J-1 Students

Disclaimer: International Affairs is able to provide you with general guidance.  However, any advice provided to you by our office, as well as the information on the IA webpages, information handouts and request forms,  should not be construed as legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, the USCIS may change its interpretation of these immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits, at any time.  We will do our best to provide you with the most current guidance.  Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.

J-1 students are students in J-1 status (holding a J-1 visa), which is issued to international students who are attending UCCS through an exchange program or through an external sponsorship program.

The important immigration documents for J-1 status international students are:

1. Current valid passport
2. J-1 visa
3. DS-2019 with current signature from international student adviser/Program sponsor
4. I-94 record of latest U.S. entry

These documents are important, and international students are advised to keep them safe and secure. If damaged, lost or stolen, notify International Affairs immediately. The passport, visa, and DS-2019 are needed for initial entry, and re-entry into the U.S. The I-94 is important to have while in the U.S. to show legal status. A continuing student needs a valid signature from the international student adviser (or program sponsor, if the DS-2019 was not issued by UCCS) on the DS-2019. For travel, it is also advised to carry proof of current and continuing enrollment at UCCS and financial documentation. Note that travel outside the U.S. is not advised during regular fall and spring semesters.

J-1 visa

The J-1 visa stamp in your passport permits you to enter the United States for a specific purpose and period of time. The visa may either be for:

• Single entry

• Double entry

• Multiple entries

In some cases, the date of expiration on your Form DS-2019 and the expiration date on your visa stamp may not coincide. If your visa expires while you are in the United States, but your Form DS-2019 and Form I-94 are valid, your legal immigration status in the United States remains valid. However, if your visa has expired and you depart the United States, you will be required to obtain a new visa before re-entering the United States. It is not possible to renew a J-1 visa in the United States.

Note: If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for a period of less than 30 days, you will be permitted to re-enter on an expired visa, provided that it corresponds with your current visa status and your Form I-94 and endorsed DS-2019 are valid.

J-2 visa

Children (including stepchildren) 21 and under and legal spouses can be issued dependent documents. For other accompanying dependents, please contact the nearest U.S. consulate about applying for a B tourist visa.

Accompanying dependents of J-1 students are issued J-2 visas and need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to work in the United States. Employment may not begin until the EAD is received. Please see your international student adviser in International Affairs for more information.

Form DS-2019

This is the form you used to obtain the J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States. DS-2019 has an end date. If you are not able to complete the program by that date, please contact your program sponsor to apply for an extension 60 days before the date on your DS-2019.

Please contact International Affairs immediately if you lose this form. You must carry Form DS-2019 with you if you travel outside the United States for any reason during your program. Please remember to get this form signed prior to your travel, or you may be denied re-entry into the United States.

Expiration date in Form DS-2019

The expiration date on your DS-2019 is the date that your program in the United States ends. However, you have 30 days from that date before you are required to leave the United States. You may use this 30-day period to prepare for your departure, or to travel in the United States. You are not permitted to engage in employment of any kind during this time period. You will not be permitted to re-enter the United States if you travel outside its borders after this date, even if it falls within this 30-day period.

Form I-94 (arrival/departure record)

You should always have your current I-94 record with your documents. Each time you re-enter the U.S., you should visit the CBP I-94 website (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/) and download and print a record of your latest arrival. Your I-94 record should contain your personal information, the date of your latest arrival, your status (J-1), and 'D/S' (Duration of Status) for the date of your permission to remain in the U.S. Your I-94 also contains an eleven-digit identifying number called the admission number, which is used to keep track of your arrival into and departure from the United States.

The Form I-94 officially determines how long you can stay in the United States and is one of your most important immigration documents. If there are any errors on your I-94, or if you cannot locate the record online, please contact your international student adviser immediately.

You should have D/S (duration of status) and Class – J-1 noted on Form I-94. D/S means the time spent pursuing a full course of studies, or time spent in academic training after completion of studies (plus 30 days to depart the United States). No employment is permitted during the 30-day period. D/S expires if you do not maintain a full course of study and you will be out of status.


You must always have a passport valid at least six months into the future. This means you should renew it about six months prior to the expiration date. To renew your passport, contact your embassy in the United States for instructions. You may be delayed when re-entering your home country if your passport is expired.

