J1 Students

The list and links provided below are not comprehensive and only represent the most common themes for J1 students. Always consult with a Cal Poly Humboldt immigration advisor regarding immigration rules and regulations. Carefully read all correspondences/emails received from International Programs.

  Immigration Advising

While International Programs strives to provide detailed information, processes and forms online, we understand that you may still have questions or concerns you wish to discuss with an advisor. International Programs offers private appointments to assist Cal Poly Humboldt international students with immigration-related concerns.

Immigration Advising Appointments

Please schedule an appointment to meet with an international/immigration advisor. 

Appointments must be scheduled at least one day in advance.  

To schedule an appointment with Megan Mefford, please use this link

  Maintaining J-1 Status

An international student must be aware of, comply with, and maintain all of the information listed on the Immigration Responsibilities Contract signed and completed during online, pre-arrival IHOOP orientation. At any time, you may choose to review these requirements by viewing the contract.

Maintaining status is the responsibility of the student. While International Programs is here to assist you in maintaining your status by sharing information, no student should expect International Programs to monitor document expiration, or to be independently notified of any changes impacting status. International Programs is obligated to inform the U.S. government through SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information Services) of any known changes to an J-1 student's status.

It is the responsibility of the student to notify International Programs if they experience or anticipate changes to any of the following:

  • Change of address
  • Request/change Academic Training
  • Transfers
  • Change in dependents
  • Leaves of Absence/withdrawal
  • Any violations of status that might lead to termination
  • Any drops below full-time status
  • Disciplinary action
  • Suspensions/expulsions
  • DUIs or Felony convictions

For more information on maintaining your J-1 status, please visit the U.S. Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Program website. Students can also contact International Programs if there is any question about maintenance of status.

  Change of Address Notification Requirements

All J visa holders must be aware of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's regulations on address change notification. All non-U.S. citizens are required to notify the Department of Homeland Security of any changes of address within 10 days of moving.

J visa holders should comply with this requirement by submitting the change of address form to International Programs within 10 days of the change. International Programs will update SEVIS accordingly.

Completing this form will update SEVIS only.  The change of address will not be updated on your Humboldt Account Center. To update your address with Humboldt, please login and make the update yourself through myHumboldt.

Failure to comply with the address change notification requirements may affect the ability to remain in the U.S. and the ability to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad. Failure to give notice may be criminally punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine up to $200, imprisonment of up to 30 days, or both. The Change of Address Notification form is accessible here.

  On-Campus Employment

J-1 Students must obtain written authorization from their program sponsor before beginning any type of employment.

On-Campus Employment Process Overview:

  1. The applicant must be in good academic standing
  2. The applicant must complete an On-Campus Employment Authorization Request Form. Submit complete form to International Programs.
  3. Your immigration advisor at International Programs will review the form. If approved, you will be provided with an On-Campus Employment Authorization Letter, which is used to complete the on-campus hiring process with Human Resources (HR).

J-1 on-campus employment authorizations may not exceed 20 hours per week during the semester.

The J-1 on-campus employment authorization is invalid if the student graduates, fails to maintain J-1 status, or transfers out of Humboldt.

Pursuant to federal regulations, the J-1 on-campus employment authorization is granted for a maximum of 12 months at a time.

To renew a J-1 on-campus employment authorization or report changes, the student will need to resubmit a new On-Campus Employment Authorization Request Form.  

J-1 work authorizations are employer-specific. If a student changes jobs, he/she must obtain new authorization before working. Changes include position, hiring unit, and multiple on-campus jobs. Before you begin any new position, prior written authorization by your immigration advisor at International Programs is required.

  Obtaining a Social Security Number

A Social Security number (SSN) is necessary to receive any income for services while in the U.S. Social Security cards will be issued only to those students in lawful status who have been offered jobs on-campus, or who are authorized for certain off-campus lawful employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security regulations. Therefore, a job offer letter is required.

Many J-1 students wish to apply for a California driver’s license or state ID card, where an SSN is required. If they do not have a job offer letter, they can apply for a Letter of Denial from the Social Security Office, which can be used in place of an SSN.

For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration website.

For instructions on how to apply for a SSN card and further instructions about rules and regulations please review the Cal Poly Humboldt Social Security Guidelines packet.

  Academic Training

Academic Training is a type of employment/training for J-1 Students that is directly related to the academic program and helps students gain knowledge in their field of study.

