Immigration Advising

The Office of International Programs and Services provides immigration education, advising and support to Pittsburg State University students, scholars and their families. Please refer to the resources below for more information.

To schedule an advising appointment, email or call 620-235-4680.

F-1 Students
  • Staying in Status on F-1 Visa
  • Full course of Study
  • Reduced Course Load
  • Program Extension
  • Change of Status
  • Student Employment (CPT & OPT)

Based on federal statue {8C.F.R 214.2 (f)(6)}, international students are required to enroll in a full course of study during the academic year (Fall and Spring semesters). Full-time study is 9 credit hours for graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduate students. In certain circumstances, international students can get permission to study less than full time. Reduced course loads are not available because of financial need or to protect a GPA.

Deviation Form (Reduced Course Load)

In certain circumstances, international students can get permission to study less than full time. Reduced course loads are not available because of financial need or to protect a GPA.

Deviation Form (Reduced Course Load)

At times, students and exchange visitors may wish to change their non-immigrant visa status to best meet their educational or personal goals. If your change of status is approved, you will not get a new visa but a new status. You then get all the benefits of the new status, and you must follow all of the requirements of the new status.
J-1 Exchange Students & Visitors
  • Staying in Status on a J-1 Visa
  • Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
  • Full Course of Study Requirement
  • Change of Program
  • Dependents
  • Program Extension
  • Student Employment
  • Academic Training
  • Duration of Status and Early Departures

Acronyms Used
RO - Responsible Office
ARO - Alternate Responsible Officer
SEVIS - Student & Exchange Visitor Information System

Your program sponsor is listed in section 2 of your DS-2019.

Do not let your DS-2019 expire. The expiration date is found in section 3 of your DS-2019.

If you are required to go through "Special Registration", comply with all rules associated with Special Registration.

  • Keep your passport valid at all times.
  • Carry your I-94 at all times.
  • Carry health insurance throughout your entire J-1 program for yourself and any J-2 dependents.
  • Only engage in the program as described in section 4 of your DS-2019.
  • Enroll at the school as indicated on your DS-2019 within 30 days of the report date on the DS-2019 (section 3) and within 20 days of the start of classes every semester thereafter.
  • Maintain and complete a full course of study each academic term except during official school breaks and annual vacations.
  • Before withdrawing from a course, or under enrolling for an allowable reason such as a medical problem or final term of a degree, obtain approval from your RO/ARO.
  • Get a new DS-2019 within 10 days of any change in name, degree level, or program sponsor.
  • When changing program sponsors (even between degree levels) be certain the old program sponsor enters the program number of the new sponsor and a release date in SEVIS before your current stay expires. Upon receipt of the new sponsor's SEVIS DS-2019, sign the Exchange Visitor Certification and report to the new sponsor within 30 days of the new report date.
  • Report any change of name or address to your program sponsor, IPSO, and the registrar's office within 10 days of the change. If subject to Special Registration, also notify USCIS within 10 days of the change on Form AR-11SR (
  • Never work on or off campus without prior written approval from the RO/ARO designated by your program sponsor.
  • Do not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, if granted employment authorization for on-campus and /or severe economic hardship.
  • You must have a valid SEVIS DS-2019 if your are applying for a new visa.
  • Do not spend an entire semester out of the U.S. without obtaining a new DS-2019 to present at the port-of-entry when re-entering the U.S.

Some J-1 students are subject to this requirement and some are not. Students receiving direct funding from the U.S. Government or their home government will be subject. There is also a Skills List, established between the U.S. government and the individual student's home government. Students studying a skill on the list for their country will be subject to the requirement. Those individuals who are subject must return home for two years before they can apply for permanent residence, an H visa, or an L visa. If subject to the two years, exchange visitors cannot apply for any type of change of status from within the U.S. Waivers of this requirement are possible. If the J-1 student is subject to the two years, all J-2 dependents are subject as well. For further information about the waiver process, refer to the U.S. Department of State's web site:

Degree-Seeking Students

J-1 students must pursue a full course of study each fall and spring semester. There are a FEW exceptions, such as for a medical problem or a student's final term. In these circumstances, the student must first get approval from the RO/ARO* designated by the programs sponsor.

Non-Degree-Seeking Students

The student is required to be engaged full time in a prescribed course of study not to exceed 24 months.

Generally speaking, deviation from one's program objective (Item #4 on the DS-2019) is not allowed. The major can generally only be changed if it is CLOSELY related to the original major. For example, changing from Pre-Business to Business is acceptable. A student can change program levels as long as the student continues to study in the same field.

J-2 dependents can take classes that are avocational or recreational. They cannot study full time unless the J-2 is a child in elementary or secondary school. J-2's can request employment authorization through USCIS (formerly INS). Any change in address or name of a J-2 dependent requires notification to the ARO/Ro designated by the program sponsor.

Students can request an extension from the RO/ARO if they need extra time to complete their original program objective. Extensions cannot be granted if a recommendation for a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement has been received from the U.S. Department of State.

Degree-seeking students must pursue a full course of study and maintain satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program to request an extension. Non-degree-seeking students must be participating full time in a prescribed course of study and be maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program to request an extension.

All work authorization must be received in writing from RO/ARO designated by the Program sponsor (#2 on the DS-20109) prior to employment. Students may apply to Work part-time (20 hours or less a week) if one of the following three types of Employment applies:

  1. It is pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship
  2. It occurs on-campus
  3. It occurs off-campus because of a serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstance.

The student must be in good academic standing and must continue to engage in a full course of study. Employment can be more than 20 hours per week when school is not in session. The approval may be valid up to 12 months, but it is automatically withdrawn if the student's program is terminated.

Students are eligible to apply for employment authorization (academic training) that is directly related to their major during or after the completion of their studies through the RO/ARO designated by the program sponsor. Most degree-seeking students are eligible for 18 months of academic training, whether before or after completion of studies. The total training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in the full course of study.


All J-1 students should be admitted to the U.S. for "duration of status" - meaning they do not have a specific departure date on their I-94, but rather "D/S". This means they may stay in the U.S. as long as they are maintaining their J-1 student status. In addition, J-1 students have a 30-day period after the completion of their program to prepare to depart the U.S. Students cannot work during this 30-day period.


Any time the exchange visitor completes the program more than 30 days prior to the completion date on the DS-2019, the program sponsor must be notified.