Ohio University

Current J-1 Students: Maintaining Status

Federal Immigration regulations in the United States are taken very seriously, and it is critical that international students in J-1 visa classification maintain their legal status in the United States. Students must be aware of, and comply fully with, the following compliance requirements set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS):

Current Address and Phone Number

As an international student in J-1 status you are required to have a current US local address (SEVIS US address) as well as a permanent foreign address (SEVIS Foreign address) on file with Ohio University at all times. Failure to update either of these addresses within 10 days of moving is a violation of your immigration status. Similarly you are required to designate a "preferred" phone number, which will also be reported to SEVIS.

For instructions on how to update your address or phone number in your MyOhio Student Center, please use the following links:

The Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) will electronically send your new address to SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), the US federal web-based database used by immigration officials to record and track international student data.

Fulltime Enrollment

J-1 students must enroll in a full course of study during normal enrollment periods which are fall and spring semesters at Ohio University. However, there is one exception; any J-1 student who begins their program of study or ends their program of study in the summer semester must be enrolled full-time for the summer.

A full course of study for an undergraduate or OPIE student is 12 credits

A full course of study for a graduate student is 9 credits

A full course of study for non-degree students may vary. Contact ISFS with any questions.

When choosing courses to enroll in it is important to consider if the course will be taught online or in person. No online credits can count towards your full-time enrollment requirement. This does not mean you are barred from taking online courses. It just means that you must take enough in-person courses to fulfill the full-time requirements before you add any online courses to your schedule.

Reduced Enrollment

Federal Regulations limit the circumstances in which students may register less than full-time.

Reduced enrollment may be authorized under the following conditions:

  • Medical Illness
  • Academic Difficulties
  • Final term

Prior permission from ISFS is required. Please call our office to schedule an appointment with an advisor for more information.

Program Extensions

Your DS-2019 form was issued for a standard timeframe. You will find the program start and end dates in section 3 of the form. You may find that you are unable to finish your program by the end date. In that case, you will need to request an extension of your J-1 program.

Eligibility Requirements for Program Extension: You may apply for an extension of your study program if:

  • Your current DS-2019 has not already expired
  • You have continuously maintained lawful J-1 status
  • The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic or medical reasons

You can request a program extension by submitting a completed Program Extension request form. New financial documentation will be required. Students being sponsored by family or friends will need to submit a Financial Sponsor Form from each sponsor.

Transferring Your SEVIS Record

A transfer is a change in U.S. educational institution, and this change can occur at various times throughout your J-1 program - while in the middle of your degree program, after completing your degree program or after engaging in Academic Training. When you request a transfer of your SEVIS record, ISFS will work with the international student office at the new school to transfer your record to them.

There are some restrictions for a J-1 student that wants to transfer to a new school, including the following:

  • If transferring in the middle of your program, you must have the same major at your new institution
  • You must study at the same level or higher as your current degree program at OHIO
  • Students in the non-degree category can only transfer to a non-degree program at their new institution within the same major.

A transfer can be requested any time prior to the end date on your current DS-2019. In order to request a transfer, you must submit to ISFS a completed J-1 Transfer Release Form along with a copy of the admission letter from the new school. Once ISFS has received all the necessary documents, please allow 2 weeks for processing of your request. You can submit the required documents to the front desk of WIEC, via email to isfs@ohio.edu, or by faxing them to 740-593-4328.

Once your request has been processed, ISFS will send an email to your OHIO email account confirming that your SEVIS record has been transferred or to confirm that it is scheduled to be transferred (if your requested release date is in the future). If you decide that you do not want to transfer to the school noted on the request form, ISFS can cancel the transfer if you notify us about your decision beforethe SEVIS release date you selected. If you change your mind after the SEVIS release date, you will need to work with the new educational institution to correct your SEVIS record.

Any employment authorized by Ohio University must end the day before your SEVIS record is released.

Starting a New OHIO Program

You must obtain a new Form DS-2019 before changing your academic program from one degree level to another (from Bachelor's to Master's level, from Master's to Doctoral, etc.). Non-degree or exchange students are not eligible for a change of level. If you are a current non-degree or exchange student that has been admitted to OHIO for an academic program in a future term, you must receive a new DS-2019 from the admitting office and re-enter the U.S. on that new DS-2019. Please schedule an appointment with an ISFS advisor to discuss your plans as early as possible.

To request the new DS-2019 you must provide proof of admission to the new program at the new education level as well as current financial documents to establish a funding source for your new academic program. As a J-1 student, the financial documents must show support for the entire duration of the new program. Submit these documents to your ISFS international student advisor PRIOR to beginning your new academic program and prior to the end date of your current Form DS-2019.