J-1 students have J-1 visa/immigration status in the U.S. This status has regulations that govern what J-1 students can, cannot, and must do to maintain this legal status. J-1 students maintaining status properly in the U.S. have the length of time given on their DS-2019 document, plus a 30-day grace period (to leave the U.S.). The grace period is not given to leave and re-enter the U.S.

Full-time enrollment

Undergraduate students must enroll for 12 credits each fall and spring semester. Graduate students must enroll for at least 5 credits each fall and spring semester, and in addition have a degree plan (if pursuing a degree) that will enable them to graduate in the amount of time given on the original DS-2019. Failure to enroll for the required number of credits will result in the loss of your J-1 status, and there will be serious consequences. Audits do not count toward your required number of credits.

Immigration allows a few specific exceptions to the full-time enrollment rule. If you wish to drop below full time, you must meet with your international student adviser and have approval before dropping below full time.

Online courses

You may take only one web class (3 credits) per term. You may register for more web courses, but they would have to be more than what is necessary to maintain a full course of study.

Required immigration reporting

All changes must be provided in writing by emailing your International Student Adviser. Do not phone or leave a voice message to report changes. For financial and name changes, you will have to provide documentation proving the change. The following is the information you will need to keep updated:

1. Your current United States address

For immigration reporting purposes, we need both your physical and mailing address (if they are different). When you move, you must report your new address to your International Student Adviser within 10 days of the move To report your address, use the UCCS Portal and also email your international student advisor. Possible moves could include:

  • Moves from one UCCS residence hall to another
  • Moves from a residence hall to an address off campus
  • Moves from one off-campus address to another (including from one room/apartment to another at the same street address)
  • Changing your room number
  • Temporary address changes

Your International Student Advisor will update your SEVIS record with your new address. Failure to provide a current address can result in a loss of your J-1 status.

How to change your address and phone number

  • Navigate to your UCCS Portal, login, navigate to 'Student Records and Registration,' 'Access student self-services,' 'Profile' and update your address in the following records:
    • HOME ADDRESS - complete home country address
    • F-1/J-1 INTERNATIONAL ADDRESS - complete home country address
    • LOCAL ADDRESS - your address in the U.S.
    • MAILING ADDRESS - your address where you want any UCCS postal mail to be sent
    • Cell phone number - your US 9-digit phone number

2. Other changes

Your international student adviser also needs to be kept of any other changes that affect your J-1 status, as these may require SEVIS notification.

Program extension

You should apply for a program extension at least 30 days before the expiration date indicated on your Form DS-2019 by filing for a program extension. Contact your international student adviser to request more information and the proper form. An extension to your DS-2019 will be issued to extend your program, if you are eligible.


J-1 students are eligible for on-campus employment, with a notification to the international student adviser. J-1 students are not eligible for any off-campus employment without authorization from the international student adviser. See the 'Student Employment' page linked below for more information.

Transferring out of UCCS

J-1 student transfers are rare. If you wish to transfer out of UCCS to another US school, please contact your international student adviser for more information.

Withdrawing from UCCS

To withdraw from UCCS, contact your international student adviser. If you withdraw with approval from UCCS, you have a 15-day grace period to leave the United States before you fall out of status. No employment is permitted during this grace period. If UCCS did not authorize the withdrawal, you have no grace period to leave the United States and you are immediately out of status.


Travel Immigration regulations state that you must carry your immigration documents with you at all times. These documents include:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94
  • Current DS-2019

Furthermore, we recommend you carry photocopies of your immigration documents with you at all times when you are in Colorado Springs. Whenever you leave Colorado Springs, you must carry your original immigration documents with you. This still applies to you even if you have a U.S. driver’s license or state ID.

Traveling outside the US and re-entry

Be sure your DS-2019 states your current and accurate information and there is a signature in the “Travel Validation By Responsible Officer” section of page one. Each travel signature is valid for one year while you are a student at UCCS.

If you need a travel signature, bring your DS-2019 to the International Affairs office at least two weeks before you depart Colorado Springs and your international student adviser will e-mail you when it is ready to pick up. Note - if UCCS did not issue your DS-2019, International Affairs cannot process a validation signature for you, and you need to request a signature from your program sponsor. In addition to a valid DS-2019, you will need a valid visa and passport for reentry to the United States. It is also highly recommended that you take with you:

  • Evidence of Financial Resources (such as the financial documents you used to get your DS-2019 or J-1 visa)
  • Evidence of Student Status, such as: recent tuition receipts, transcripts, the name and contact information of your International Student Advisor. Keep in mind that you may need a visa to enter a country other than the U.S. Please contact the consulate/embassy of the country you will be visiting for visa requirements.

