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International On Campus

Guidelines for J-1 Students

A J-1 student visa allows you to participate in study-based exchange programs in the United States. If you are studying in a language and/or academic program at WSU on a J-1 visa, you must comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of State, as well as university requirements.

Enrollment Requirements

J-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status.

In certain situations, you can request to drop below a full course load. (For instance, in your last semester before graduation, when working on a dissertation, or in qualifying emergencies.)

Inform WSU of Any Change in Program

Your Form DS-2019 must accurately reflect your current status as a student. You are responsible for keeping it up-to-date. If you change your academic program in any way, please let WSU know.

Your DS-2019 will need to be changed and updated if you anticipate any of the following:

  • Change of Major
  • Graduating from your Academic Program
  • Change of Level (e.g., from undergraduate to graduate study)
  • Extending your J-1 Immigration Status
  • Dropping below Full-Time Enrollment
  • Cancelling Enrollment
  • Traveling Outside the United States

Check the detailed status requirements to be sure you follow proper procedure and meet U.S. government requirements.

J-1 status requirements


If you will be traveling outside the United States while your J-1 visa is in effect, you will need to follow certain procedures.

Travel information

Change of Address

If you move to a new local residence, you must update your address within 10 days of your move. Your new address will be sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security automatically via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Update your address

Medical Insurance

Washington State University recommends you have medical insurance for you and any dependents you bring with you. WSU will automatically enroll you in its international Student Health Insurance Program (iSHIP), but you will need to purchase separate coverage for anyone else who comes with you.

Minimum Coverage Requirements

Below are insurance requirements for international students and families as of January 1, 2015. Your iSHIP enrollment covers you. Each accompanying dependent must be covered by insurance in the same amounts.

  • Medical Benefits of at Least $100,000 per Accident or Illness
  • Repatriation of Remains in the Amount of $25,000
  • Medical Evacuation $50,000
  • A Deductible not to Exceed $500 per Accident or Illness

Policy Requirements

To ensure reliability, the policy you choose should meet one of the following requirements. The iSHIP policy meets these requirements for you.

  • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having one of the following ratings:
    • M. Best Rating of “A-“or Above
    • Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-I”’ or Above
    • Standard and Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“or Above
    • Weiss Research, Inc. Rating of B+ or Above
    • Other Rating as the Department of State may from Time to Time Specify
  • Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of your home country
  • Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor
  • Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Finding the Policy That is Right for Your Dependents

Evaluate different insurance products to find one that best suits your dependents’ circumstances.

If you have questions about the WSU iSHIP policy, please contact WSU Health and Wellness.

Take the Medical Insurance Requirement Seriously

Willfully failing to maintain required insurance coverage is a violation of the law. Your participation in the exchange visitor program could be terminated as a consequence.


If you have questions about the insurance requirement, contact an advisor in International Programs Global Services.

Contact Advisor


For quick questions, stop by Bryan Hall Room 206.

Monday: 1 – 3 p.m.

Tuesday: 1 – 3 p.m.

Wednesday: 1 – 3 p.m.

Thursday: 1 – 3 p.m.

Friday: 1 – 3 p.m.

To schedule an appointment for personal advising, call 509-335-4508.

International Student Portal

The Washington State University Office of International Programs Global Services Department now offers many of its services online. International students can conveniently request new I-20s/DS-2019s, Reduced Course Loads, Optional Practical Training, Visa Support Letters, and many more services through our online portal. Students may still meet in person by appointment or coming in during walk-in hours of 1 – 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday in Bryan Hall 206.

Email Advisories

The Office of International Programs will email you important reminders and immigration updates on Thursdays throughout the academic year. If you are not receiving these messages, please contact International Programs’ Global Services department to verify your correct email address.

Health Care Services

WSU Health and Wellness Services (HWS) provides low-cost medical services for minor illnesses and injuries. The clinic is located in the Washington Building on Stadium Way.

Extracurricular Activities

Get involved through volunteer opportunities, cultural sharing, and student government and organizations.

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