Current J-1 Students

J-1 Student Enrollment, Travel, and Work Rules:

As a J-1 student, you are a participant in the Exchange Visitor Program (BridgeUSA) as you pursue your educational objectives at GMU while having a cultural experience in the United States. Although some modifications were allowed during the COVID emergency, the Department of State reminded sponsors that their Exchange Visitor program should be predominately in person. In addition, they provided guidance and clarification about a few other matters. Please keep the following in mind as you continue your J-1 program at GMU:

To keep valid J-1 status, students must follow the updated enrollment and work rules as indicated below.

Important: Guidance from the U.S. Government and resulting OIPS policies are subject to change. Whenever possible, we will provide you with the most up-to-date information. Please make sure that you continue to monitor your email and the OIPS website for any important updates.

Christine Bodziak, International Student Advisor

Christine's Ten Tips

Christine Bodziak, International Advisor, is the Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for J-1 Students. Christine issues the Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) and advises students regarding compliance with Exchange Visitor Program regulations (22 CFR 62).

  1. Update your US address and phone in Patriot Web within 10 days of moving
  2. Register for a full course of study in Fall and Spring (full-time status for undergraduate students: 12 credits/full-time status for graduate students: 9 credits)
  3. Do not count any online/hybrid* courses towards your full-time enrollment. J-1 students can only register for one 3 credit online/hybrid* course as part of their full-time enrollment minimum. Once the minimum full-time enrollment requirement is met, additional courses in any format may be added. *A hybrid course that meets for 60 percent or more face-to-face may be counted as an in-person course for J-1 student compliance.
  4. Keep a valid passport for six months into the future
  5. Apply for a program extension if you need more time to complete your J-1 program. If you will complete your program early, ask your J-1 advisor for an updated DS-2019 with a revised program end date.
  6. Meet with a J-1 advisor BEFORE taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the University
  7. Insurance that meets the J-1 requirements is required by all J-1 students and their J-2 dependents. Remember to pay the International Student Health Insurance Premium by the due date each semester.
  8. Request permission BEFORE working on or off campus
  9. Report any dependents (spouse or children)
  10. Leave the US within 30 days of completing your program

To learn more about J-1 responsibilities, click here.

Employment Workshops

If you are interested in working on campus or participating in academic training, we highly encourage you to watch the online employment workshops.

IMPORTANT: You ALWAYS need to request written permission from your J-1 advisor BEFORE you begin work.

In the workshop "On-campus Employment," participants will review:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Maximum hours
  • Required forms


In the workshop "Academic Training," participants will review:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Maximum length
  • Required forms


Questions?   Email J-1 student advisor Christine Bodziak at

Adjusting to Life at Mason and Beyond

The Office of International Programs and Services offers J-1 students many opportunities to share your culture and to become involved in the campus community. Please visit our Events website to learn more about our International Programming Activities. Mason 360 ( is also a great way to learn about GMU organizations and events. We encourage you to explore the many resources available to Mason students!

New to Mason Resources:

The following resources will help you prepare for your stay at Mason:
Chapter 1: What to pack (
Chapter 2: Travel to the US (
Chapter 3: Airport and public transportation (
Chapter 4: Course registration:
Chapter 5: American classroom culture:
Chapter 6: Managing your academic workload: