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J-1 Students

The J-1 student visa category is a non-immigrant status. Students in J-1 status must be pursuing a full course of study towards a specific educational or professional objective at an academic institution in the U.S..

Below is some general information related to J-1 status. If you have any questions about your status, please contact your ISSS advisor. Note: If your DS-2019 was issued by a third-party organization (such as Fulbright), please contact your program sponsor for any J-1-related questions. They are your primary resource for status-related information, as they manage your SEVIS record.

Important Documents

DS-2019: The DS-2019 is issued to you by your program sponsor (Vanderbilt or a third-party organization such as Fulbright). You are permitted to participate in your program during the dates listed on the document. If your end date is nearing, but you need additional time to complete your program, you must submit an extension request before your document expires. A DS-2019 cannot be extended once its end date has passed.

Passport: You must maintain a valid passport for you and any dependents. Ideally, passports should be valid at least 6 months into the future. In most cases, passport renewals or replacements may be done in the U.S. through your home country embassy.

I-94:  This is the electronic record of your admission to the US that is generated when you are admitted by a U.S. immigration official at the U.S. port of entry. You can retrieve your electronic I-94 from . This document authorizes your presence in the U.S. as a student for a specified period of time. You should retrieve your I-94 after each arrival and contact your ISSS advisor if you notice any mistakes.

J-1 Visa:  The student visa, which is a stamp or sticker placed in the passport at the U.S. embassy or consulate, permits you to enter the U.S.  The expiration date on the visa is the last day you can use it to enter the U.S. Once you enter the U.S., the date does not matter. The visa is allowed to expire while you are in the U.S. as long as your DS-2019 is valid and you are maintaining J-1 status.  If the original visa expires, a new entry visa is required for subsequent reentries to the U.S. following travel abroad. Note: Citizens of Canada or Bermuda are not required to obtain a visa, but they do need a DS-2019.

Grace Periods

Students are allowed a 30-day grace period after the successful completion of their academic program (including any approved academic training). During the 30-day grace period, you may:

  • Remain in the U.S. to prepare for departure
  • Depart the U.S.
  • Apply for a change of status

There is no grace period for unapproved withdrawals or status violations. Immediate departure is expected if you fail to maintain status, withdraw from school, or otherwise interrupt your studies.