Requirements for staying in status

Read about what J-1 students need to do to maintain their visa status.

Full-time enrollment

Undergraduate students must enroll for 12 credits each fall and spring semester. Graduate students must enroll for 9 credits each fall and spring semester. 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 submit the Reduced Course Load Form to your International Student Adviser 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 or visiting our address update page. 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. This includes:

  • Moves from one Northern Arizona University residence hall to another
  • Moves from a residence hall to an address off campus
  • Moves from one off-campus address to another
  • Changing your room number
  • Temporary address changes

Your International Student Adviser 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

Step 1: You must notify your International Student Adviser to change it in SEVIS.

Step 2: You must change your address on LOUIE (Northern Arizona University’s online system) so important mail from the university will reach you.

2. Your current home country address

If your permanent address in your home country changes, you must inform your International Student Adviser of the new address in writing within 10 days.

3. Other changes

Inform your International Student Adviser of any other changes that affect your J-1 status, as these may require SEVIS notification. Your International Student Adviser also needs your current phone numbers at all times in case we need to contact you regarding an urgent issue.

Program extension

You should apply for a program extension at least 30 days before the expiration date indicated on your Form DS-2019 by filling out a Program Extension Form. A new DS-2019 will be issued to extend your program. If you fail to request an extension prior to the program expiration date, you will be considered out of status and must apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement.

Transferring out of Northern Arizona University

In order to transfer out of Northern Arizona University, please complete the following steps:

  1. Apply to the other school: Contact the other school for details on their admissions process.
  2. Complete the Transfer Out Form: Once you have been admitted, fill out the Transfer Out Form and drop it off at the CIE front desk. Your SEVIS immigration record will be transferred electronically to the other school and the SEVIS release date you indicate on the form.

Withdrawing from Northern Arizona University

To withdraw from Northern Arizona University, complete the Intent to Withdraw Form. If you withdraw with approval from CIE, 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 CIE did not authorize the withdrawal, you have no grace period to leave the United States and you are immediately out of status.

Travel

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

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94
  • Current I-20

Furthermore, we recommend you carry photocopies of your immigration documents with you at all times when you are in Flagstaff. Whenever you leave Flagstaff, 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 Northern Arizona University.

If you need a travel signature, bring your DS-2019 to the CIE front desk at least two weeks before you depart Flagstaff and your International Student Adviser will e-mail you when it is ready to pick up. 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 support 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 Adviser

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 the CIE if you wish to travel outside the United States after you complete your program of studies.