Responsibility to Maintain Your Lawful J-1 Status

It is extremely important to comply with immigration regulations in order to maintain lawful status. It is your responsibility as a student to maintain your status.  Students should consult an OISS International Student Advisor with any questions regarding maintaining lawful status.

Watch Our Video Tutorial

You may remember this video tutorial from CALI Training. Although orientation may be over, this video serves as a great refresher for how to maintain your status. Alternatively, you can continue reading to review all the immigration reminders. 

J-1 Degree-Seeking Student (Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctorate) Tutorial

J-1 Non-Degree-Seeking Student (Education Abroad Program - EAP) Tutorial

Responsibilities of J-1 Students

Maintain Required Documentation

J students are required to have the following documents:

  • Valid DS-2019 —If you receive a new DS-2019, keep the old DS-2019 for your records.
  • Valid passport —Passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times. It is the student's responsibility to extend it through his/her embassy before it expires.
  • I-94 record that reflects “D/S” AND “J-1” status.

Duration of Status (D/S)

J-1 students and dependents are admitted to the United States for duration of status (D/S). Duration of status means:

  • The period of time during which the student pursues a full-time course of study indicated on your DS-2019
  • Plus any authorized period of academic training
  • Plus 30 days after completion of program or academic training in which to apply for a change of status or leave the U.S.
  • J-1 students must have an unexpired DS-2019 at all times, and are also required to have health insurance that meets a minimum requirement for the student and any accompanying family members.

Academic Requirements

J-1 students are required to register for and complete a full course of study each quarter except during vacation. Full-time for undergraduate students is defined as 12 units per quarter (except summer); full-time for graduates is considered 8 units and filing fee is considered full-time. Dropping below 12 or 8 units is permitted in specific cases. If you plan to enroll less than full-time, you must obtain written approval from your college advisor (undergraduates) or your program advisor (graduates) and an OISS International Student Advisor before dropping below the required amount of units.

Employment Only with Authorization

J-1 students maintaining a full course of study and who are in good academic standing are permitted with PRIOR written approval of OISS to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during vacations. Refer to the Employment page for more information.

Mandatory Health Insurance

Every J-1 and J-2 exchange visitor must have health insurance that meets the minimum requirements. UCSB's health insurance meets this requirement.

Change Your Address

If you move to a new address, you must login to UCSBGlobal within 10 days of moving to update your address. This must be a physical address (not a P.O. Box).


For J-1 and J-2 visa holders who wish to travel outside the U.S. and reenter the U.S., necessary documents include a valid passport, a valid J-1 or J-2 visa stamp, and an unexpired UC Santa Barbara DS-2019 with a recent OISS signature dated within 1 year of your travel. It may not be necessary to extend an expired visa when traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days. Refer to the travel page for detailed information.

Program Extension

If you are unable to complete your studies before the program completion date on your DS-2019, you must apply for an extension at least 30 days prior to the expiration date of your DS-2019 and receive authorization from your college advisor (undergraduate students) or your program advisor (graduate students).  The request must be made with OISS before your DS-2019 program end date expires. Read more about how to submit a Program Extension and required documents here.

Transfer of Program

J-1 students who wish to transfer to another J-1 sponsor must obtain a written release from UC Santa Barbara.  Please contact OISS if you would like to transfer to another J-1 sponsor.

Responsibility for Dependents

The J-1 student is responsible to ensure that J-2 dependents maintain their lawful status while in the U.S.

J-2 Dependent Employment

J-2 dependents may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to accept employment as long as the purpose is not for the support of the J-1 student or scholar. Please refer to the employment page for more information.

Two-year Home Country Residence Requirement

Once you complete your J-1 program, some students are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement meaning they must return to their country of permanent residence for at least two years before re-entering the U.S. in some visa categories.  For more information, please refer to the U.S. State Department's Exchange Visitor Visa information on two-year home-country physical presence requirement.


Change of Status

If you are approved for a change of status within the United States, you will no longer be in F-1 student status. Please report this change to OISS by submitting the Student Completion Form, along with your Change of Status approval notice, through the UCSBGlobal platform.