Information About J-1 Students
what is J-1 status?
It is important to note that there are many categories of the J-1 exchange visitor status. For the purposes here, we are only going to discuss the J-1 Student category. The immigration document for this type of status is called the DS-2019.
There are around 700 students at the University of Illinois on this immigration status- this includes all of our international exchange students and some students with an outside sponsor, as well as traditional degree seeking students. One of the requirements for J-1 students is that at least 50% of their funding must be from a sponsoring source. This can be in the form of a scholarship (for example, from their home country government or the US), an assistantship, Fulbright or another sponsoring organization, etc., or in the case of exchange students, their home university. Thus, an important difference between F-1 and J-1 students is that J-1 students may not have all their funding coming from personal or family funds.
Some J-1 students may be subject to the two year home presence requirement. If they are, this is noted on their J-1 entry visa. This requirement prohibits a student from changing to certain working visas or permanent residency until they have fulfilled the requirement of staying for two years in their home country or have successfully obtained a waiver of this requirement. More information on this can be found on the Department of State website.
The dependents of a J-1 student are J-2 visa holders. J-2s are permitted to study, including at the higher education level, and they may apply for work authorization as well.
On-campus Work Authorization
students with outside sponsorship
Some J-1 students at the University of Illinois are sponsored by an outside organization. Some of these organizations include Fulbright, LASPAU, Vietnam Education Foundation, IIE – Brazil Science without Borders, Amideast, etc. The main difference between these students and the J-1 students sponsored by the University of Illinois is that their DS-2019 is issued by the sponsoring organization, instead of the University of Illinois. Therefore, anything related to their immigration status does not go through ISSS, but rather goes through their sponsor. This would include travel signatures on their DS-2019s, work authorization, letters for Social Security Numbers, and program extensions, among other things. In some cases, after a sponsored student exhausts all their funding from their sponsor, they will transfer their visa sponsorship to the University of Illinois. After this happens, they will then be like any other J-1 student at the University of Illinois.
Academic Training (AT) is work authorization for students in J-1 status. It can take place either pre or post completion of the program, and the amount allowed varies depending on the length of the program of study and the degree earned.