For students

Academic Training is flexible in its format and offers a variety of U.S. employment situations to supplement a student's academic program. It is available before or after completion of the program of study. Students in non-degree programs are also eligible. Prior written authorization by an immigration advisor is required.


  • The applicant's primary purpose in the U.S. must be to study rather than to participate in Academic Training.
  • The applicant must be in good academic standing.
  • Throughout Academic Training, the applicant must maintain lawful status in the U.S. as a J-1 status holder and apply for extensions if necessary.
  • The applicant must maintain health insurance coverage meeting U.S. Department of State requirements for themselves and any dependents throughout Academic Training.
  • The applicant must demonstrate adequate financial support for his or her Academic Training period.


  • Employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, and must be approved by both academic and immigration advisors. It may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter.
  • Part-time employment for Academic Training counts as full-time employment.
  • Humboldt may not authorize Academic Training in the first session or semester.

After completion of program

  • Academic Training following a completion of program must involve paid employment, unless the applicant can verify adequate financial support during the terms of Academic Training.
  • The applicant must obtain a written offer of appropriate employment and present a copy to an immigration advisor prior to the program completion date (or before the DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier) or the applicant will lose eligibility for Academic Training after completion of study. Do not let the DS-2019 expire.
  • If the applicant plans to leave the U.S. after completion of the program of study and re-enter the country for J-1 Academic Training, employment authorization must be obtained before leaving.

Application procedure 

1. Obtain a letter of offer from the prospective employer that indicates:

  • Job title
  • A brief description of the goals and objectives of the proposed training program
  • The dates and location of the employment
  • The number of hours per week
  • The name and address of the training supervisor

2. Complete the J-1 Academic Training Form. This form requires approval from an academic advisor. Give a copy of the employment letter to the academic advisor to help aid in the completion of the academic advisor's section on the Academic Training form.

3. Make an appointment with an immigration advisor at International Programs. Bring the letter and completed Academic Training Form to the appointment.

Upon approval, the immigration advisor will issue a new DS-2019 with the authorization notation.

The J-1 Academic Training form is accessible on the Forms Page.

Tips for traveling while on AT

While participating in Academic Training, travel within or outside of the U.S. may be permitted. Academic Training is the primary objective and the reason the participant is maintaining legal status. Travel plans should not interfere with this objective. Failure to participate in Academic Training, as designated on the DS-2019, may result in termination of the student's SEVIS record.

If an employer approves travel, a letter should be written by the employer indicating the approval of travel and that the Academic Training participant will be returning to finish training requirements. This letter should be carried with the participant when traveling and a copy submitted to International Programs.

International Programs needs to be notified of the location that the student is residing at all times, even if temporary.

Always consult with an advisor prior to traveling outside the U.S. for verification of status and travel endorsement on the DS-2019.

For employers

J-1 Students may be allowed to participate in Academic Training with prior authorization from International Programs. Students must have a job offer, proof of insurance, proof of funding, and a completed Academic Training form submitted. Academic Training must be approved prior to beginning employment. While on Academic Training, a student remains on the DS-2019 issued by Humboldt. The student will have an Academic Training endorsement on the DS-2019. Humboldt is still considered the program sponsor for the student while on Academic Training.

Authorization for Academic Training may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. The exact amount of time the student has been authorized for is listed under item number five on the DS-2019.

According to the U.S. Department of State, "Academic Training: Students may participate in Academic Training with or without wages or other remuneration during their studies with the approval of the academic dean or adviser and the responsible officer at their sponsor organization." Academic Training can be approved to take place before or after program completion. Final approval is given by the ARO at International Programs.

For questions about I-9 requirements, please see the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website regarding Employment Eligibility Verification. Specific information regarding accepting the Form DS-2019 with an Academic Training endorsement as proof of employment authorization, please see M-274, Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9.

Please contact International Programs with any questions.

  Enrollment Requirement/Reduced Course Load Requests

International students in J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year; federal immigration regulations limit a student's ability to enroll less than full time, but it may be allowed in some circumstances.

A student who wishes to drop below full-time enrollment must obtain the approval from an immigration advisor at International Programs in advance, regardless of the reason. Note: Lack of financial support does not constitute a valid reason to reduce the student's course load. Immigration Services is federally mandated to report to SEVIS any international student who falls below the full-time enrollment requirement without authorization and the student will violate their J-1 status.

