Thomas Jefferson University

J-1 Student

In order to obtain your I-94 number, please go to  Enter the required information and print out a copy for your records.  You will need the I-94 number if you wish to apply for a driver’s license, a state photo I.D., or social security number.

Your J-1 status and DS-2019 expires when you finish your research or academic program, regardless of the end date listed on your current DS-2019.Once you finish your J-1 program, you have a 30-day grace period to prepare for departure or tour the U.S. There is a 12-month bar for those who participate in a J-1 student program for more than six months. This means that if you want to return to the U.S. in the J-1 research scholar/professor category, you must wait 12 months from the end of your J-1 student program. You may apply for other visa statuses.

Step 1: Complete "Request for DS-2019 Extension (J-1 Status)." Write "ACADEMIC TRAINING" in the Program Information area of this form.

Step 2: Let OIA know in writing what (if any) period of Academic Training (J-1 student employment) you have used in the past.

Step 3: Present a written recommendation from your academic advisor that includes:

  • Verification that the student is in good academic standing as a full-time student
  • The goals and objectives of the specific training program
  • A description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
  • How the training relates to the student’s major field of study
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the exchange visitor student

Step 4: Obtain an offer letter describing the proposed academic training

Step 5: Once you have submitted a complete Academic Training request to OIA, schedule an appointment to meet with an OIA staff member to pick up your Academic Training documents. This process usually can take place within 10-15 working days.

Download Sample Letters for Academic Training (PDF)

You must report any change of address to OIA and USCIS within 10 days of the change.  This is extremely important so that you can receive the proper tax forms from Thomas Jefferson University or immigration documents from USCIS. 

To report your change of address to OIA, simply email our office at, or stop by to complete and information update form.

To report your change of address to USCIS either by paper or online, go to:

The State of Pennsylvania allows you to use your country's driver's license for up to one year to drive in Pennsylvania only.  If you live or drive in another state, you must abide by their driving regulations. 

If you apply for an international driver’s permit before you arrive in the U.S., you may use it in conjunction with your country’s driver license for one year in Pennsylvania.  The permit is helpful in case you encounter any traffic issues or violations.

A driver's license can also serve as a state photo I.D., but a state photo I.D. cannot be used as a license to drive.

If you decide to apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license or state photo I.D., you will need a social security card (or rejection letter) as well as other documents.

When you arrive at the port of entry, make sure that the immigration officer stamps your passport with the date of entry, “J-1” and “D/S” (Duration of Status).  D/S is the length of time for which you may stay in J status in the United States as long as you comply with all immigration regulations.  D/S is based on your program completion date, plus a 30-day grace period.  You may extend the D/S by applying for an extension.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and any family members accompanying in J-2 status must be covered by health insurance that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of State.  Willful failure to comply with this requirement will result in the termination of your J-1 program.  Brochures for health insurance plans are available at OIA. Please go to the J-1 Health Insurance page for more information and options.

J-1 students are admitted to the United States for "duration of status" or "D/S" and must complete their academic program by the completion date on their DS-2019 or apply for program extension. Program extensions can be given to students who have continually maintained status and whose completion dates have been delayed due to academic or medical reasons. Students must apply for a program extension in the 30-day period before the completion date on the current DS-2019; otherwise the student will be considered out of status and will need to apply for reinstatement.

Acceptable academic delays include (1) change in major field of study, (2) change in research topic, (3) unexpected research problems, (4) lost credits upon transfer to Thomas Jefferson University, or (5) insufficient time for average student to complete studies in the particular program. Delays caused by medical reasons require documentation. If the delay is for academic reasons, please complete with your academic advisor the Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for Extension of Time for a Program of Study.

Academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for delay. Individuals who have not maintained status or who have delays due to academic probation or suspension must apply for reinstatement. If this is the case, please contact OIA to schedule an appointment with an international student advisor.


J-1 non-degree students have a total of 24 months to participate in the J-1 program. In order to extend your DS-2019, you must complete and submit the "DS-2019 Extension Request Form". If you do not receive a stipend from Jefferson, you must also show original documentation proving that there is enough funding to continue your program. These funds cannot be provided by your parents or from personal funds. You should complete your DS-2019 extension request about 45 days before the expiration of your current DS-2019.

The Social Security Administration must see proof in their system that OIA has validated your immigration record with the Department of Homeland Security.  Therefore, you may apply for a Social Security Number AFTER you check-in with OIA.  Social Security applications and instructions will be provided during your check-in orientation.

Your DS-2019 is valid only as long as you are participating in a program through Thomas Jefferson University, and pursuing the original purpose for which you entered the U.S. in J-1 status. If you decide that you would like to transfer to another institution or even to another laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University, you must visit OIA before you make any changes.

During your J-1 program, if you wish to travel outside of the United States, you must visit OIA with your DS-2019 BEFORE you leave so that we can provide a travel validation signature.  Your passport must also be valid.  You can renew your passport at your country’s embassy or consulate in the United States.

Your visa is the large photo stamp in your passport.  The visa expiration is the date up to which you are permitted to enter or re-enter the United States—it is NOT an indication of the length of permission to stay.

You only need to renew your visa if you are going to travel outside of the U.S. and then return to the U. S. after the expiration date on the visa page in your passport.  All visa renewals must be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the United States.