Student Immigration Definitions

Obtaining J-1 Exchange Visitor
Student Category Status at Columbia

Transfer of J-1 Supervision

Change of Status to F-1

Potential Delays in Visa Issuance


Student Tax Information

Message for Canadian Students

Maintaining J-1 Status

DS-2019 Recertification

Health Insurance Overview for J-1 Students

J-1 Travel Information

DHS Information on Arrival Problems

J-1 Extension of Stay (Current Program)

J-1 Extension of Stay to Begin New Program


J-1 Work Opportunities

J-1 On-Campus Work Request

J-1 Academic Training

Employment Authorization for J-2

J-1 Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal

Student Departure Information

Home Country Residency Requirement

Reduced Course Load Request

Address Change Form

Off-Campus Work Based on Financial Need for Students in J-1 Status


Off-campus work permission for J-1 students is available only under unusual financial circumstances because, in order to qualify for your initial J-1 visa to come to Columbia, you had to present financial documentation showing that your expenses would be covered. You must document that financial changes have occurred since your arrival in the U.S. that severely and urgently affect your financial resources. With ISSO permission, you may work up to twenty hours a week during the academic year and fulltime during the summer and vacation periods.

To apply, you must have been in J-1 status for at least one full academic year and must be a degree candidate in good academic standing. In your application, you must establish and document the unforeseen changes that have severely affected your financial resources.

It is very important that you consider carefully any other options available to you, such as work on campus or loans. You should also inquire at the ISSO about academic training. For information on loans, see your financial aid office.

You should be aware that your application for work permission may have an impact on your eligibility to obtain travel documents as these documents normally require that you show sufficient funds to cover your expenses. Before making plans to leave the country, make sure you discuss your situation with an ISSO advisor.


Procedure - Submit to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) the documentation listed below.  

  1. Completed financial worksheet (see below)
  2. A letter explaining the unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances that arose since your entry into the United States. It is also very important that you explain why your parent, relative, organization, or other sponsor listed on your DS-2019 is unable to furnish the additional funds needed to cover your expenses. Please be specific.
  3. Documentation of the unforeseen changes explained above (e.g., medical bills, letter revoking scholarship, drastic drop in your currency's exchange rate, etc.)

The International Students and Scholars Office will review your application for eligibility, and, if you are eligible, provide you with a letter of authorization

Once you receive the authorization letter you may work at any off - campus job for up to twenty hours a week during the academic year and fulltime during vacation periods. Authorization ends when the need for employment ceases, when you cease to be in J-1 status, or when you transfer from one school to another.




Please indicate your expenses and funding sources for the current academic year of nine months plus the three month vacation break if you will be in the U.S. Remember to attach a written statement explaining your financial circumstances and copies of documents for any unusual expenses you have incurred.


 Applicant's (J-1) name:
 Applicant's Signature:
 Name of other household members (if any):
 When did you first enter the U.S.?
 When did your family join you in the U.S.? (month/year)
 Have any of your dependents applied for J-2 work permission?
 If yes, has J-2 work permission been granted?




  Type of Expense

 Yourself (J-1)

 Rest of Household

Tuition & Fees
Utilities (gas, electric, phone)
Child Care
Books & Supplies
Laundry/Cleaning, Personal
Other (Please specify):
Expense Totals


Student's Personal Funds
Family Funds from Abroad
University Funding
Employment, if applicable
U.S. government
Home government
Other Sources (Please specify):
Funding Totals
Minus Combined Expense Totals

Last Reviewed:22 February 2011 Last modified: 22 February 2011
International Students and Scholars Office
Columbia University