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J-1 Visa - Frequently Asked Questions

78.

Which status, F-1 or J-1, will make it easier for me to get work permission in the U.S.?

The procedures to obtain work permission are quite different, but the employment privileges of F-1 and J-1 students are very similar:

  • Both can work on-campus up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session at jobs that are related to study
  • Both can work off-campus, part time, in jobs unrelated to the field of study. In practice, however, that kind of work authorization is severely restricted and very rare
  • Both are eligible for off-campus employment in the field of study. For F-1 students this means up to 12 months of practical training, for J-1s up to 18 months of academic training
  • Both F-1 optional practical training (OPT) and J-1 academic training (AT)are available for up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session, but may be full-time during breaks and during the annual vacation
  • An important difference: F-1 students do not become eligible for PT until they have studied full-time for an academic year. J-1 students face no delay, but you may work only as long as you have studied
  • Both are eligible for off-campus employment in the field of study. For F-1 students this means up to 12 months of practical training, for J-1s up to 18 months of academic training

Note: After completion of a course of study lasting an academic year or longer, F-1 students are eligible for any unused portion of the 12 months of PT, and J-1 students may use the remainder of their AT, either 18 months or the length of full time study, whichever is shorter.

Studying In The U.S. - F, M, and J Visa Options

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79.

Will there be a difference in my obligations as an F-1 that I would not have as a J-1, or as a J-1 that I would not have as an F-1?

Yes, please keep in mind the following:

  • Tax: Your tax obligations to the U.S. government would not be affected by your choice of F-1 status over J-1 or of J-1 over F-1
  • Health Insurance: Differences in health insurance requirements will not affect you if you have no dependents, and if you buy the University student health insurance
  • Two year home residency: Some J-1s are subject to a requirement that they spend two years in the home country before they become eligible for immigrant status in the U.S., or for long-term employment as a nonimmigrant. This is not applicable to F-1 students.
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