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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

j-1 student status > understanding j-1 student status

understanding j-1 student status

A J-1 Exchange Visitor is a person who comes to the U.S. temporarily to study, teach, conduct research or receive training as a participant in an Exchange Visitor Program. Teachers College has been designated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State to sponsor such a program. Teachers College's Exchange Visitor program (EVP) number is P-1-1089, and Teachers College is authorized to sponsor students, research scholars, and professors under its program.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Sponsorship

The following information is for J-1 exchange visitors who are or will attend Teachers College as students. You may be attending Teachers College under the sponsorship of TC's Exchange Visitor program or an external Exchange Visitor program. In fact, many of our J-1 students attend TC under the auspices of a Fulbright scholarship program administered by one of several agencies, including the Institute of International Education (IIE), LASPAU, and AMIDEAST.

Who is eligible for J-1 Status? 

Individuals admitted to full-time programs of study and who will receive substantial support from the U.S. government, the government of their home country, or a public or private organization (including Teachers College) are eligible for J-1 status. In certain cases, an institution may require issuance of J-1 documents as a condition of the student receiving financial support.

F-1 versus J-1 Student Status

While there are certain similarities between F-1 and J-1 student status, there are also important differences. Students are eligible for, and are sometimes required to obtain, J-1 student status because their primary source of funding or support is from an institution. Recipients of Fulbright scholarships, home government scholarships, home university or TC scholarships are typical examples. F-1 students, by contrast, receive their primary source of funding from personal or family resources.

J-1 students are required to meet U.S. Department of State health insurance requirements for themselves and for any J-2 dependents. F-1 students are advised to carry adequate health insurance, but are not required under immigration regulations to do so.

The J-2 dependent spouse of a J-1 student, unlike the F-2 dependent spouse of any F-1 student, may apply for employment authorization and/or study while in the U.S.

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

Under Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (also called the "two year home residency requirement"), certain Exchange Visitor Program participants and their J-2 family members must return home for at least two years after completing their educational programs before they can change or adjust to certain nonimmigrant or immigrant statuses. You will be subject to this requirement (1) if your program is financed in any extent by U.S. or home-country government funding; and/or 2) your skills are needed by your home country, as indicated by the Exchange Visitor Skills List. Grounds for applying for a waiver for this requirement are limited. Consult with the OIS if you have any questions about the implications of the two-year home residency requirement.

J-1 Documents

Form DS-2019

The DS-2019 form enables you to apply for, or maintain, J-1 Exchange Visitor status. Teachers College issues an DS-2019 to students who meet the Department of State program and "substantial support" requirements. Each applicant must provide documentation of adequate financial support.

In most cases, the duration of Form DS-2019 is linked to confirmed financial resources. Extension of the DS-2019 is possible upon renewal of financial information and other requirements, as specified in our J-1 extension instructions.

Passport

Your passport is a document which is issued by your government and permits you to travel abroad. You are required keep your passport valid throughout your stay in the US, so it should be renewed several months before it expires. Please be aware of the expiration date; it is usually indicated in the front section of your passport. Contact your country's consulate in New York City or embassy in Washington, DC for information concerning renewal procedures.

Entry Visa

The J-1 visa allows you to enter the U.S. in order to pursue a specific educational objective (e.g., degree, research project). The visa is stamped on a page in your passport and is issued by a U.S. consulate overseas. With the exception of Canadian citizens, all J-1 exchange visitors require an entry visa to enter the U.S. in J-1 status.

The expiration date of your visa is not the date your J-1 status ends : it is only the last date you can use the visa to enter the U.S. Once you are in the U.S., you may remain as a J-1 exchange visitor as long as you have a valid Form DS-2019 and continue to make progress toward the objective indicated on your DS-2019. However, if you travel outside of the U.S., you will need to obtain a new entry visa in order to return in J-1 status.

Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)

The I-94 is a small, white card issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to record your immigration status. It includes your admission/departure number, personal information, and J-1 program number.

When entering the U.S., you should check to make sure that your I-94 card is notated "J-1 D/S." The notation "D/S" on your student I-94 indicates "Duration of Status," and means that you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are 1) a full-time student making normal progress toward a degree or other specified academic objective; and/or 2) are engaged in authorized academic training (see below), until the date recorded on your most current DS-2019.

Special care should be taken to keep your I-94 safe. If you lose your I-94, you must file an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a replacement and pay a significant replacement fee.


Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: