F-1 and J-1 Student Comparison
Most international students at UNL hold the F-1 immigration status unless they are part of an exchange visitor program (J-1 immigration status) or hold an immigration status that is dependent on a parent or spouse (H-4, J-2, F-2)
The J-1 status is part of a larger U.S. Department of State mission to foster cultural and educational exchange between countries. Students with only personal or family funding are NOT eligible for J-1 status. There are a few basic differences between the F-1 and J-1 statuses, which are outlined in the chart below.
|F-1 Status||J-1 Status|
|Source of Funding||
Can be funded through personal funds, scholarships or sponsors. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funding to cover one year’s tuition and living expenses.
|At UNL, a student must be part of an official exchange visitor program or funded by their home country government with a requirement to be in the J immigration status to be eligible to come in the exchange visitor (J status). You sponsor must demonstrate that there is sufficient funding to cover the length of your program of study.|
|On Campus Employment||Part time (up to 20 hours/week) when school is in session, and more than 20 hours/week during official University breaks. Please check with your employing department to determine their restrictions.||Part time (up to 20 hours/week) when school is in session, and more than 20 hours/week during official University breaks. Please check with your employing department to determine their restrictions. Prior permission must be obtained from ISSO.|
|Off Campus Employment||
Optional Practical Training (OPT) - up to 12 month period per degree level. Training must be directly related to their major. No job offer required prior to application.
OPT STEM Extension- additional 24 month period after approved OPT period. Employment must be directly related to earned STEM degree. Employment offer and training plan with E-verify employer required.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)- training during your studies that is directly related to the program of study - requires enrollment in a course that is required/integral for your program of study.
|Academic Training – Duration equal to length of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. PhD graduates are eligible for an additional 18 months (or length of study). Graduating students must have job offer that starts within 30 days of completion of the program of study. Employment experience must be directly related to the program of study.|
F-2 dependents are not eligible for employment.
F-2 dependents are allowed to study part time.
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to USCIS for permission to work in the US after their arrival.
J-2 dependents are allowed to study part time or full time.
|Requirement to Return Home upon program completion||Non-immigrant intent visa; must prove strong ties to the home country. No requirement to return home upon program completion.||Non-immigrant intent visa; must prove strong ties to the home country. Some Exchange Visitors and their dependents may be subject to the two year home country physical presence (212(e)) requirement upon program completion.|
|Change to Another Visa Status||Can request a change of status to another immigration classification.||Not eligible to change to another immigration status in the United States if you are subject to two year home country physical presence requirement.|
|Change of Major (Program of Study)||No restriction.||Program objective must remain consistent.|
|Change of Education Level||No restriction.||
Cannot move from non-degree to degree-seeking, or vice versa.
Cannot change to lower degree level (i.e. PhD to Masters)
|Transfer to Another U.S. Institution||No restrictions||Program objective (field of study) must be consistent.|
|Bar to J-1 Scholar Status||None||Students (and their dependents) in the J-1 immigration status who are completing an academic program will be subject to a 12 month bar before they are able to use the J-1 research scholar/professor category.|
For more information on J-1 Scholar categories, click here.
Adapted from Univeristy of Wisconsin Madison: https://iss.wisc.edu/f-1-j-1-comparison-2/