J-1 Visa Status

As an international exchange student in the United States, you are subject to certain regulations that must be followed during your stay. Observe and abide by these regulations to avoid problems that may hinder or interrupt your studies at Cal Poly.

How to Maintain Your J-1 Visa Status

  • Read the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Welcome Brochure
  • Enroll in and complete a full load of courses each quarter
  • Dropping from full-time enrollment or withdrawing from the quarter without prior authorization from the International Student Advisor is a violation of visa status
  • Make progress toward your degree objective
  • Maintain a valid passport
  • Maintain a current Form DS-2019
  • If you need to extend your time here, you must request to extend at least 2 weeks prior to the expiration of your DS-2019. Submit the Request to Extend Program Form found in your International Student Hub.
  • Report change of address within ten (10) days on the Cal Poly Portal (enrolled students) or by updating your profile in the International Student Hub (non-enrolled students on Academic Training)

Minimum Required Study Load

  • J-1 undergraduate students are required to carry at least 12 units per quarter and graduate students a minimum of 8 graduate level units per quarter.
  • Students who encounter difficulty in carrying the minimum load, whether for academic, health or personal reasons, should immediately contact the International Student Advisor before dropping from full-time enrollment.
  • Summer quarter is considered a vacation quarter and enrolment is optional, so part-time enrolment or no enrollment is allowed.

Reinstatement of Status

Every student's record is updated in SEVIS every quarter, verifying enrollment. Students who fail to maintain status will lose the privileges of their student visa and become subject to deportation. Specific consequences may include denial of re-entry to the U.S., inability to move from undergraduate to graduate status, inability to work, denial of requests to change visa status, and possible denial of all future visa applications.

For example, if you below a full course of study without prior approval from the International Center, that "event" would be reported in SEVIS, and would result in a termination of J-1 visa status.

You may apply to USCIS for reinstatement if the violation resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Reinstatement is a rare benefit for exceptional cases. You may not apply for reinstatement under any circumstances if you are out of status longer than five months. If USCIS does not reinstate the J-1 status, you may not appeal that decision. You must notify the International Student Advisor, Judy Mitchell, if you wish to apply for re-instatement.