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J-1 Students

J-1 students are non-immigrants pursuing a full course of study towards specific educational or professional objectives at academic institutions in the U.S., as designated by the Department of State (DOS). A J-1 student is admitted to the U.S. for a period known as “duration of status” (D/S). Failure to maintain J-1 non-immigrant status is grounds for removal from the U.S. under the Immigration & Naturalization Act. Upon entry to the U.S. as a J-1 student, you accept responsibility to abide by the conditions of your non-immigrant status. The information provided here should serve as your guide to keeping legal J-1 student status throughout your stay in the U.S. Consult ISSS should you have any questions regarding these or other issues regarding your non-immigrant status in the U.S.



  • Attend the school whose name appears on the DS-2019
  • Always be aware of the DS-2019 Expiration Date found on DS-2019 page 1, item #3.
  • Do not let the DS-2019 expire!
  • Your J-1 status is dependent on your “Program Completion” date or your DS-2019 expiration date, whichever is earlier
  • Report to your International Student Adviser any change to your original academic program includes change of education level or funding


  • You must maintain a valid passport for you and your dependents.
  • Your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future.
  • To renew your passport, contact your home country embassy.

Full-Time Enrollment

You must be enrolled full-time each semester

  • Vanderbilt Undergraduate Full-Time = minimum 12 credit hours per semester
  • Vanderbilt Graduate Full-Time = minimum 9 credit hours per semester
  • Exceptions to full-time enrollment requirement (exceptions must be submitted and approved by your International Student Adviser in advance)
    • Bona fide academic reason
    • Improper Course Level Placement
    • Illness or Medical Condition
    • Final semester of program
    • Reduced Course Load Authorization Form

Grace Periods

30-day grace period after academic program completion. During the 30-day grace period, you may:

  • Remain in the U.S. to prepare for departure
  • Transfer to another school or degree program
  • Apply for a change of status
  • Caution: no travel abroad and U.S. reentry on the same DS-2019 and no employment permitted during the 30-day grace period

15-day grace period after withdrawals authorized and approved by your International Student Adviser

  • Remain in the U.S. to prepare for departure
  • No employment permitted during the 15-day grace period
  • No transfer may be initiated during the 15-day grace period

No grace period for unapproved withdrawals or terminations

  • Immediate departure is expected if you fail to maintain status, withdraw from school, or otherwise interrupt your studies