Two-Year Home Residence Requirement

Certain J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors may be subject to the two-year home residency requirement. Exchange Visitors subject to this requirement are required to return to the home country for a period of two years upon completion of the J-1 program. Exchange Visitors may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement based on U.S. or home country government funding, a Exchange Visitor “Skills List,” or participation in graduate medical education. Those subject to the two-year residence requirement are not eligible to change to another immigration status within the United States and are not eligible for H-1B temporary worker status or Permanent Resident status until the 2-year rule has been fulfilled or waived.

Information regarding waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement can be found at the Department of State’s website.  ISSS cannot extend a student’s J-1 program to continue studying or for Academic Training after a waiver of the two year home residence requirement is granted. Before applying for a waiver of the two year home residence requirement, students should check with an ISSS advisor. Dependents in J-2 status are subject to the requirement so long as the primary J-1 is made subject.

Medical Insurance Requirement

All J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents are required to have sickness and accident insurance along with medical evacuation and repatriation insurance for the duration of their program in the U.S.  Failure to maintain medical insurance coverage is considered a violation of J-1 status.

Health Insurance Changes:

Effective May 15, 2015, the final Subpart A rule will change the insurance rates for exchange visitors at 22CFR62.14 as follows:

Minimum Coverage Requirements

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

J-1 students are required to show proof of insurance coverage for themselves and all accompanying family members in J-2 status within 14 days of check in with International Student and Scholar Services, when requesting a travel signature, or when submitting a program extension. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for additional information.

Any policy, plan or contract secured to fill the above requirements must, at a minimum be:

  • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-” or above, a Standard and Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A” or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above, or such other rating service as the Agency may from time to time specify; or
  • Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country; or
  • Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or
  • 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.

J-1 students and scholars will be required to show proof of insurance for themselves and any dependents in J-2 status at check-in, for a travel signature or for a program extension.

On-Campus Employment

Students in J-1 status are permitted to work on-campus at UNC-Chapel Hill up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (while classes are in session).  Students may work full-time (21 hours or more per week) during official University breaks or during the summer if they intend to enroll for the subsequent semester.

Students who accept employment are responsible for making sure that the employment is considered “on-campus.”

  • Jobs that qualify as On-Campus Employment:  Most positions in which students receive a UNC-CH paycheck.
  • Jobs that do NOT qualify as On-Campus Employment:  Positions at UNC Hospitals, the Carolina Inn, and most businesses located on Franklin Street.  Employment with these businesses and institutions is considered “off-campus employment” and requires off-campus work authorization.
  • J-1 students must receive written permission from the sponsor in order to work on-campus.

Procedure for on-campus employment

  • J-1 students must complete the J-1 on-campus employment request form to get written authorization to work on-campus prior to beginning work.
  • Bring a letter from the on-campus employer to ISSS before starting work. The letter should include a start date, position title, job description, employing department and should be on letterhead signed by the department.
  • Apply for a social security number through the Social Security Administration in Durham.

Students are not permitted to work off-campus without prior authorization. For more information on how to obtain off-campus work authorization, please see the different off-campus employment options.