J-1 Rules of Status and How to Maintain It

You are 100% responsible for your immigration status and following the rules of your status. Champlain College is 100% responsible for reporting in SEVIS whether or not you are maintaining your status.

Important Terms You Should Know


Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security built a database to monitor and report on the activities of F, M, and J students/scholars and their schools. 


Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer. A RO or ARO helps you understand the rules of your status and reports whether or not you are maintaining your status in SEVIS. This person is specifically trained in U.S. immigration regulations regarding J-1 students. At Champlain College, your primary ARO is the Assistant Director, International Student Services in OIE.


Permission to be in the United States for a period of time for a specific activity. You were given your status by the Customs and Border Protection inspector either in your passport or on your Form I-94A (the white card for those arriving by land). Your passport or Form I-94A should have a stamp notated "J-1 D/S".  You are in the US for the purpose of international exchange and to pursue a full course of study for a specific time as long as you obey the rules.


Form DS-2019 certifies that a specific sponsor has brought you to the U.S. for a specific field of study.

By signing your Form DS-2019 on Page 1, you agree to obey the rules of J-1 status.

Rules of J-1 status

  1. Report to the Office of International Education with your travel documents as soon as possible. Your program will be validated soon after.
  2. You must enroll in and complete 12 or more credits each Fall and Spring semester.
  3. You need your ARO's permission BEFORE you drop below full-time (i.e. below 12 credits).
  4. Maintain your required documents. Keep your DS-2019, passport, and I-94A or stamp in your passport valid.
  5. You need your ARO's permission BEFORE you change your program of study or extend your program.
  6. You must get permission from your ARO BEFORE you accept employment on campus.
  7. You need your ARO's authorization BEFORE you work off-campus. 
  8. You are required to carry the appropriate health insurance for the entire length of your program.
  9. You must report any change to your local address, phone number, e-mail address, and site of activity within 10 days to your ARO.
  10. Before you travel, be sure to check that your travel endorsement (signature) is valid and obtain a new signature from your ARO every year (if necessary). Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your ARO.
  11. You must have approval from your ARO BEFORE you shorten or withdraw from your program.
  12. You need to obtain permission from your ARO for a SEVIS transfer BEFORE transferring to another US school.
  13. File a federal income tax form every year you are in the U.S. even if you did not work.
  14. After your completion of study, you have a 30 day grace period. During this grace period, you must either 1) depart the U.S., or 2) change to another immigration status.

If you obey these rules outlined above, you are "maintaining your status". Please consult with your ARO should you ever have questions regarding your J-1 status.