International Center City Students

J-1 Status to Study

Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is issued with the student category and is an essential document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program for students attending classes full-time. You must have Form DS-2019 before you apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate.

Newly admitted students would receive an invitation from Jefferson's International Services Portal to complete their profile and to request their DS-2019 for J-1 student status. Once you receive your email from the International Services Portal, you will use your Jefferson ID to log in and submit the required documents for DS-2019 processing. 

After submitting the required documents, DS-2019 processing times are within two weeks. Please plan accordingly, especially if you need to obtain a visa and travel to the U.S. Failure to provide the Office of International Affairs with all the required information and documentation will result in significant processing delays.

J-1 Eligibility & Requirements

  • Individuals admitted to full-time programs of study and who will receive substantial support (a minimum of 51%) from the U.S. government, the government of their home country, or a public or private organization are eligible for J-1 status.
  • Must have health insurance that complies with J-1 Regulations (Jefferson’s Student Health Insurance Plan meets the requirements of the regulations)
  • Duration of stay for degree students is for the duration of the academic program. Those in contracted non-degree programs through Jefferson  have a maximum duration of 24 months, inclusive of any academic training.

In order for the Office of International Affairs to be able to issue the student entry document appropriate for you, your financial documentation must be:

  • ·A letter from the sponsoring institution (must be at least 51%).
  • If you also have personal or family funds:
    • Copies of bank statements (within 3 months) and/or a scholarship award letter.
    • If submitting a bank letter on letterhead, the letter must be in English; or accompanied by a certified translation.
    • Liquid assets (easily cashed - i.e., money market account, certificate of deposit, etc.) available to you for at least your first year of study at Jefferson (value of jewelry or other non-liquid, non-renewable assets cannot be counted as appropriate sources of funding).

You will also need to show original financial documents to the U.S. Consular official when applying for your visa. 

The Two-Year Home Residency Requirement is often referred as the 212(e). Only the U.S. Department of State can determine if a J-1 and/or J-2 is subject to the 212(e). If subject, a J-visa holder will have to physically reside within their last country of legal permanent residence for two years before s/he may return to the U.S. as an H-1B visa holder, L visa holder, K visa holder or as a Permanent Resident. If subject, J-visitors are unable to apply for a change of status within the USA. Being "subject" to this regulation does not prevent a visitor from returning to the U.S. in another visa status, such as F-1 (student), B1/B2 (tourist/business) or under the visa waiver program.

There are three reasons a J-1 visitor may be subject to the 212(e):

  • The J-1 program is funded in part or wholly by the United States government, the visitor's government, or an international organization.
  • The J-1 program is engaged in one or more of the skills listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List (1997 Amendment) for his/her country.
  • The J-1 visa holder is receiving graduate medical education or training.

For more information on the J-1 two-year requirement, visit the Department of State website.

You must obtain a DS-2019 before you apply for the J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate. Since U.S. consulates are recently experiencing a high volume of visa applications and may have limited visa appointments, it is essential to submit your documents for DS-2019 processing well in advance.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you do not require an J-1 visa, but you must still pay the SEVIS fee and prove non-immigrant intent at the border.

A J-1 student may transfer between different Exchange Visitor programs only if:

  • The student's current Exchange Visitor program grants approval for the transfer
  • The student's new Exchange Visitor program indicates their willingness to assume sponsorship of the student if the academic objectives of the current and new program are substantially similar. It may not be possible for a student to transfer between programs if he/she intends to engage in a significantly different academic or program objective. For example, a J-1 student currently in a psychology program cannot transfer to a new J-1 sponsor in order to begin a program of study in art.

Contact your current International Student Advisor to discuss the best time to release your SEVIS record to Jefferson. The Office of International Affairs cannot provide you with a DS-2019 unless Admissions requirements are met, the SEVIS record is released to Jefferson and all required documents are submitted.


Persons currently in the United States as J-1 Exchange Visitors in a non-student category (e.g., J-1 research scholar, J-1 teacher, J-1 specialist, etc.) are generally ineligible to transfer to a J-1 program to pursue full-time studies. Switching from a non-student to student category requires U.S. Department of State approval. Such approval is difficult to obtain and is not guaranteed. Consult with the Office of International Affairs at with specific information regarding your situation, if you believe this may apply to you.

    Contact the Office of International Affairs at for guidance on how to change your immigration status. Timing and additional documents will differ depending on your current status.