Fall 2022 J1 Student Information about Enrollment, Travel, Work

See here for Fall 2022 J1 Student Information: https://oips.gmu.edu/Fall2022F1/

As the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to facilitate in-person exchanges, there have been some slight changes to guidance for new J-1 students regarding enrollment and for all J-1 students regarding Academic Training.

  • If you are a continuing J-1 student that began your J1 program before March 2020, you may take any combination of in-person, online, or hybrid courses in order to successfully make progress in completing your program.
  • You must be enrolled full-time or approved by OIPS for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).
  • If you are a J-1 student that began your program after March 2020, the majority of your courses must not be fully online.  Please reach out to your J-1 advisor if you have any questions (cbodziak@gmu.edu)
  • Academic Training: Positions should be in person. Remote positions cannot be approved. If the hosting organization allows for telework, it should be no more than two days a week.

Official Government Resources

Office of Admissions’ Admitted International Student FAQ’s
Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Non-U.S. citizens, Non-U.S. immigrants: Travel to and from the United States

Fall 2022 Frequently Asked Questions about Enrollment, Travel, Work

These FAQs are based on the J-1 regulations, guidance from various government agencies, and University/OIPS Policies and Procedures. Note that rules are subject to change and that you should check for updates and visit the official government resource links above regularly.

General Enrollment
 

1. How many credit hours must a J-1 student take?

J-1 Students are required to be enrolled for a full course of study every semester.

  • Undergraduate students must take at least 12 credits
  • Graduate students without an assistantship must take at least 9
  • Graduate students with an assistantship can take 6 credits if their assistantship meets full-time equivalency requirements as defined by the Registrar. Students must work with the department offering the assistantship to ensure that these requirements are met.
  • INTO Mason Academic English students must take 18 clock hours per week in person
  • INTO Mason Pathways students must follow the schedule assigned to them by INTO Mason but have at least the same credit requirements as their degree level counterparts (9 for Graduate, 12 for Undergraduate)

2. Are there any exceptions to the full course of study requirements above?

In some situations, reduced course loads can be approved so that a student can maintain status with less than the credit hour requirements stated in Question 1 above. Students should not drop courses before discussing eligibility for reduced course load with an OIPS advisor. See the J-1 Reduced Course Load page for more information regarding Reduced Course Load for a Bona Fide Academic Reason, Reduced Course Load during the Last Semester, or Reduced Course Load for an Illness or Medical Condition.

Fall 2022 Online vs. Face-to-Face (F2F)/Hybrid Requirement

 

In the FAQs below, the term Face-to-Face means the same as the term F2F 

 3. I am a J-1 student who started studies in Spring 2020. My SEVIS record was active in March 2020. How many online courses can I take?

Please keep in mind that the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to facilitate in-person exchanges. However, as you are working to successfully complete your J-1 program in time, you may take any combination of in-person, online, or hybrid courses. You should coordinate directly with your academic department on course availability and requirements

4. I am a J-1 student who started my studies after March 2020. How many online courses can I take?

The majority of your courses must not be fully online. It is okay if the majority of your courses are a combination of F2F or hybrid.

5. I started my J-1 degree program after March 2020 and the classes I need to finish my program do not allow me to have a majority of F2F/hybrid courses this semester. What should I do?

Please work with your academic advisor to see if you can adjust your schedule so the majority of your classes will not be fully online. However, if your academic advisor confirms it is not possible, please reach out to your J-1 advisor at cbodziak@gmu.edu as soon as possible.

6. How can I tell if a class is fully online, hybrid, or F2F? 

Mode of instruction is determined by the Registrar and shown in https://patriotweb.gmu.edu/. When you look at the information for a course in Patriotweb, check the Instructional Method.

To avoid a course that is online, do not register for any courses that are F2F 0-1%. Register for at least one course (or more if possible) that is Hybrid F2F 2-75% or F2F: F2F 76-100%.

  • Fully online: F2F 0 – 1%
  • Hybrid: F2F 2-75%
  • F2F: F2F 76-100%

Employment

 

Please review the rules on the J-1 Student Employment page. Note that ALL positions, whether on-campus or off-campus, must be pre-approved by OIPS and entered into a student’s SEVIS record.

On-campus employment authorization for a specific position is valid for up to one year. A new approval must take place for additional time, for a new position, or if a student is extending their program and wants to continue their current position.