Definition of full time

  • Students must register for and complete at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • Courses taken for audit do not count toward the full-time enrollment requirement.
  • J-1 students are not permitted to take online classes toward their full course of study.  This means that a minimum of 12 credit hours must be in-person instruction.  If you take more than 12 credit hours, the additional credit hours could be offered online.

International Programs may be able to authorize a student for a reduced course load for the following reasons:

  • Bona fide academic reason justified by an academic advisor
  • Medical condition (must have doctor's request/recommendation)

Reduced Course Load Request forms must be submitted no later than the second week of each semester the student expects to be under enrolled.

Please complete the Reduced Course Load Request form.

If you fail to enroll because you plan to withdraw or take a temporary leave of absence, please complete the Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Form.

  DS-2019 Extension Request

Exchange students at Humboldt who were initially here for one or two semesters and wish to extend their program participation may do so with additional documentation. In addition to the extension request form, a letter of support from the Coordinator of Study Abroad at Humboldt, updated Certificate of Finances, and a list of proposed classes for the upcoming semester is required. A non-degree student's program cannot exceed 24 months.

A student may request an extension of the DS-2019 by completing the Extension of Time to Complete Program form. The form will also need to be filled out by the student's academic advisor, and must be submitted and approved prior to the end date on the student's DS-2019. It is recommended that it be submitted at least one month in advance.

  Grace Period

Following completion of program, the period defined on the DS-2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services allows participants a 30-day travel period commonly referred to as a grace period. During this grace period, students are no longer in J visa status and are under the jurisdiction of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS grants this period to allow students to settle their affairs and to prepare to return to their home countries. Students may no longer continue or complete exchange activities nor are they allowed to work during this time.

Although students may travel within the U.S., it is recommended that they do not travel outside the U.S, as they may not be permitted re-entry. It is also recommended that student's maintain their health insurance for the duration of their time in the U.S

  Notification of Early Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

International students are required to notify International Programs if they are unable to continue their studies at Humboldt due to certain circumstances. This notification is for immigration reporting purposes only and does not replace the student's responsibility to comply with the Humboldt academic drop/add policy.

Before withdrawing or taking a temporary leave of absence from Humboldt, be sure to take care of any financial obligations to the University. Any employment authorization ends with non-enrollment.

If you voluntarily withdraw and receive authorization by International Programs in advance, you are eligible for a 15 day grace period to depart the U.S. If you are academically or administratively withdrawn or disqualified, or, if you do not request and receive approval from International Programs in advance, you are not eligible for a grace period and required to leave the United States immediately.

To request a withdrawal or temporary leave of absence from International Programs, please review and complete the Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Form.

Process Overview

  1. Inform your academic advisor and/or department and the Office of the Registrar of your plans to take a leave of absence, or withdrawal.
  2. Notify International Programs of your intent to leave by completing and turning in the Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Form and all supporting documentation.
  3. Maintain status until International Programs notifies you that the request has been approved.
  4. After receiving approval, drop/withdraw from all courses. If you do not withdraw from the courses, you may be charged tuition and fees even if you do not attend. A refund may not always be possible.
  5. Pay all outstanding bills at Humboldt.
  6. Update your address with International Programs and on your Student Center Account so that all future documents and communications can be sent to you.
  7. If you are requesting a temporary leave of absence, you must notify International Programs at least 6 weeks prior to your plans to return to the U.S. to resume study.

  Transferring to another U.S. Institution

Students may wish to transfer from Humboldt to another U.S. institution to continue their program or to matriculate to a new degree level. The exchange visitor must remain in the same category (i.e. student). The transfer-in school must also participate in the J SEVIS program.

The transfer process for exchange visitors requires careful coordination between the student, an Alternate/Responsible Officer at Humboldt, and an Alternate/Responsible Officer from the transfer-in school. Immigration Services will not transfer the record without correspondence from the new school either by phone or by email. Once the record is transferred, it must be accepted by the transfer-in school the same day or the SEVIS record will expire. The transfer-in school will need to extend the student's end date, immediately after transfer, to the date determined by the transfer-in school's advisors.

Transferring schools must take place prior to the end date listed on the student's current DS-2019.

To transfer to a new school, the student must submit the Transfer-Out SEVIS Record Request form along with the required materials to Immigration Services at least 10 business days prior to the transfer date. The Transfer-Out SEVIS Record Request form is accessible on the Forms Page. Once a date is determined, the DS-2019 program end date may be shortened to reflect the transfer out date if it is not the same as the completion of program date.

