Maintaining J-1 Visa Status

Maintain Your Full-time Course Load

All J-1 students are required to go to school full-time during the school year. Undergraduates must complete 12 credit hours each term and graduates must complete 9 credit hours each term. If for any reason you feel you cannot maintain full-time status, you must notify Erin Heidkamp immediately.

All J-1 Students Must Report Change of Address and Contact Information to the Office of International Education:

In addition, all J-1 students must report change of address and contact information immediately to the United States Customs and Immigrations Service (USCIS). The OIE needs your new contact information to update your records in SEVIS.

Do not accept employment either on or off-campus, unless specifically authorized by the Office of International Education.

Make Requests in Advance:

The Office of International Education needs time to process your requests for assistance (for example: travel signatures, program extension, employment authorization, etc.).

Program Extension

A J-1 student may be eligible for a program extension. This depends upon the student's university and Southern's exchange balance with the study abroad provider or student's home institution. Requests must be made in writing at least 8 weeks prior to the end date on the student's visa.


It is your responsibility to know and understand the Immigration regulations that affect you when you are planning to travel. All J-1 students are required to have an active DS-2019 signed by the RO/ARO prior to departure. Travel Signatures are only valid for 1 year. As a practice, the OIE recommends getting a travel signature for each departure. Come in at least two weeks in advance with your request for a DS-2019 travel signature.