Please contact International Affairs if you wish to travel outside the United States after you complete your program of studies.


The U.S. health care system can be very expensive. J-1 status international students attending University of Colorado Colorado Springs are required to have a medical insurance policy that provides compliant coverage for their study in the U.S. This is a regulation of J-1 status, enforced by the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. health care system can be very expensive, and all students need to have a health insurance plan. J-1 students should look for a 'J-1 Compliant' insurance plan, and carry coverage in such a plan for the entire length of their program. Failure to do so is a cause for termination of J-1 status as it is a serious J-1 violation.

These insurance companies listed below are NOT endorsed by UCCS nor the International Affairs BUT are meant as a resource and starting point for our international students that need to acquire health insurance with preventative care. Each of these companies offers coverage plans that are J-1 compliant. Please provide proof of your coverage to your advisor in International Affairs by sending your insurance document to international@uccs.edu

Insurance Company Name 
ISO Insurance 
International Student Protection (ISP)
Compass Benefits Group 

Immunization Requirements 

Students will need to turn in a copy of their immunization records to the UCCS Wellness Center. The State of Colorado requires that students have proof of immunity to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) when attending classes at UCCS. In addition the the MMR, all incoming freshmen living in on-campus housing, must provide proof of receiving the Meningococcal Vaccine or must sign a waiver prior to moving in. It is recommended that all other incoming freshmen consider getting the Meningococcal Vaccine. For more information on these vaccinations or for forms, please click here.

Students may submit their immunizations records to the UCCS Wellness Center in person, via email: wellness@uccs.edu, via fax: 719-255-4446, or via mail:
                    UCCS Wellness Center
                    1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
                    Colorado Springs, CO 80918

*Note: When submitting records to the UCCS Wellness Center, please make sure that student's full name and UCCS Student ID number are included on the record. Questions regarding immunizations or health services, should be directed to the UCCS Wellness Center at 719-255-4444. Please keep in mind that the UCCS Wellness Center is bound to HIPAA (Health Insurance Porta


Academic Training for J-1 Students

What is Academic Training?

Academic training is a type of employment directly related to your major area of study that is authorized by your J-1 program sponsor who issues your DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status form). It is designated for students to apply knowledge and skills learned at school.

Who May Engage in Academic Training?

All J-1 students in degree or non-degree programs may apply for academic training either during the course of study or after completion of studies.

Approval From Your Home University

For exchange students, your home university has to send an e-mail or letter to your international student adviser giving you permission to engage in academic training. If your J-1 sponsor is another agency, and if you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 Responsible Officer, the international student adviser can help you find out, but they cannot grant employment permission.


1. Your primary purpose in the United States must be to study rather than "Academic Training."

2. You must be in good academic standing at the school named on your DS-2019.

3. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.

4. Throughout your "Academic Training" you must maintain permission to stay in the United States,in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.

5. You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your "Academic Training."

Two Year Home Residence Requirement, INA 212(e) If you are subject to the Two Year Home Residence Requirement, INA 212(e), you are still eligible for Academic Training. You are not eligible for an immigrant visa, permanent residence, or employment in H or L status until you have fulfilled this requirement.

Duration of Academic Training

1. Your employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that it is approved by (both) the academic dean or advisor and international student advisor. It may not exceed the amount of time it took for you to complete your full course of study, or 18 months, whichever is shorter. For undergraduate and pre-doctoral training, a student can engage in up to 18 months or the period of the full course of study, whichever is less. For Ph.D. or post-doctoral training, there is a 36-month maximum inclusive of all prior academic training done at that or lower levels of study.

2. Part-time employment for "Academic Training" counts against the 18 or 36-month limit the same as full-time employment.

3. You may have only one opportunity for academic training regardless of how many degrees you receive.

AFTER The Completion of Your Program of Study

1. "Academic Training" must be reduced by any prior periods of "Academic Training."

2. "Academic Training" may be paid or unpaid.

3. "Academic Training" may commence no later than 30 days following the completion of your studies.

4. If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and re-enter the country for J-1 "Academic Training" you must obtain employment authorization before you leave. Consult your international student adviser for advice.

5. You must obtain a written offer of appropriate employment and present a copy to your international student adviser on or before the ending date on your DS-2019 or your will lose eligibility for "Academic Training" after completion.

