F-1 vs. J-1: Which Status is Right for You?

· · F-1 vs. J-1: Which Status is Right for You?
F-1 vs. J-1: Which Status is Right for You? 2018-10-11T09:45:12+00:00

F-1 Status

F-1 is the most common visa status used by students in the U.S. and best fits a student’s situation. Most international students at NSU have F-1 status.

J-1 Status

J-1 visa status is generally used for students in specific educational exchange programs. It may also be used by the University for students in degree programs. To be eligible for a J-1, students must receive most of their financial support from sources other than personal funds. Also, the U.S. Department of State requires specific health insurance coverage for J-1 students and accompanying dependents for the entirety of their stay in the U.S.

To be eligible for J-1 status, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Have adequate financial support for all your school and living expenses, including financial support for accompanying family members, for the duration of your degree program


  • 51% of your total financial support comes from an institutional or government sponsor in the form of a scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, stipend, tuition waiver, or other direct support provided specifically for the educational program.  Personal or family funds and loans or support from individuals do not qualify.


  • You are participating in a specific educational exchange program.

F-1 – J-1 Overview

F-1 J-1
Any source of financial support is
acceptable.Must show financial support for the first year of the program for the issuance of the I-20.
Must have substantial (51%) institutional financial support provided specifically for the entire duration of the educational program and to request any extensions of the DS-2019.
Does not require a work permit. Requires a work permit from the program sponsor.
Requires a work permit. Requires a work permit.
During your program, Curricular Practical Training permission is available for off campus jobs/internships related to your course of study.Post-degree Optional Practical Training employment permission is available for a 12-month period. A job offer is not required for 12-Month OPT.

An OPT extension for an additional 24 months is possible for certain STEM majors.

Academic Training is available for off campus jobs/internships related to your course of study.Maximum of 18 months of Academic Training may be used during and after your studies.

An extension for up to 18 months is possible for post-doctoral research.

Off-campus work during the degree program reduces the total period of Academic Training available after program completion.

Dependents F-2 dependents (spouse, child) are not
eligible for any work permit.F-2 spouses and children can participate in studies that are “avocational or recreational in nature” (i.e., non-academic hobbies and recreational studies).F-2 children may attend full-time elementary or secondary school (kindergarten-12th grade).
J-2 dependent (spouse, child) work permission is available.J-2 dependents are eligible to study part-time or full-time in the U.S.
Insurance Basic coverage minimum requirement. Must be covered for entire program.
Home Foreign Residence Requirement
No Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. J-1 and J-2 dependents may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement.

For more information about various types of nonimmigrant status, visit the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) web site.