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J-1 Student Status

J-1 student status will allow you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program. J-1 status will permit you to work on-campus and work in an "academic training" job for 18 months during and/or after the completion of your studies with prior permission from your J-1 sponsor.

In some cases the J-1 visa carries with it an, often inescapable, condition that requires you to return to your home country for two years upon completion of your studies (and academic training) before you are eligible for certain other visas in the U.S., including H-1B and permanent resident status.

This "two-year residence" requirement applies to you if you receive any funding (including nominal travel grants) from your home government or a U.S. government agency. It also applies to you, if trained personnel in your field are identified by your home government as being in short supply and your field has consequently been included on the U.S. government's "Exchange Visitor's Skills List." If you do not know whether your country and/or field appears on the "Exchange Visitor's Skills List," ask a U.S. consular officer or check the Department of State's website before requesting J-1 status. Once you have acquired J-1 status and are subject to the two-year residence requirement, it may be impossible to change to another non-immigrant status or to permanent residence status.
All Exchange Visitors students will have "D/S" (Duration of Status) noted on their Forms I-94 (arrival/departure card.) "D/S" means that your stay is valid for the duration of the J-1 status, which is the actual end date on the DS-2019 form.  You have an additional thirty-day grace period from the end date of DS-2019 to stay in the United States for travel, enjoyment or to prepare for departure. The thirty days grace period is NOT for employment, extensions, or transfers.

You are eligible for J-1 student status as long as you are a full-time student, plus any authorized period of academic training, plus 30 days to depart the U.S.
If you do not complete your studies in the time noted on your DS-2019 form you must request an extension of your J-1 student status. This request must be supported by a letter from your school outlining the reason for the extension, the expected date of graduation and the amount and source of the funding available for the period of time requested.  Please see your RO or ARO for further instructions.
An Exchange Visitor may transfer from one designated program to another designated program.  The RO or ARO will verify your immigration status and program eligibility, prepare a DS-2019 form and secure the written release of the current sponsor in Section 8 of the new Form DS-2019. The transfer procedures must be completed prior to the end date as noted on the form DS-2019.