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Global Engagement

Information for Administrators

This document provides information for Clemson faculty and administrators concerning F-1 and J-1 students, exchange visitors and international visitors.

The following topics are covered:

  • What is an F-1/J-1 international student?
  • Departmental considerations when working with F-1/J-1 students
  • J-1 exchange visitors
  • How to sponsor an exchange visitor
  • Exchange visitor arrival on campus
  • International visitors at Clemson University

F-1 and J-1 International Students

The basic definition of an international student is "an alien having residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study...at an established...university." (INA Sec. 101(a)(15)(F)) For our purposes, we can define an international student as an individual who is not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident who has been admitted to Clemson University for the purpose of obtaining a degree prior to returning to their home country.

At Clemson University, a large percentage of our international student population falls into one of two non-immigrant statuses: F-1 and J-1.

The F-1 student status is a non-immigrant program that falls under the jurisdiction of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and is the status granted to the majority of international students in the US. When an international student is admitted to Clemson University, International Services (IS) reviews the admissions information and supporting materials (e.g. financial support documents) to determine if the student meets the eligibility requirements to be issued a Form I-20.

The J-1 (known as the Exchange Visitor Program) student status is a non-immigrant program that falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of State (DOS). This status counts for a small percentage of the international student population at Clemson University as it is limited to Exchange Students participating in an academic exchange with a foreign institution through the Office of International Affairs. This status is for a non-degree student from an international partner institution conducting research, or an individual who is financially sponsored by the government of the US or their home country, or a non-governmental organization.

Departmental Considerations When Working with F-1/J-1 Students

On-Campus Employment: International students in F-1 or J-1 status are permitted to engage in on-campus employment as long as they have been maintaining their non-immigrant status. During the academic year, Fall and Spring semesters, international students are limited to a maximum of 20 hours of on-campus employment per week. During the rest of the year, winter/spring/summer break, international students may work above 20 hours per week as long as they have pre-registered for the next term.

All on-campus employment by internationals must be cleared by the OIA's International Employment and Taxation and the necessary paperwork processed before the first day on the job. For information on obtaining on-campus employment clearance, please visit the International Employment and Taxation section of this website.

Off-Campus Employment: International students are eligible for off-campus employment after their first academic year as a full-time student. Off-campus employment for F-1 students is in the form of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Off-campus employment for J-1 students is in the form of Academic Training (AT). All off-campus employment must involve a position/responsibilities that are directly related to the student's field of study. Students interested in obtaining authorization for off-campus employment must contact International Services.

Full-Time Registration: International students are required to maintain full-time registration during the Fall and Spring terms. Failure to do so can result in the termination of their international student status and, if eligible, requires a request for reinstatement to be made to the USCIS. If an international student wishes to drop below full-time, please have them meet with an international student advisor at IS prior to making any changes in their course load. Full-time registration is not required during the Summer terms (unless required by the academic program), or during the student's last academic term. Graduate students completing a thesis/project/dissertation may register for one thesis hour only after they have met all of their credit hour requirements to maintain status. Please note, the one credit hour allows the student in this situation to maintain their non-immigrant status. Additional credit hours may be required to maintain an assistantship.  Students who are registering for fewer than full-time hours must request authorization for a Reduced Course Load by submitting Form IS-125 to IS at the beginning of each semester that they are under-enrolled.

Extension of Status: An international student in F-1 or J-1 status may extend their stay in the US if  the student is making normal academic progress towards their degree and there is a legitimate academic/medical reason for the extension. Necessity due to academic suspension or probation does not qualify. For information on how a student extends their status in the US.

J-1 Exchange Visitors (Short-term Scholars/Research Scholars/Professors/Specialists)

What is a J-1 Exchange Visitor? The US Department of State (DOS) administers the J Exchange Visitor category to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. The overall purpose of that Act, and the objective of the Exchange Visitor category, is "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges." (NAFSA Advisors Manual).

Individuals coming to the US as Exchange Visitors enter the country in a variety of categories set by the US Department of State. Currently, Clemson University is authorized to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors in the following categories: Student, Non-Degree Student, Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar, Professor, and Specialist. See definitions below. 

J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories at Clemson University (Including non-degree-seeking students)

Short-Term Scholar: An individual sponsored by a Clemson department to join the University as a short-term scholar enters the US for a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or instructing in special skills. This category has a maximum stay of six months. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.

Research Scholar: An individual sponsored by a Clemson department to join the University for the purpose of conducting research, observing, or consulting on a research project. A Research Scholar may also teach or lecture at the discretion of the sponsor. This category has a maximum stay of five years. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.

