International Student & Scholar Services

Welcome to MTSU and International Student & Scholar Services. On these pages, you will find helpful information to assist you during your time at MTSU. You will also find information on upcoming events, as well as some downloadable documents to address many common issues. Feel free to return often or contact us if you need further assistance.

isss@mtsu.edu

Current Student Services - F-1 and J-1 Services

The International Student and Scholar Services office provides a number of services for current international students, please make note of the links at the bottom of this page.

Once accepted to the university, students are issued either an I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility. These documents are necessary when applying at an American consulate or embassy for an F-1 (I-20) or J-1 (DS-2019) non-immigrant visa. Visit the US State Departments website for more details.

The primary differences in F-1 and J-1 visas are:

  • J-1 students must be supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds, unless the exchange program is carried out pursuant to a written agreement between an American and foreign education institution or government.
  • F-1 students have no restrictions on the sources of funding.
  • J-1 students must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover the entire duration of their program of study.
  • F-1 students must demonstrate that they have funding for the first year, with the continued ability to access adequate funding.

Academic Issues

  • J-1 students are allowed to change to higher degree, but cannot move from one degree level to a lower degree, or from non-degree to degree seeking student.  They must also remain in the same field of study as listed on the DS-2019 used for entry to the US.
  • F-1 students have no restrictions on either changing degrees or fields of study.

Employment

  • J-1 students must have the authorization of their Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO), located in the MT Abroad office, Peck Hall 207, for all employment.
  • F-1 students need the authorization of their Designated School Official (DSO), located in the International Admission office, Peck Hall 208,for on-campus employment.  For other types of employment off-campus, they must have the authorization of their DSO. This will either be through filing for financial hardship, or CPT/OPT.

 The Grace Period After Study is Completed

  • J-1 students have 30 days.
  • F-1 students have 60 days.

 Dependents

  • J-2 dependents can apply for work authorization and can pursue a degree.
  • F-1 dependents can neither work nor pursue a degree.

The Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement

  • Certain J-1 students are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement. Contact MT Abroad for more information.
  • F-1 students are not subject to this requirement.

Events

Documents of Interest

Additional Information

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