lawful permanent resident.
  2. Obtain an H visa, L visa, or a K visa.
  3. Change non-immigrant status within the U.S. from J to any other non-immigrant category except for A (diplomatic), G (international organization), or U (victims of qualifying criminal activity.

Assistance regarding the 212(e) requirement as well as the waiver application process can be provided by IPS. 


J-1 students may request that their spouse and/or children accompany them to the U.S. as dependents. These dependents will hold J-2 status. For each dependent, the J-1 student must demonstrate that sufficient funds are available to pay for the expenses of the dependent. The estimated expenses for a spouse is $600 per month and an additional $300 per month per child. J-2 dependents can study full- or part-time and are eligible for work authorization from USCIS.  To request a DS-2019 for a dependent, complete the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.


J-1 students can withdraw from Pacific at any time to return to their home country. However, once a student withdraws, the SEVIS record and J-1 status will be terminated for an authorized early withdrawal. The J-1 student will have 15-days from the termination of authorized early withdrawal to leave the U.S. and return to their home country. To withdraw, J-1 students must complete the Pacific Withdrawal Form available in and returnable to the Registrar's Office. The Early Withdrawal Form must also be completed by the student and returned to IPS.


J-1 students have a 30-day grace period following the completion of their program. The grace period starts the day after the end date listed on the DS-2019. The grace period is to be utilized for departure preparations and can be used for travel within the U.S. If a student leaves the U.S. during the 30-day grace period, the J-1 status is automatically ended.