Professor: An individual sponsored by a Clemson department to join the University for the purpose of teaching or lecturing. A Professor may conduct research at the discretion of the sponsor. This category has a maximum stay of five years. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.

Specialist: A specialist is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge/skill that is sponsored by a Clemson department for the purpose of observing, consulting, or demonstrating the special knowledge or skill. This category has a maximum stay of one year. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.

Non-Degree Student: In some cases, Clemson University will issue a DS-2019 to an international to enter the US as a non-degree student for the purpose of conducting research for a degree in their home country. Individuals who are eligible for this Exchange Visitor category are participants in an academic exchange program between Clemson University and a foreign academic institution, or through a Memorandum of Understanding between the schools. There is a 24 month maximum stay for non-degree students.

How to Sponsor an Exchange Visitor at Clemson University

University departments wishing to invite an individual to Clemson as a J-1 Exchange Visitor may do so by submitting a completed application packet to International Service (IS).

The following form should be completed to sponsor a J-1 Exchange Visitor in the Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar, Professor or Specialist category: 

The form above may also be used to extend the status of a J-1 Exchange Visitor in the Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar, Professor or Specialist category.

The following form should be completed to sponsor a J-1 Exchange Visitor in the Non-Degree Student category, for the purpose of required research are:

Please review the application materials carefully and forward the appropriate documents to the individual you wish to invite to Clemson University. When completing the application materials, please provide as much information as possible so IS may correctly enter the information into the SEVIS system.  Each request form has a checklist of documents required for issuance of immigration documents. Payment of a one-time $150.00 service fee is required at the time of submission of the application.

When the application materials have been submitted, IS will review the information to determine if the individual is eligible to enter the US as a J-1 Exchange Visitor. If the individual and the department meet the requirements, a Form DS-2019 will be processed to assist in the application for a J-1 visa at a US Embassy/Consulate.

PLAN AHEAD: It is very important to plan ahead when considering inviting an individual to Clemson as a J-1 Exchange Visitor. When submitting the application materials, please include a realistic start date for the J-1's visit. In most cases, a start date of at least 90 days in the future should be requested to allow for shipping documents, visa application processing, and any security/background checks the individual may be subject to.

When the DS-2019 has been processed, your office will be notified by IS that the document is ready for pick up. If you have submitted a pre-paid express mail service label with your application, IS will ship the DS-2019 and support materials to the Exchange Visitor. If your department is financially sponsoring the Exchange Visitor, please remember to send them an original offer letter, including salary information, to assist in their visa application.

When the Exchange Visitor receives the DS-2019 from Clemson, they will then need to set an appointment to apply for a J-1 visa at the US Embassy/Consulate closest to them. A list of US missions can be found by visiting: http://usembassy.state.gov/ . In addition to setting the appointment for the visa application, the Exchange Visitor will be required to pay the SEVIS Fee at least three business days prior to their visit to the Visa Office (embassy/consulate). Information, and payment options, for the SEVIS Fee may be found at http://www.FMJFee.com.

Please note, all applicants for visas to the US are subject to a background check. Should a delay in the issuance of the visa occur due to this check, please notify IS so we may update the Exchange Visitor program dates if necessary. IS cannot act on the behalf of the individual should a security check delay the issuance of the visa. New J-1 Exchange Visitors may enter the US up to 30 days prior to the start of their program at Clemson University. This information is sent to the J-1 with the documents from our office so they may plan their travel to Clemson accordingly. Entering the US prior to this period may result in denial of admission to the country and a required return to their home country.

If the J-1 notifies you of a late arrival, they may enter the US up to 30 days following the start of their program. Please contact IS should this situation occur or if the J-1 notifies you of a late arrival.

Considerations When Sponsoring an Exchange Visitor

"Two-Year Rule": In certain cases, individuals entering the US in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Status may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (also known as 212(e)). The Exchange Visitor will remain subject to the rule until they have resided and been physically present in the home country/country of last residence for a period of two years.

While IS cannot guarantee to whom the rule will be applied, in most cases, Exchange Visitors in the following circumstances are subject:

  1. Exchange Visitors whose program was financed by the US or home country government.
  2. If the skills the Exchange Visitor is coming to develop are in a field that are needed in the home country (as determined by the home country government).  You can reference the 2009 Revised Exchange Visitor Skill List for more information about this. 

Until the requirement is met or waived, individuals who are subject to the two-year rule are ineligible for an immigrant visa or Permanent Residency, sponsorship for H-1B status, or a change of non-immigrant status within the US.

In the last case, a J-1 subject to the rule may depart the US and return in a new Exchange Visitor category or F-1 student, however the requirement will still apply.

