Which Visa Is Right For Me?

Most international students in the United States come in F-1 status; most of the rest come in J-1 status.

To be eligible for the J-1 student visa, the student must be financially supported by a scholarship, fellowship, a teaching or research assistantship, home government, the United States Government, the government or an international organization. The students funded by personal and family funds are not eligible for J-1 visa.

There are some major differences between F-1 and J-1 visas. The following are some of the highlights.

 

F-1

J-1

Source of Funding

Substantial financial support from private sources

Substantial financial support from other sources other than personal or private

212(e) - Two-year Home Residence Requirement

Not subject to the two-year home resident requirement

Some students may be subject to 212(e), "two-year home resident requirement"

On-Campus Employment

May employed part-time (20 hours per week) while school is in session and full-time during breaks

May be employed part-time (20 hours per week) while school is in session and full-time during breaks with ISSO written approval

Off-Campus Employment

Eligible for 12 months Optional Practical Training during/after program of study in field related to major.  No job offer is required when applying

May be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (part-time during school/full-time during breaks) if approved by Academic Advisor. 

Eligible for 18 to 36 months Academic Training post-completion. Must have a job offer in hand before graduation to apply

Dependent

Cannot engage in employment or study

May apply for employment authorization or study part-time or full-time as a student