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Most international students attend UNC-Chapel Hill in F-1 immigration status.  J-1 Student Exchange Visitor status may only be requested if required due to the terms of a scholarship or fellowship.


F-1 Immigration Status J-1 Immigration Status
Work Authorization F-1 Immigration StatusJ-1 Immigration Status Can be employed on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic semester and full-time during the summer and school holidays. Eligible students may apply for off-campus work authorization (curricular or optional practical training or employment authorization due to severe economic hardship) only after one full academic year in F-1 status. Can be employed on-campus (with written authorization of  the sponsor of the J-1 program) up to 20 hours per week during the academic semester and full-time during the summer and school holidays. Students may apply for off-campus work authorization if they meet certain strict regulatory requirements for Academic training, or in rare cases for severe economic hardship.
Dependents F-2 dependents are NOT allowed to work in the US. J-2 dependents may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for work authorization after arrival in the U.S.  J-1 visa holder must also maintain health insurance for themselves and all dependents for the duration of their stay. More information is located here.
Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement Not applicable. J-1 exchange visitors may be subject to a two-year home country residence requirement.

Additional information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the two-year home country residence requirement is available on the Department of State’s website.