J-1 students may be sponsored directly by Clark or by an external sponsor. The information on this page is for J-1 students whose DS-2019 J-1 visa documents are issued by Clark.
If your DS-2019 was issued by another organization, such as Fulbright or IIE, you must contact them regarding how to maintain your J-1 status and for issues such as travel, employment authorization, or extensions of stay.
If you are sponsored by an external sponsor, Clark University’s International Center still considers you an important member of our international community and welcomes you to participate in events and programs and access other resources during your time in Worcester.
Maintain Your J-1 Status
It is very important for students who hold J-1 status to follow all of the regulations so that they can maintain their valid immigration status. It is important for you to read through this section carefully and understand what rules you must follow. The ISSO is here to advise you and answer any questions you might have. Maintaining your J-1 status is critically important because even if you unintentionally violate the rules, there can be serious repercussions including losing your J-1 status or benefits such as on-campus employment or the possibility of academic training.
Reduced Course Load
J-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status. Clark defines full-time as a minimum of three units or courses per semester. Failure to study full-time is considered a serious violation of J-1 regulations. However, there are certain circumstances in which you are able to request permission to take less than a full course load. In all but one case, you need to get approval from the ISSO before dropping below full-time enrollment.
The following are situations in which you may be eligible for a reduced course load (part-time enrollment or no enrollment) at Clark:
Add J-2 Dependents
Comply with Section 212(e): Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
Some J-1 Exchange Visitors may be subject to Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, also referred to as the two-year home residency requirement, or two-year home country physical presence requirement. If this requirement applies to you, you are expected to return to your home country for two years following the end of your J-1 exchange program. You will be subject to this requirement if any of the following apply:
- Your J-1 program was supported directly or indirectly by U.S. government and/or home government funding
- Your J-1 subject area has been designated as a desirable skill and included by your home government on the Exchange Visitor Skills List
- You are a medical doctor sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
If you are unsure whether you are subject to Section 212(e), contact the ISSO so we can review your documents with you.