Important Information for J-1 Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- 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.
- 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, you may not take more than 50% fully online (as listed in Patriot Web) classes for Spring or Fall semester. Please reach out to your J-1 advisor if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Please note that guidance regarding online class limits has not yet been announced for Fall 2022.
International students who study at George Mason University on J-1 visas are a part of the BridgeUSA program. BridgeUSA operates under the auspices of the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the BridgeUSA programs 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 program has a unique description under which it 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'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).
- Update your US address and phone in Patriot Web within 10 days of moving
- 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)
- 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
- Keep a valid passport for six months into the future
- 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.
- Meet with a J-1 advisor BEFORE taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the University
- 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.
- Request permission BEFORE working on or off campus
- Report any dependents (spouse or children)
- Leave the US within 30 days of completing your program
To learn more about J-1 responsibilities, click here.
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 email@example.com.
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 (mason360.gmu.edu) 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: