J-1 Non Degree Students

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J-1 Non Degree Students | CGPS | University of Delaware

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J-1 Non Degree Students

This page contains visa and immigration information for F-1 and J-1 Non-Degree students at the University of Delaware. For ELI students who have a J-1 visa, please refer to the CGPS ELI Students webpage.

Passport: You must keep your passport valid at all times while you are in the U.S. You should plan to extend your passport at least six months before it expires to remain in valid status. For more information about how to extend your passport, please contact your Embassy or Consulate of your home country in the U.S.

J-1 visa: The J-1 visa is granted to students in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and it gives you permission to enter the U.S. Your visa must be valid every time you enter the U.S. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., you may remain in the U.S. as long as your DS-2019 is valid; however, you will need to renew your visa outside of the U.S. before re-entering. Your visa cannot be renewed in the U.S. For a list of all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, please go to the U.S. Embassy website.

J-2 visa: The J-2 visa is a visa for the dependents (wife, husband, or children) of a J-1 visa holder.

DS-2019 form: This is the certificate of eligibility issued by CGPS or your primary program sponsor and it proves your eligibility for J-1 (or J-2) status. You must ensure that it is accurate and valid at all times. If you need to extend your DS-2019, you will need to submit an ELI I-20/DS-2019 Extension Request form. CGPS advises you to keep every DS-2019 document that is issued to you. If your DS-2019 is lost or stolen, notify CGPS immediately.

I-94 record: International students arriving in the U.S. will have an I-94 record. You can access your arrival/departure record information online. Please check your I-94 to ensure that you entered in the correct visa status and that all the information is correct. If you have any questions about your I-94 record, please contact CGPS.

In status: To be “in status” means that you have legal immigration status in the U.S. Please see the information about how to Maintain Your Immigration Status below.

Out of status: To be “out of status” means that you have illegal immigration status in the U.S. Please see the information about how to prevent from being out of status in the section about Maintaining Your Immigration Status. If you have any questions or doubts about being out of status, please contact CGPS or an ISS advisor.

SEVIS: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information about F-1, F-2, J-1, and J-2 visa holders while in the U.S.

Terra Dotta: Terra Dotta is the system that CGPS uses to comply with immigration regulations and manage the immigration records of international students and scholars at UD. Students will use the Terra Dotta system to submit various requests, such as I-20/DS-2019 extensions, transferring out, and many others.


Maintaining your status is your responsibility! The Center for Global Programs & Services (CGPS) is here to help advise you, but it is up to you to keep your records up to date. Here are some tips from CGPS on how to stay legal and be a responsible visa holder:


  • Always keep your I-20 or DS-2019 current
    You must always have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 while you are studying in the U.S. If your I-20 or DS-2019 is expiring and you need to extend it (make it longer), submit an ELI I-20/DS-2019 Extension Request.

  • Register as a full-time student every session
    F-1 and J-1 non-degree students must be enrolled full time in their program every session to remain in status. If you withdraw from a class and it puts you below full-time status, you will be out of F-1/J-1 status.

  • Make sure your passport is valid at all times
    If you have lost or need to extend your passport, you will need to contact the embassy or consulate of your home country in the U.S.

  • Report any changes of address to CGPS within 10 days
    If you have changed your address, you must report this to CGPS within 10 days of moving. CGPS must report the most current U.S. address for all international students to the U.S. government.

  • For J-1 Visa Holders: Make sure you have valid Health Insurance at all times
    All exchange visitors (both J-1 principals and J-2 dependents) are required by federal regulations to have sickness and accident insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation insurance in effect for the duration of their exchange visitor program. In addition to being required by law, this requirement protects you and your dependents from unanticipated medical expenses. Read more about health insurance requirements on the CGPS Healthcare & Insurance webpage.

  • Talk to CGPS before you accept any type of employment, even volunteer opportunities
    F-1 and J-1 non-degree students may be eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the session. All J-1 student employment must be reported to SEVIS before you are eligible to start working. Learn more about employment in the Employment section below.

  • Obtain a travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 BEFORE you travel abroad
    F-1 and J-1 non-degree students must receive a travel signature on their I-20 or DS-2019 from CGPS BEFORE leaving the U.S.

  • Programs with K-12 sites of activity
    J-1 Non-Degree Students may not be eligible to participate in programs with K-12 sites of activity. Some programs may allow K-12 locations but typically for observational purposes only and are required to be updated in SEVIS as a site of activity. For more information on sites of activity and K-12 locations, please contact CGPS.

  • Do not overstay past your status end date
    If you have been in the U.S. illegally (past your end date or authorized grace period) you may be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar from returning to the U.S. If you need to extend your I-20 or DS-2019, you must contact CGPS BEFORE the I-20 or DS-2019 end date.

  • Do not accept public assistance
    If you receive any type of public assistance, you have violated your F-1 or J-1 status. In the U.S., citizens and permanent residents are sometimes eligible for social benefits such as subsidized care and government assistance, such as food stamps, welfare or child care subsidies. Non-immigrants are typically not eligible for these benefits. If you have trouble supporting yourself or your family, or finding care, please contact CGPS and we will be happy to help you look for legal options.


For questions about how to maintain your immigration status or avoid visa violations, please contact CGPS or an ISS Advisor at CGPS.


The Center for Global Programs & Services (CGPS) is the designated office on campus to provide immigration advising for international students, including English language students. The office has dedicated ISS Advisors to advise J-1 non-degree students at the University of Delaware.

Find Your ISS Advisor

If you have any questions about your I-20/DS-2019, F-1 or J-1 visa, immigration status, SEVIS, transferring out, extending your I-20 or DS-2019, travel signature, or any other changes/issues that may affect your visa status, please contact one of your ISS Advisors at CGPS. You can email CGPS at oiss@udel.edu or call 302-831-2115 to make an appointment.

Remember, only ISS Advisors can give you the most up-to-date and accurate information about YOUR immigration status. What may work for your friend or classmate may not work for you. Be sure to contact your ISS Advisors with any questions or doubts.


If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., contact CGPS to get a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. If your F-2 or J-2 dependents are traveling with you, you should also provide their DS-2019s. The travel signature indicates that CGPS certifies you are maintaining legal status at the time of your travel and you are expected to come back to continue your studies at UD.

Always check with CGPS before you travel to make sure your visa status is currently valid before travelling and when you return.

What to bring with you for re-entry into the U.S.:

  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature from CGPS

  • Passport valid for six months into the future

  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport

  • Financial information showing proof of funds

If your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa to return to the US. Be sure to check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying to find out which items are required. Please visit the U.S. Embassy webpage for more information.


It is important to remember that the U.S. government defines “work” as any activity that someone would normally be paid to perform. Even if you are not being paid, you still may need authorization. Always check with CGPS before accepting any position, even if it is unpaid or “volunteer”. We will help you meet your goals in a legal way.


  • As an F-1 or J-1 Non Degree Student you may be eligible for on-campus employment. On-campus employment can include work conducted at on-campus facilities, such as the dining hall, library, or offices on campus, as well as with associated businesses on campus, such as the Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

  • For J-1 students, all on-campus employment must be approved in advance and in writing by CGPS. In order to request on-campus employment, you must submit an On-Campus Employment (J) Application to CGPS through your Terra Dotta Student Portal before the start of employment. On-campus employment may be granted for up to 12 months at a time. If your on-campus employment will last more than 12 months, you are required to submit an updated On-Campus Employment (J) Application and offer letter every year.

  • If you require a social security number, or if your potential employer requires verification that you are eligible to work, you should complete and submit the On-Campus Employment Eligibility Form.

For additional information on employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, please see our Updates and FAQ page.

When you have reached the end of your studies at UD, this will impact your immigration status.

F-1 students: Your I-20 program end date will reflect the last date of your studies at the UD. You have a 60-day grace period to prepare to leave the U.S., transfer to a new school, or request a change of education level.