Academic Training. Please note that for Academic Training positions should be in person. Remote positions cannot be approved. If the hosting organization allows for telework, it should be no more than two days a week.

Travel

 

The information below should apply to all J-1 Students at all U.S. airports. However, please keep in mind that every Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) unit has its own set of procedures, which may vary slightly from the process stated below.

7. What happens when I go through Customs at the airport?

The Customs officer will ask to see your documents (valid DS-2019, J-1 visa, passport, and Employment Authorization letter if on post-completion Academic Training). The airport official might ask about your plans in the U.S. Be truthful about your studies and plans in the U.S. If the information that you provide and your documents match the information in the SEVIS system, it is highly likely that you will not have a problem entering the U.S

8. Will I need to show proof of vaccination when I enter the U.S? 

Yes, in most cases, a J-1 student and their adult dependents will need to show proof of full vaccination before boarding their flight. For important details, see Non-U.S citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Travel to and from the United States. Check with your airline before boarding your flight for requirements and procedures. Keep in mind that rules are subject to change. Check the link above frequently for updates.

9. Will I need to take a COVID-19 test when I enter the U.S?

Effective June 12, 2022, the U.S. Government is no longer requiring international air passengers to show proof of COVID Testing. Vaccination Requirements are still in effect. See Non-U.S. Citizen, Non-U.S. Immigrants: Travel to and from the United States for official information. Keep in mind that rules are subject to change. Check the link above frequently for updates.

10. What do I need to know if I am traveling to the U.S

In addition to following current vaccine and testing requirements, make sure that you have the required or recommended documents listed below when you enter the U.S. and read the following sections for more specific information based on your situation.

Required:

  • Passport that is valid 6 months into the future
  • Valid J-1 visa
  • Original DS-2019 form with appropriate signatures.
  • New Students:
    • You cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the Program Start Date on your DS-2019 form
  • Returning Students/Post-Completion AT Students
    • You need an original DS-2019 that matches your electronic SEVIS record.
    • The DS-2019 must have the school signature and your signature on the bottom of Page 1 and a school travel signature in the bottom right box. The Travel Signature must be less than 12 months old if you are currently enrolled and less than 6 months old if you are on post-completion Academic Training.
    • Employment Authorization Letter for Post-Completion AT students.

Recommended:

More information is available at https://oips.gmu.edu/travel-and-re-entry/

11. Do I need to show the Customs official at the airport all my DS-2019 forms?

You should show the Customs official the most recent DS-2019 issued to you by OIPS. It should match the information in the SEVIS system. You should keep copies of all your DS-2019s for your records, but you do not need to show all of them to the Customs official.

12. If I have any problems at the airport, how can I contact OIPS?

The best way to contact OIPS is to call the main office line at 703-993-2970 during normal office hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 p.m. At any other time, call the George Mason University Campus Police at 703-993-2810. You can provide this information to the Customs official if necessary. The Campus Police will then contact OIPS if you need urgent help.

I-94 Correction Information

13. What is an I-94?

An I-94 is an electronic record of your arrival and departure from the U.S. You can print out a copy of your I-94 here. Click on the blue Get Most Recent I-94 box and enter your information. Then, click on Next to see and print your I-94. It is a good idea to have a copy of your most recent I-94 after each entry into the U.S. and check it to make sure the information is correct. If you are traveling to the U.S. for the first time, you will need the I-94 to complete J-1 check-in with OIPS after your entry.

14. What should I look at on my I-94?

Check to make sure that the following information is correct:

  • The Most Recent Date of Entry
  • The Class of Admission

 15. What can I do if my I-94 is not correct?

You can contact the Deferred Inspection section of the airport to try to correct your information. Often, you will need to go to the Deferred Inspection site in person. However, depending on which airport you entered, you might be able to correct the information by telephone or email. Check here for a list of Deferred Inspection sites and their contact information.

The Deferred Inspection Information for Dulles Airport is below:

Washington, D.C.
Address: Deferred Inspection Unit
Washington Dulles International Airport
1 Saarinen Circle, Main Terminal Lower Level, West End
Sterling, VA 20166
Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Friday
Contact Information: Phone: (703) 661-2800, ext. 7116
Fax: (703) 661-8394
I-94 Correction Instructions: (703) 661-2800 option 4