Student Life

Immigration Requirements and Employment

Maintaining Status

To maintain your J-1 status while in the U.S., you must do the following:


Enroll in a Full Course of Study 
  • 12 hours for undergraduate students
  • 10 hours for law students
  • 9 hours for graduate business students
Maintain Valid Immigration Documents
  • Passport – Your passport should be valid at all times. If your passport will expire during your time in the U.S., you will need to contact your home country embassy to request an extension.
  • J-1 Visa – The J-1 visa stamp in your passport must be valid to enter the U.S. If your visa will expire during your program, that is ok. However, if you plan to travel outside the U.S. and re-enter during your exchange program, you will need to renew your J-1 visa before you return. You cannot renew a J-1 visa from inside the U.S.
  • DS-2019 – Your DS-2019 reflects your UT Austin program of study, including dates of your program. If you are participating in a one-semester exchange and would like to extend for an additional semester, you must request and receive a J-1 Extension of Stay before you current DS-2019 expires. Note: The maximum length of a J-1 Reciprocal Exchange Program is one academic year.
  • Form I-94 – The I-94 is your official arrival/departure record and issued electronically upon entry to the U.S. Your I-94 should reflect your J-1 status and indicate a Duration of Stay (D/S) notation under the expiration date.
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt – The SEVIS fee receipt is proof of payment of the SEVIS fee and should be kept for your immigration records.
Maintain Adequate Health Insurance

J-1 visa holders are required to have health insurance that meets both U.S. Department of State and UT Board of Regents requirements for the duration of their program. For this reason, exchange students in J-1 status are automatically enrolled in the UT System Student Health Insurance Plan (UTSHIP) upon registration for courses. The cost of UTSHIP will be reflected in your tuition and fee bill. 

Exchange students do NOT have the option to waive UTSHIP enrollment.

Exit the U.S. within 30 days of your DS-2019 expiration date

You have a 30-day grace period upon expiration of your DS-2019 to travel within the U.S. If you exit the U.S. during your grace period, you may not re-enter in J-1 status. To re-enter, you would need to do so in a different visa category (e.g. tourist or ESTA visa waiver.

More information about ESTA can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.


J-1 Exchange students may participate in part-time or full-time work during their time in the U.S. provided they adhere to the following guidelines and requirements:


On-Campus Employment

Students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters, or full-time (21+ hours per week) during vacation periods. To do so, students must submit an On-campus Employment Report through myIO prior to beginning employment. For more information on this process, including how to find a job, view the On-Campus Employment page.

Note: If a student has the opportunity to work full-time (21+ hours per week) on campus during the fall and spring semesters, they must submit an On-campus Employment Report through myIO and obtain J-1 Academic Training employment authorization prior to beginning full-time employment.

Off-Campus Employment

Students may work any number of hours off campus during the fall and spring semesters, vacation periods or upon completion of their exchange program provided the following criteria is met:

  • Employment is related to their UT Austin major field of study.
  • Permission is granted by their home university.
  • J-1 Academic Training is authorized by ISSS prior to beginning employment and prior to the expiration of their DS-2019.

For information on how to apply for J-1 Academic Training, view the Employment for J-1 Students page.

Note: Working off campus without the proper authorization in place is a violation of your J-1 visa status and will result in the termination of your exchange program.

Social Security Number (SSN)

An SSN is required to receive payment from a U.S. employer. For information on eligibility and how to apply for an SSN, view the Applying for SSNs page.

Health and Safety

  • Exchange students starting in spring will have insurance starting January 1. Exchange students starting in fall will have insurance starting August 1.
  • Exchange students whose program ends in the fall will have an insurance end date of December 31. Exchange students whose program end in the spring will have an insurance end date of May 31. 
Campus Safety and Security Resources

Did you know that UT Austin has its very own Police Department on campus, maintains a 24/7 Counseling and Mental Health Crisis Line and offers a number of safety programs for students, faculty and staff? The university is dedicated to creating a safe learning and living environment for all who set foot on campus and beyond.

For detailed information about what the university is doing to keep students safe and what programs and resources are available, view the Campus Safety page.

Student Health Insurance

J-1 visa holders are required by the U.S. Department of State and the UT Board of Regents to have adequate health insurance for the duration of their program. For this reason, J-1 exchange students are automatically enrolled in the UT System Student Health Insurance Plan (UTSHIP) upon registration for courses. The cost of UTSHIP will be reflected in your tuition and fee bill.

Exchange students do NOT have the option to waive UTSHIP enrollment.

After registration, you will need to visit the My Tuition Bill page to pay your insurance fees. Below are the insurance codes and descriptions of the insurance charges that may appear on your tuition and fee bill.

Insurance Codes and Descriptions

Code Description
Fall or Spring Intl. Health Insurance Health insurance is charged per semester. The amount listed here is your insurance premium for your current semester only.
Fall or Spring Evacuation Insurance This charge is for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains are specific insurance requirements from the U.S. Department of State that all J-1 visa holders must have for the duration of their program.
Summer Intl. Health Insurance Summer health insurance will only be charged if your period of study requires your presence during the summer. For example: if you begin studying during the spring semester and end your studies during the following fall semester you would be required to have summer health insurance. Summer health insurance can also be added optionally for students who extend their program for post-completion academic training.
Summer Evacuation Insurance Summer medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance will only be charged if you are required to have insurance coverage for the summer period or if you have optionally requested coverage for this period.
Intl. Insurance Admin Fee This fee supports a full-time staff member in Texas Global to assist with health insurance administration and support.


Your health insurance will begin on the first day of the month of the first semester of your program, and end on the last day of the month that your program ends.


For example:

Insurance cards will be mailed to the address listed in MyUT. If you need to use your health insurance before your card has arrived, please contact to request a temporary card. 

University Health Services (UHS) records will show that you are insured as soon as your insurance goes into effect. You do not need proof of health insurance to access care at UHS.


For information regarding your options for receiving health care services during your program, see the How to Use AcademicBlue Student Health Insurance page.

U.S. Citizens and U.S. Dual Citizens: You will NOT be automatically enrolled in UTSHIP. If you would like to be enrolled in UTSHIP during your exchange program, email

Get Involved

There are many ways to immerse yourself in, and share your culture with, the university and Austin community. We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved, make new friends and create lasting memories!


International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Sponsored Programs

ISSS offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year to help students become acclimated to their new home, make connections with other students and experience all that Austin has to offer. If you are looking to practice your English, connect with members of the Austin community, and explore other parts of Texas, view the Get Involved page.

UT Division of Student Affairs Sponsored Programs

The UT Division of Student Affairs provides programs and resources that empower students in achieving academic and co-curricular success. For programs and events hosted by the UT Division of Student Affairs, view the Getting Involved on Campus page.

Student Organizations

There are over 1,300 student organization on campus ranging from performing arts groups, to social organizations, to cultural affiliations. Visit HornsLink to view all the organizations and learn about their events.


Austin is a big city and there are many ways to get around.

UT Shuttle & Public Bus

  • Utilize the UT Shuttle System and CapMetro public bus system to get around campus and neighboring areas – FREE with your UT ID!

UT Student Bikes, E-Bikes and E-Scooters

UT Night Rides

  • UT Parking and Transportation offers a Lyft Rideshare Service to and from campus 7 days a week, 12-4 a.m. for all UT Austin students. To learn how to take advantage of this FREE service, visit UT Night Rides.

Private Ride Share Companies

Things to Do and Places to Visit