J-1 students: Your DS-2019 program end date will reflect the last date of your studies at the UD. You have a 30-day grace period to prepare to leave the U.S. If you wish to attend a new school, please contact CGPS or an ISS Advisor before the end date on your DS-2019 to discuss transfer eligibility. J-1 students CANNOT request a transfer to a new school or matriculate to UD during the 30-day grace period.

During your grace period, you should not continue to attend classes or continue to work.

If you remain in the U.S. after your grace period, you will begin to accrue days of unlawful presence. This means that you are out of status (do not have legal immigration status in the U.S.). If you remain in the U.S. after you no longer have valid status, you may be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar from returning to the U.S.

Help/Questions: If you have any questions about your grace period, please contact CGPS or an ISS Advisor at CGPS.

J-1 exchange visitors may be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement based on the “exchange visitor skills list” or because they received government funding. This requirement impacts future eligibility for certain immigration benefits. If a J-1 is subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, the requirement also applies to his/her dependents.

Exchange visitors can meet the requirement in two different ways:

  • returning to his/her home country for an aggregate of 2 years, or
  • obtaining a waiver of the requirement from USCIS.

Even if the residency requirement is fulfilled or waived, if the visiting scholar enters the U.S. on another J-1, he/she may be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement again. For example, an exchange visitor comes to the U.S. as a J-1 Short Term Scholar in 2014 and then returns for a second program as a Short Term Scholar in 2015. They may now be subject to the two-year rule twice.

Note regarding current J status holders: Current J status holders who plan to seek a waiver must contact CGPS in regard to their visa status before beginning the waiver process, as it could impact their eligibility for J-status extensions.

Contact CGPS before starting the waiver process. Information on how to apply for a waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement can be found on the Department of State website.

Each immigration situation is different. These rules do not apply to everyone in the same ways. When and how the two-year rule applies varies by case. For more information about how the rule applies to your specific case, contact CGPS.

CGPS Must Be Informed of Changes

The information regarding a J-1 Non Degree Student Program must be kept up to date. CGPS needs to know if anything about the program changes, including, site(s) of activity, funding or program dates. Failure to inform CGPS of changes could result in sanctions for the University and violation of immigration regulations for the Exchange Visitor (EV).

Host Department Requirements

Per U.S. Department of State federal regulations, the University of Delaware is required to verify that each prospective exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to "successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis” before issuing a Form DS-2019.

The host department can verify an applicant’s English language proficiency:

  • Through a recognized English language test (like TOEFL or IELTS)
  • By signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school,
  • A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.

As evidence of proficiency, along with the completed DS-2019 Request, the host department should submit to CGPS one of the following forms of documentation:

  • The exchange visitor’s score report from a recognized English language test,
  • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English Language School confirming their participation a program that would confirm English Proficiency (e.g. taught in English), or 
  • The results of an evaluation interview confirming the exchange visitor meets English Proficiency requirements for the program
  • Report any changes in site(s) of activity: An EV is only allowed to study at the site(s) of activity indicated on the DS-2019 request. An EV cannot study, work or perform research in a different location, unless pre-authorized and approved by CGPS.
  • Report any changes in research or employment: The host department is required to notify CGPS of any such changes before they occur. J-1 Non Degree Students are not authorized for any type of employment, internship or other training opportunity without prior authorization from CGPS.

  • Report any changes in program dates or student enrollment: Notify CGPS if the EV leaves, drops below full course load or is removed from the program before the program end date.

  • Report any changes in funding: If payment from the University of Delaware or other sources needs to be added or removed from the DS-2019 form, contact CGPS before the changes occur. Funding information must be reported in the SEVIS system.

  • Report any serious incident involving an EV: Departments are required by federal regulations to report any serious incident or allegation involving a J-1 Exchange Visitor the same day the incident or allegation occurs. Incidents are defined as situations that have or could endanger the health, safety, or welfare of an exchange visitor or otherwise could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or University of Delaware’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute. Examples of reportable incidents include, but are not limited to the EV suffering serious injury, death, missing, litigation, incident involving the criminal justice system, sexually-related incidents or abuse, negative press, etc.


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ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at oiss@udel.edu.