The J-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued by the United States to exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the United States.

J-1 Visa for Students

J-1 students have the opportunity to study at American degree-granting, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or participate in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives of the students' degree program in their home country.

J-2 dependents

All J-1 visa holders are allowed to bring their spouse and children to the United States as long as the J-1 visa holder can show proof of funds to support them during their stay. Any married children or children 21 years or older will not be able to come over on a J-2 visa. Other family members such as parents and siblings will also not be able to come over on J-2 visa, but may want to look into a B-2 tourist visa.

If you would like to bring your spouse or children on J-2 visas, provide these documents.

  • Copy of passport photo page for each requested dependent
  • Copy of marriage certificate, if requesting a J-2 for your spouse
  • Copy of birth certificate for each J-2 child
  • Proof of funds (PDF) showing ability to support them ($7,000 for spouse, $5,900 for each child)

Duration of status

J-1 visitors may remain in the United States until the end of their exchange program, as specified on form DS-2019. Once the program ends, the visitor may remain in the United States for an additional 30 days, often referred to as the grace period, in order to prepare for departure from the country.

Full course of study

J-1 students must maintain full-time registration every Fall and Spring semester. Prior written authorization from an international student advisor is required to take a reduced course load. If students have to interrupt their studies for any reason, they must contact an advisor immediately.

Program extension

J-1 students are required to maintain the validity of their DS-2019 throughout the duration of their exchange programs in the United States. J-1 must apply to their program sponsors for an extension of their J-1 status before their current DS-2019 expires.

Early withdrawal

If a J-1 student is not able to complete an academic program, the student must notify an international student advisor for approval before withdrawing from the academic program.


J-1 students are advised to plan for international travel by first reviewing their DS-2019 immigration document.

Recommended documents for travel:

  • Passport
  • Immigration documents (DS-2019)
  • Travel signature on form DS-2019 (in most cases, no older than 12 months)

Concurrent enrollment

J-students are allowed only to be enrolled in 0 credit hours at UMKC during regular school holiday breaks. If a J-student wishes to be concurrently enrolled, the J-student must take an equal amount of credit hours at both UMKC and the other school.


Reasons J-students may be allowed to be under-enrolled:

  • Vacation
  • Medical problem
  • Bona fide academic reason - student must present their International Advisor with a written statement from their academic dean or advisor recommending the reduced course load and the reason why
  • Non-degree program - if the student is engaged full time in a prescribed course of study in a non-degree program of up to 24 months duration conducted by a post-secondary accredited educational institution
  • Academic training
  • Final term

Are you currently under-enrolled? Submit the J-1 FTE form (PDF)