F-1 vs. J-1 Comparison

Please click on the topics below to learn more about the differences between the F-1 and J-1 visas available for students.

Eligibility

Eligibility

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Rice University is certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status to students admitted to eligible full-time programs and who submit proof of funding for at least one academic year (9 months).

Rice University is designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to issue the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant EV Student Status to students admitted to eligible full-time programs and who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. More than half of funding is from a source other than student's personal funds, family funds, or a loan;
  2. Exchange is based on a written agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government;
  3. Exchange is based on a written agreement between Rice University and a foreign institution.

Notes:

  • Exchange students may not use F-1 status.
  • Some funding sponsors require beneficiaries to use J-1 EV status.

Degree students who meet both the F-1 and J-1 EV eligibility requirements may choose which status to use. Students who have access to another status valid for study may contact OISS to learn more about the benefits between their existing status and F-1 or J-1 EV status.

Funding

Funding

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Students must provide proof of funding for one academic year (9 months); OISS issues Form I-20 valid for entire length of academic program.

Student must provide proof of funding for the entire program length in order to receive Form DS-2019 for the entire length of academic program. If student is only able to provide proof of funding for one academic year, OISS will issue the Form DS-2019 for one academic year. Student will be required to provide additional proof of funding as part of the extension request process.

Health insurance

Health insurance

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

All Rice-sponsored F-1 students are subject to the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy that requires F-1 students to enroll in:

  • Aetna (Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan), or
  • SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan).

For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/studenthealth.

We also strongly recommend health insurance coverage for all F-2 Dependents.

U.S. federal regulations require J-1/J-2 EV health insurance coverage for the duration of the program. All Rice-sponsored J-1 students are subject to the Rice International Student Health Insurance Policy that requires J-1 students to enroll in:

  • Aetna (Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan), or
  • SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan).

Both Aetna and SAS meet the legal visa requirements for J EV visa holders. For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/studenthealth.

J-2 Dependents are also legally required to maintain health insurance that meets the requirements for the J EV visa.

On-campus employment

On-campus employment

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Eligible to work maximum 20 hours per week during required academic terms and full-time during official university breaks and vacations. For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/studentwork.

OISS letter required for SSN application if student does not already have an SSN. For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/ssn.

Authorization required for each position and each period of employment.

Eligible to work maximum 20 hours per week during required academic terms and full-time during official university breaks and vacations.

Authorization cannot be issued in increments longer than one year; students who remain in the same position must request new authorization.

For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/studentwork.

Off-campus authorizations

Off-campus authorizations

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Authorization only available for practical training directly related to major field of study.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization depends on each program's curriculum and requires eligible offer letter.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) requires USCIS approval and can be used to engage in pratical training after graduation.
  • STEM OPT Extension for graduates of qualifying programs with an eligible offer letter.

Please see https://oiss.rice.edu/studentwork for more information.

Authorization only available for academic training directly related to major field of study.

Academic Training (AT) authorization:

  • Requires eligible offer letter.
  • Available during academic program and can be used to engage in pratical training after graduation.
  • Requires evaluation by academic advisor and supervisor.

Please see https://oiss.rice.edu/AT for more information.

Site of activity

Site of activity

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Must study at Rice University campus or an approved instructional site.

Must study at Rice University campus or an approved instructional site. Must report trips outside of the United States to academic department.

Incident reporting

Incident reporting

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Rice reports to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) any institutional disciplinary action resulting from a criminal conviction.

Rice reports to the Department of State (DOS) any incident that could affect the health or wellbeing of an Exchange Visitor or the reputation of the Exchange Visitor Program.

Dependents

Dependents

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

F-2 Dependents may study part-time. It is the visa holder's responsibility to verify an academic institution's part-time threshold (Exception: school-aged children under the age of 18 may study full-time.)

Employment is prohibited (even if unpaid).

F-2 Dependents may not remain in the United States for more than 30 consecutive days while the F-1 Student is abroad during a required academic term.

For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/dependent.

J-2 Dependents may study full-time or part-time, and may apply for work authorization from USCIS.

For more information, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/dependent.

Post-completion U.S. visa restrictions

Post-completion restrictions

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Not applicable.

INA Section 212(e): Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement

Rice students may be subject based on:

  1. Government funding and/or
  2. Study in a field on the Skills List

Requires J-1 Student and any J-1 Dependent(s) to return to home country for aggregate period of two years or receive a waiver of the requirement before they are eligible for statuses such as H-1B (temporary worker), L-1 (intracompany transfer), K (fiancee), or Lawful Permanent Resident (green card).

Rice does not assist with waivers of 212(e). J-1 status cannot be extended (e.g. for post-completion work authorization) or transferred to another institution following a 212(e) waiver application.

Transfer eligibility

Transfer eligibility

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Eligible to transfer status to a new institution mid-program and within 60 days following Form I-20 program end date.

Eligibility to transfer status to a new institution prior to Form DS-2019 end date if new program is in the same J-1 EV Category and the same field of study.

May matriculate upwards (i.e. progress from bachelors to masters, masters to doctorate) but may not change from non-degree to degree (or vice versa) and may not reverse matriculate (e.g.. doctorate to masters).

Terminal masters

Terminal masters

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

Doctoral candidate who leaves program early with a masters degree may apply to USCIS for extension of status via post-completion work authorization (Optional Practical Training).

Doctoral candicate who leaves program early with a masters degree is ineligible to extend status for post-completion work authorization.

Grace period

Grace period

F-1 Status

J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Status

May remain in the United States for up to 60 days after successful completion of program.

May remain in the United States for up to 30 days after successful completion of program.