J1 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

76. Which status is recommended, F-1 or J-1?

No recommendations are made. Most Universities will follow your preference as long as you are eligible for it.

77. Will both the F-1 and the J-1 categories give me enough time to finish my degree program?

Both will allow you to remain in the U.S. for as long as your academic program requires, provided that you maintain full-time registration in that program, and, if necessary, that you apply for extensions before the date of expected completion shown on your visa document. Note, however, that if you hold J-1 status from an agency rather than from the University itself, that agency will have full authority to impose time limits.

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78. Which status, F-1 or J-1, will make it easier for me to get work permission in the U.S.?

The procedures to obtain work permission are quite different, but the employment privileges of F-1 and J-1 students are very similar:

  1. Both can work on-campus up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session at jobs that are related to study
  2. Both can work off-campus, part time, in jobs unrelated to the field of study. In practice, however, that kind of work authorization is severely restricted and very rare
  3. Both are eligible for off-campus employment in the field of study. For F-1 students this means up to 12 months of practical training, for J-1s up to 18 months of academic training
  4. Both F-1 optional practical training (OPT) and J-1 academic training (AT)are available for up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session, but may be full-time during breaks and during the annual vacation
  5. An important difference: F-1 students do not become eligible for PT until they have studied full-time for an academic year. J-1 students face no delay, but you may work only as long as you have studied
  6. Both are eligible for off-campus employment in the field of study. For F-1 students this means up to 12 months of practical training, for J-1s up to 18 months of academic training

Note: After completion of a course of study lasting an academic year or longer, F-1 students are eligible for any unused portion of the 12 months of PT, and J-1 students may use the remainder of their AT, either 18 months or the length of full time study, whichever is shorter.

79. Will there be a difference in my obligations as an F-1 that I would not have as a J-1, or as a J-1 that I would not have as an F-1?

Yes, please keep in mind the following:

  1. Tax: Your tax obligations to the U.S. government would not be affected by your choice of F-1 status over J-1 or of J-1 over F-1
  2. Health Insurance: Differences in health insurance requirements will not affect you if you have no dependents, and if you buy the University student health insurance
  3. Two year home residency: Some J-1s are subject to a requirement that they spend two years in the home country before they become eligible for immigrant status in the U.S., or for long-term employment as a nonimmigrant. This is not applicable to F-1 students.

80. What are the US J-1 visa health insurance requirements?

Insurance Requirements for Exchange Visitors Minimum coverage shall provide:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his/her home country in the amount of $10,000 and

4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness. An insurance policy secured to fulfill the requirements of this section

a. May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards

b. May include provision for Co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness

c. Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates. Any insurance policy secured to fulfill the above requirements must, at a minimum, be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an:

i. A.M. Best rating of or above

ii. Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of or above

iii. Standard & Poor Claims- paying Ability rating of or above

iv. Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above or such other rating as the Agency may from time to time specify

d. Backed by the full faith and credit of any of the following:

i. The government of your home country

ii. Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees

iii. Enrolled students by a designated sponsor

iv. Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services