The transfer-in school will not be able to issue the student a new DS-2019 until the transfer release date. If the student decides to cancel the school transfer, they must notify an immigration advisor before the transfer release date. Once the transfer release date has been reached, Humboldt will no longer have access to the SEVIS record.

To schedule a transfer, please make an appointment with an immigration advisor.

  J-2 Dependents

The J-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued for spouses and dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 Exchange Visitors. The J-2 DS-2019 can be issued before or after the arrival of the J-1 visa holder. Any restrictions placed on the J-1 visa holder will also be placed on the J-2 visa holder. For example, if the J-1 visa holder is subject to the 212(e) exchange visitor two-year home-country physical presence requirement, so is the J-2 visa holder.

To add a dependent to an existing J-1 SEVIS record, submit an I-20/DS-2019 Update Form to International Programs. The I-20/DS-2019 Request form is accessible on the Forms Page.

J-2 visa holders and Academic Study

J-2 visa holders may study full or part time while the J-1 is maintaining legal immigration status.

J-2 visa holders and Employment

J-2 visa holders can apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to allow them to work off campus without restriction. J-2 employment may only be authorized by USCIS. The Employment Authorization Document may be issued for up to a 12-month period and may be renewed yearly. It may not exceed the program length of the J-1. The J-2 Dependent may begin employment only after having received the approved Employment Authorization Document from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The regulation states that employment may not be granted when the earnings are to be used to support the J-1 visa holder. Rather, the earnings must be used for the "Family's customary recreational and cultural activities and those related to travel" (Source: 8 CFR 214.2(j)(1)(v)(A)).

  212(e) two-year home-country physical presence requirement

Exchange visitors may be subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement after completing their program. This rule requires the student to return to their home country for at least two years upon completion of their program. This requirement is also known as the 212(e) rule.

An exchange visitor may be subject to the requirement:

  • If the exchange visitor was financed by a foreign government (i.e. government scholarship program).
  • If the skills of the exchange visitor fall under the U.S. Department of State's Exchange Visitor's Skills List.
    • If a J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the 212(e) rule, so are any J-2 Dependents.

The 212(e) rule does not prevent an exchange visitor from applying for a tourist visa or other student category.

  Students with program sponsors other than Humboldt

Some students are sponsored by organizations other than Humboldt for their immigration document, such as World Learning or IIE Fulbright. These students must seek guidance from their program sponsor with regard to employment, extensions, academic training, or questions regarding maintaining their visa status.

Humboldt’s immigration advisors at International Programs may provide general information only, but students will need to obtain immigration advice from their program sponsor.


Reinstatement of J-1 status may be necessary if certain violations of J-1 regulations occur. Reinstatement requires an application process and approval from the U.S. Department of State.

Examples of these violations include:

  • Failure to pursue a full course of study without prior authorization from an academic and immigration advisor. 
  • Failure to seek a correction of the SEVIS record within 120 days of committing a minor infraction.

Some violations of regulations automatically lead to termination of J-1 status. Record correction or reinstatement is not available in these circumstances:

  • Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage that meets U.S. Department of State requirements for the J-1 Student and dependents, if any.
  • Unauthorized employment (i.e. employment that cannot be authorized under J-1 regulations).
  • Suspension, termination or expulsion from the academic program.

Important information

  • If the student is working on campus, they must notify their supervisor and stop working immediately. The student may resume on-campus employment only if the reinstatement application is approved.
  • The student must enroll full time while the reinstatement is pending.
  • Applying for reinstatement does not guarantee that it will be granted.
  • Prepare the application thoroughly and completely.
  • If the student has previously been granted a reinstatement, it is less likely that the second reinstatement will be approved.
  • Remember, reinstatement is not the only option available. The student may choose to obtain a new DS-2019, apply for a new J-1 visa, and return to the U.S. to resume study. Please consult with an immigration advisor.
  • If the student leaves the U.S. while the reinstatement application is pending, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider it as abandonment of the reinstatement application. If the student decides to withdraw the application, he/she should see an immigration advisor for the withdrawal procedure.

Application procedure

It is important that the student does not delay applying for reinstatement. Make an appointment with an immigration advisor to review application procedures. The reinstatement process may require multiple appointments. The student should schedule their initial appointment as soon as they know they need to file for reinstatement.