International Programs

Immigration Information

Information for Non-Immigrant Students (F-1 or J-1)

International Programs staff members provide information and support to international students attending Muskingum on F-1 and J-1 visas. We make every effort to be your advocates and to provide you with the guidance you will need in your interactions with the Muskingum community and with governmental agencies.

There are a number of laws and regulations, usually monitored by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and/ or the US Department of State (DoS), which you will be required to follow in order to legally remain in the United States while pursuing your degree. The information in this handbook has been developed to help you better understand US laws and regulations important to international students. Your Immigration Advisor is truly concerned with helping you maintain your F-1 or J-1 visa status without interruption during your time as a student. Staying aware of and being compliant with the rules and regulations presented in the following pages will increase your ability to maintain your status; however, these rules can and do change. Ultimately, you alone are responsible for your maintenance of status.

If you are not a US citizen or legal permanent resident, but are not on a J or F visa, the Immigration Advisor on campus can provide general information and assist you with some questions regarding your status, but this information does not constitute legal advice. You may wish to engage the services of an immigration attorney.

General Information for F-1 Students

Your visa status in the U.S. is ultimately a matter between yourself and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS expects you to learn and understand the requirements and benefits of your visa status, to meet those requirements and maintain status at all times while in the U.S. You also have the responsibility to inform the Director of International Admission of any changes that might affect your standing as a student here and your ability to maintain visa status.

The Director of International Admission can help you understand your immigration responsibilities and apply for USCIS benefits. You are encouraged to meet with the Director or other DSO on campus in order to make informed decisions before you take any action that could result in the loss of your visa status.

If a student violates an immigration regulation, he or she will be out of visa status and may be ordered to leave the U.S. before completing his or her academic program. The Director of International Admission is your best resource for learning the regulations and how to comply with them. It is extremely risky to rely on information from other international students or scholars.

Basics of J-1 Status

According to US Law Under 22 CFR 62.1

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries. Exchange visitors enter the United States on a J visa.

Who Runs the Exchange Visitor Program?

The EV program is run by the US Department of State, which requires that exchange visitors be notified of contact information for the program.

Exchange Visitor Program
Bureau of Educational And Cultural Affairs
United States Department of State
SA-44, Room 734
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
Tel: (202) 401-9810
Fax: (202) 401-9801

United States Department of State
Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation (Compliance Unit)
ECA/EC - SA-44, Room 734
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
E-mail: jvisas@state.gov
Fax: (202) 203-5087

The Department recognizes that the Exchange Visitor Programs can be most successful if it is aware of the needs, interests and concerns of all parties involved in the Exchange Visitor Program. In order to improve communications among the Department, program sponsors, and program participants (including host families), the Department established an email address by which sponsors, participants, and interested third parties may contact the Compliance Unit. Email: JVISAS@STATE.GOV

How Do I qualify for J Exchange Visitor Status?

  • Participant receives direct or indirect government financing of the program (US government, home government, or international organization of which US is a member);

or

  • Program is pursuant to an agreement between the US and a foreign government;

or

  • Program is pursuant to a written agreement:
    • between an American and foreign educational institution
    • between an American educational institution and a foreign government
    • between a US state or local government and a foreign government;

or

  • Participant receives substantial funding from a source other than personal or family holdings.

Responsibilities of J-1 Exchange Student Status

  • Mandatory health insurance. Exchange Visitors are required as a condition of their J-1 status in the U.S. to carry health insurance for themselves and their accompanying family members.
  • Enrollment and complete full-time coursework (12 credits per semester for undergraduate) during fall and spring semesters.
  • Do not work off-campus.
  • Keep your passport valid at all times (if expired, renew at your country‚Äôs Consulate or Embassy in the U.S.).
  • Request a travel signature on your DS-2019 at least one week before leaving the U.S. in order to return and continue your exchange program.
  • Obey all state and federal laws.
  • Report any change of address to the USCIS and the International Programs Office within 10 days of the change.

Benefits of J-1 Exchange Student Status

  • Enrolled students are eligible for immediate part-time on-campus employment, 20 hours or less per week while school is in session and full-time during vacation periods. Full-time employment is any amount of time more than 20 hours per week.
  • Can stay in the U.S. with an expired visa stamp as long as student status is maintained. There is no restriction on travel within the U.S.
  • Can travel to Canada or Mexico for 30 days or less and re-enter the U.S. with an expired visa stamp as long as you have a valid passport, I-94 card and DS-2019 with a travel signature (within the last year) from Valerie.
  • Have 30 days to depart the U.S. after the expiration date on your DS-2019 form.
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