The two-year rule may be waived through submission of an application to the Exchange Visitor's embassy or consulate. Please note, as this process involves the governments of the US and the home country, expect a lengthy review process.

24-Month Bar: With the recent change to the Exchange Visitor Program by the US Department of State permitting the stays of J-1 Research Scholars and Professors to extend their status to a maximum of five years, a 24 month bar on repeat participation has gone into effect.

If the Exchange Visitor completes a full five years of Exchange Visitor Program participation, or completes program participation before a period of five years is over, the Research Scholar or Professor will not be able to return to the US as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a period of 24 months.

Please note, this should not be considered to be the same as the "two-year" rule (explained above) and only applies to J-1 Exchange Visitors who enter the US in the Research Scholar or Professor category.

When the Exchange Visitor Arrives on Campus

Once the Exchange Visitor has arrived and settled in, please have them visit International Services to check-in. Our office is located in Room E-307 Martin Hall ( Campus map). The Exchange Visitor will need to bring their DS-2019, passport, visa, I-94 card (obtained at the US Port-of-Entry), and proof of health insurance ( Form IS-206) that meets Department of State standards (click here for more information about DOS standards). While we make copies of these documents, the J-1 will complete an informational sheet so we may update our records. Please remember that Exchange Visitors must take this very important step in maintaining their immigration status in the US. 

Employment and Taxation

If your Exchange Visitor is receiving financial support from the University, they must complete the required Payroll and taxation paperwork upon their arrival. Please note, if you are supporting your Exchange Visitor with housing, insurance, etc., but not a salary, they are still required to complete payroll and taxation documents. For more information, please visit the International Employment and Taxation section of this website.

US Social Security Number

J-1 Exchange Visitors who are not students may eligible for a US Social Security Number (SSN). To be eligible to apply for a SSN, you will need a written offer of employment from a U.S. employer and have the necessary documents to prove legal authorization to work in the United States.  Information on the application process for a SSN will be provided to you upon your check-in with International Services.  The Social Security Administration is the agency that ultimately determines whether or not a J-1 Exchange Visitor is eligible for a SSN. 

Clemson University Identification Number (CUID)/Phonebook Entry

If the Exchange Visitor is receiving financial support in the form of a salary from the sponsoring department, the department is responsible for entering the J-1's information into the PeopleSoft/Phonebook system. This entry will generate the Exchange Visitor's CUID as well as UserID. While the CUID is usually provided instantaneously, please allow 24 hours for the UserID to appear in the phonebook.

If the Exchange Visitor is not receiving financial support from the sponsoring department, IS will enter the J-1's information into the PeopleSoft/Phonebook systems to generate the CUID and UserId. To allow accurate information to be entered into the PeopleSoft/Phonebook systems, IS will enter the Exchange Visitor's information after they have checked in with our office and met with an advisor. The following day, to allow for University-wide updates to occur, the J-1 will be provided a support letter from IS with their CUID and a request to the Tiger 1 Card office to process an identification card for the Exchange Visitor.

If you have an international visitor who is not a J-1 Exchange Visitor, please see the International Visitors section below for information on obtaining a CUID/Tiger 1 Card.

International Visitors at Clemson University

International visitors may be provided with access to the computer network, use of library and research facilities with the issuance of a temporary Tiger 1 Card, depending on the agreement with the visitor’s sponsoring department.  An international visitor to Clemson University is any individual who has been invited to campus by a department for non-degree, university related activities such as:  meetings, conferences, courses, sabbatical research, program development, training, camps, sports, and arts.  International visitors are not provided immigration documents by IS to enter the US.

To obtain a temporary Tiger1 Card for an international visitor, the sponsoring department should complete the International Visitor/Guest Registry Form and submit it to International Services (IS) with a copy of the invitation letter provided to the affiliate. 

The information will be entered into the university system (PeopleSoft) by IS.  A user identification number is generated immediately.  The Tiger 1 Card Office and Parking Services will review the information shortly after entered by IS.

Following the international visitor’s initial visit to IS (E-307 Martin Hall), he/she will be emailed an “International Visitor Tiger 1 Card Request Letter”.  The visitor will then go to the Tiger 1 Card Office to request their card.  The card will show the business title, name, identification number, host, department number, contact number and expiration date. 

The “International Visitor Tiger 1 Card” will permit the visitor access to a number of University resources such as use of the library, Fike Recreation Center, and Clemson email.  Access to University buildings will be granted based on the mail drop information provided by the sponsoring department.  If access to multiple buildings is required, please make note of the buildings on the “International Visitor/Guest Registry Form”.

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