J-1 Student Visas
There are several J-1 visa categories, including J-1 student. To be eligible for VCU sponsorship for a J-1 student visa you must:
- Enroll as a degree or certificate student at a university abroad
- Participate in a formal exchange agreement between VCU and your university abroad
- Enroll as a full-time student at VCU but may not receive a degree or certificate from VCU
- Be at VCU for only 1 or 2 semesters
As a J-1 student visa holder, you must maintain your legal status at all times. Here are the basics:
- Be sure your passport and DS-2019 are valid at all times
- Maintain full-time enrollment: 12 credits/semester for undergraduate students, 9 credits/semester for graduate students
- If you cannot maintain full-time enrollment, obtain Reduced Course Load (RCL) approval from GEO before dropping below full-time enrollment.
- On-campus employment: You may work up to 20 hours/week during the semester, up to 40 hours/week during scheduled VCU winter, spring, and summer breaks. On campus means hired and paid directly by VCU or by an outside contractor with a VCU contract to provide services to students. If you have a J-1 student visa, you must obtain advance written GEO authorization to work on campus.
- All other employment: whether on- or off-campus, paid or not, requires advance written GEO authorization.
- Travel signature — To return to the US from a trip abroad, be prepared to present the following items upon your arrival in the country: Valid passport, valid J-1 visa stamp, valid DS-2019 with a travel signature no older than 12 months.
Other J-1 regulations may apply. Violations of J-1 visa regulations can lead to serious legal problems. If you have questions about the J-1 visa regulations, please ask GEO first.