Students who are enrolled at NEIU must report to the Office of International Programs (OIP) every semester to indicate their continuing education. The following information will help you maintain your status continuously so that you follow your J-1 student visa regulations at all time during your studies. Consider this information as the "dos and don'ts for" J-1 students. If you do not see the following information pertaining to your needs, please reach out to the Designated School Official (DSO) at NEIU. 

SEVIS Validation 

The Office of International Programs (OIP) must register you into the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Registering you in SEVIS indicates that we notify them that you have arrived in the U.S. and you are actively maintaining your student status as a full-time student.  

You will be required to report to the Designated School Official (DSO) in the OIP with the following information: 

  • Copy of visa with entry stamp 

  • Copy of I-94. You can retrieve this via online through the I-94 web page

  • U.S. address: Providing your new U.S. address. 

  • How to write your address is:  

    • House Number, Street Name, Apt. #
      City, State (IL), ZIP code (6-digit number) 

  • U.S. phone number: Provide the contact phone number you will be using in the U.S. 

Follow Michael's instructions for when to bring you these documents. 

Maintaining Status 

While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your J-1 student status. Maintaining your status means fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued you your visa. 

In order to keep maintaining your status throughout your full degree program you must be enrolled as full-time student. 

  • A graduate/master’s student is a full-time student who is enrolled in at least 9 credit hours (3 classes) for both the spring and fall semester.   

  • An undergraduate student is a full-time student who is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours (4 classes) for both spring and fall semester. 

(Note: Students enrolled in the summer semester must be enrolled full-time.) 

  • SAELL students are automatically enrolled as full-time for fall, spring and summer. 

If you fail to register for classes, enroll, attend or drop your courses without approval your DS-2019 will be terminated by the Alternate Regional Officer (ARO). You will then need to leave the country as soon as possible.


J-1 students can work on campus or off campus. On-campus employment cannot exceed a total of 20 hours per week.  

Working On Campus 

Apply for an on-campus day job

International students are eligible to work on campus only for up to 20 hours per week. The money earned can help to supplement personal expenses and it should not be used as a source of income for financing your education. Visit the platform Handshake to log in to your account (every NEIU student, including exchange students, has an account there).     

Working Off Campus 

Working off campus is called Academic Training, and is a special benefit that any J-1 exchange student may apply for.   

Academic Training 

Academic training is work, training or experience related to the student's program of study (aka, their major). Exchange students can work part-time or full-time. 

You may only apply for Academic Training after the end of your first semester at NEIU. You may only participate in Academic Training for the same amount of time you have already been a student at NEIU.

In order to apply, you must receive a job offer letter containing the name of the position being offered to you, the number of hours per week you will work, a start and end date, and the name and contact information of your supervisor. 

You must submit that to Michael, along with a recommendation from the dean of your school at NEIU (i.e. the College of Arts and Sciences), and written confirmation from your home university that they approve of you doing Academic Training. 

At that point, Michael can create a document for you to use to apply for a Social Security card (if you are getting paid), as well as extend your DS-2019.

For more specific information, please contact Michael.


Social Security 

Any J-1 student getting paid for on-campus or off-campus work must first get a Social Security number.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) assigns nine-digit Social Security numbers (SSNs) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible nonimmigrant workers in the United States. Social Security numbers are issued for working and tax purposes only. SSA uses SSNs to report wages to the government, track Social Security benefits and for other identification purposes. 

To get a Social Security number/card, please see Michael in OIP.

Reduced Course Load 

Under certain circumstances, J-1 students may talk to their DSO about enrolling in a reduced course load and still maintain their student status. 

If an F-1 student is not able to fulfill the full-time requirement due to having initial academic difficulties, a temporary illness or medical condition, or needs fewer courses than a full course load in their last term to complete the program of study. Then the DSOs may authorize a reduced course load. 

If you are a student in need of a reduced course, talk with the OIP as soon as possible. You can not drop below the full-time study requirement unless your DSO approves it and it is updated to your SEVIS record. 

Unlawful Presence 

Effective Aug. 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new rule of unlawful presence.

This means that if your I-20/DS-2019 is expired, terminated, completed and you are still in the U.S., you will be accruing days of unlawful presence.  

"Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence during a single stay, and then depart, may be subject to three-year or 10-year bars to admission, depending on how much unlawful presence they accrued before they departed the United States. Individuals who have accrued a total period of more than one year of unlawful presence, whether in a single stay or during multiple stays in the United States, and who then reenter or attempt to reenter the United States without being admitted or paroled are permanently inadmissible.
Those subject to the three-year, 10-year, or permanent unlawful presence bars to admission are generally not eligible to apply for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status to permanent residence unless they are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief."  

If any student fails to abide by the University rules, we will report it to your home institution first before any lawful termination is done. 

Extending DS-2019 

Some students may be able to extend their time as a student at NEIU. This will involve an extension of your DS-2019.

To extend their DS-2019, you must request permission from your home university. Once requested, the home institution will have to send an email to your ARO to approve the extension. 

Students can only extend their stay at Northeastern Illinois University for no more than one additional semester. 

Once the extension is granted, the student will need to provide financial document, bank statement indicating the length of your stay and the amount to cover you for that period of time. 

The student will also have to submit the proof of health insurance that will cover him/her during the time of extension. 

Leaving Agreements 

If a student needs a leaving agreement to be signed and filled out, they must bring the document to the Office of International Programs for signature and approval.

Exit Procedures 

We will have a final farewell celebration; during this time you will receive your Certificate of Completion. Students will have a hard copy of their transcript sent to their home university. You may purchase an extra one if you wish.

Please note you must have zero balance remaining on your account to obtain your transcript and have it sent to your home university.