How to Apply

  • Obtain a letter of offer from your prospective employer that includes:
    • job title
    • a brief description of the "goals and objectives" of your employment
    • the dates (beginning and ending)
    • location of the employment
    • the number of hours per week
    • name and address of your "training supervisor"
    • salary to be paid, if any, must be included to insure that personal living expense obligations can be met. (Proof of funding $1,500/month must be presented to cover living expenses before a new DS-2019 can be issued.)
    • indicate if student will receive health insurance benefits during the entire period of academic training
  • See the Academic Training application packet.

Make sure that your employer's letter includes all of the above details and is on company letterhead.

Give a copy of your employer's letter to your UCCS academic adviser or dean for use in writing to your international student adviser recommending the "Academic Training." Your UCCS academic adviser's letter must be on department letterhead and must set contain:

  • the goals and objectives of the specific training program
  • a description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of training supervisor, number of hours per week , and the 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

Your academic adviser must also approve your "Academic Training" for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training.

When your academic adviser's recommendation is ready, you should deliver it to your international student adviser in International Affairs, with a copy of the employer's letter attached.

Your international student adviser will evaluate the "Academic Training" program and decide whether it is warranted and appropriate. If so, s/he will authorize Academic Training on the DS-2019 and write a letter of work authorization approval.

Work Authorization

1. Social Security Number: To put you on the payroll and complete your hiring process, your employer will need your Social Security Number (SSN), which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security Card. To apply for an SSN:

  • Form DS 2019
  • Your valid passport
  • Your visa
  • Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  • Your academic training letters (from employer, academic adviser, and international student adviser)

Once you have applied for a number, you will be given a receipt. You may begin working while you are waiting to be assigned a Social Security number.

2. Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification: When you begin work, you and your employer must complete Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and work authorization according to directions on the back of the Form. Of the various items acceptable as documentation, you may find that the most convenient combination is your passport, I-94 Departure Record Card, your DS2019, and your international student advisor's letter of work authorization approval. Your employer will make copies of the documents you submit, and return the originals to you. Form I-9 must be updated any time that you receive a renewal of your permission for "Academic Training."

Social Security and Other Taxes

1. Social Security Taxes: In general, as a J-1 student, you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes (see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519: "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens").

2. Federal, State and Local Taxes: Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your earnings as a J-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes. Employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. By April 15 you must file a federal income tax return and a "Required Statement" covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or have a refund coming.

Working Without Prior Authorization

As a J-1 student, you may be eligible for employment opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status. Remember that before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult your international student adviser, whose written approval is necessary in advance.

J-1 employment opportunities

UCCS offers J-1 students job opportunities. Read more about the rules and requirements for employment.

On-campus employment

On-campus employment may not begin before the first day of class. You are allowed to work 20 hours a week on campus while school is in session.

Employment may be full time (40 hours a week) during vacation periods for students who are eligible and intend to register for the next academic term. International students can apply for student wage jobs only. Once you receive a job offer, you need to have your employer supply some details so that you can get a social security number. Your international student adviser can inform you of the information that is needed.

Social Security Number (SSN)

J-1 students are not eligible for a Social Security number unless they have received a job offer and will be participating in authorized employment. You do not need a Social Security number for the following:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Obtaining a cell phone
  • Renting an apartment
  • Any other non-tax related purposes

If you are hired into an on-campus job, you need to apply for your Social Security Number. Take your UCCS employment offer letter (SEPO letter) and submit it to International Affairs. Your international student adviser will prepare an additional letter for you verifying your proper J-1 status and student status at UCCS.

You will take both letters, along with the following items, to the local Social Security Office to apply for your SSN.

  • Form DS 2019
  • Your valid passport
  • Your visa
  • Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)

Once you have applied for a number, you will be given a receipt. You may begin working while you are waiting to be assigned a Social Security number.

Off-campus employment

All off-campus employment must be authorized in advance and follow specific procedures outlined in the federal regulations. Do not work off campus without permission.

Academic training

Academic training authorization permits a J-1 student to be employed temporarily at a job directly related to his or her major field of study. To be authorized to engage in academic training employment, a J-1 student must have received written approval in advance from International Affairs for the duration and type of academic training, and the permission must be on the student's SEVIS record.

Economic hardship

Students may apply for authorization for off-campus employment when necessary due to unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status.