Current J-1 Students

Important Fall 2020 Enrollment Information for J-1 Students

  • If you are a continuing J-1 student, you may take in-person, online, or hybrid courses.
  • You must be enrolled full-time or approved by OIPS for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).
  • If you are a NEW J-1 student, please reach out to your J-1 advisor to discuss your J-1 status (

International students who study at George Mason University on J-1 visas are a part of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Each Exchange Visitor Program has a program description under which that program must operate and designates an individual or individuals as the University staff responsible for the administration of the particular J-1 program.

The OIPS team advises J-1 students on compliance with US immigration law and regulations.  In addition to advising, the OIPS team endorses forms, recommends and approves immigration benefits, and processes document requests.  If you have questions or concerns related to your immigration status, we are here to help.

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 conducts official communications with the State Department and the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) on the exchange visitor’s behalf.

  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/distance education courses towards your full-time status.  J-1 students can only register for an online/distance learning course after registering for a minimum of 12 undergraduate or 9 graduate in-person courses
  4. Keep a valid passport for six months into the future
  5. Complete your program by program end date on DS-2019 - otherwise ask for a program extension
  6. Meet with a J-1 advisor BEFORE taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the University
  7. Meet with a J-1 advisor when you plan to transfer to another school
  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?   Visit OIPS during walk-in hours (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 2-4pm) or email Christine Bodziak at  Please include your name, G number and a detailed description of your request.

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: Adjusting to Life at Mason:
Chapter 7: Managing your academic workload:

Become a VIP (Volunteer for International Programs)!

OIPS offers 10 different volunteer opportunities to suit your interests, skills and availability.