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 Do’s and Don'ts for J-1 students. If you do not see the following information pertaining to your needs, please reach out 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 I-94 web page. 

  • Original Financials.  

  • Financial documentation you presented for the I-20 processing were copies, we will require you to submit the originals to the OIP office.  

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

  • Class registration list. You will need to go to NEIUport > Student Tab > Student Detail Schedule > Current Semester > Print 

Submit all required documents during orientation or when you report to the OIP. 

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). 


J-1 students can work on campus or off campus. On-campus employment cannot exceed a total of 20 hours per week. They can, but do not have to be paid for Academic Training when at school, but MUST be paid if they engage in Academic Training after finishing their studies. Academic Training can be 18 months or less, but no more than the duration of their studies, unless they earned a degree. 

Working On Campus 


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 Student Employment Opportunities

Graduate students are able to apply for Graduate Assistantships.           

Working Off Campus 

The exception of working off campus is only through Academic Training and Economic Hardship.  

Academic Training 

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

Students must have a job offer related to their study and a written recommendation of academic training from their academic advisor in order to be authorized for academic training. 

Economic Hardship 

If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. You must have been in the J-1 status for one academic year, be in good academic standing, and document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs. Examples of unforeseen circumstances include loss of financial support or on-campus employment, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increase in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. 

Your advisor will determine your eligibility and assist you in completing the application and submitting it to USCIS. 

Severe Economic Hardship required documentation: 

  • Photocopy of updated form DS-2019, with your ARO’s recommendation for economic hardship employment.  

  • Two passport-style photos 

  • Photocopy of I-94 (front and back) 

  • A letter describing your financial difficulties and why on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient also detailing how this is beyond your control; include supporting evidence (letter from you sponsor, bank statements, etc.) 

  • Photocopy of passport identification page 

  • Photocopy of J-1 visa page 

  • Photocopies of any previously issued EAD cards 

Once you have all the following documents to review, the ARO will request and give you a new DS-2019 and will write a letter of recommendation for economic hardship. 

Application processing times vary between two to four months. If approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for a maximum of one year. Do not begin working until you receive the EAD. If approved, you may work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while enrolled in a full course of study and full-time during semester breaks and your annual vacation semester. This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain status or transfer to another school.    

Social Security 

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. 

Find out more information on how to obtain an SSN

Download the International Student and SSN guide for further information. 

Fill in the form to request a letter from OIP for the Social Security office. 

Download the Social Security card application and submit it along with the other required documents. 

Reduced Course Load 

Under certain circumstances, F-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 requirement study unless your DSO approves it, and it is updated to your SEVIS record. 

Download the Authorizing a Reduced Course Load provided by Student and Exchange Visitor Program. 

Reduced Course Load

Unlawful Presence 

Effective August 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."  

Read more about unlawful presence. 

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 

To extend their DS-2019, students must request permission from their home institution. 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 an additional semester or academic training. 

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 can request their transcript by filling out the Student Transcript Form.  

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