J-1 Student Maintaining Status


If you encounter an E-Form access issue and have tried accessing the E-form in multiple web browsers, please email iss[at]umass[dot]edu

Click here for International Student Orientation Immigration Presentation

Address Updates

Per regulations, you must have a U.S. physical address (where you live) in SPIRE at all times. Since you are required to be in-person* at UMass Amherst, the expectation is that your physical address is within a reasonable commuting distance to campus.

You must update your physical address in SPIRE no later than 10 days after moving. The physical address in SPIRE will be sent to your immigration record.

If you need assistance updating your physical address in SPIRE, please review this video for a step by step process and overcoming common errors.

If you do not currently have a physical address in SPIRE, please add one.

Correct U.S. Address Format

Address Field 1 123 Main St
Address Field 2 Apt 4B (do not put the apartment name in your address)
City Town or city name
State State name
Zip Code 5 numbers specific to your address

*PhD or Masters thesis students who have finished all in person course work and are just enrolled in dissertation/thesis credits or continuous enrollment have more flexible in person requirements.

Full-Time Status

U.S. Immigration regulations require that all international students enroll in classes each term (fall and spring) and maintain a full-time course of study. Consult the IPO if you cannot meet this requirement, are planning to withdraw, or choose to audit credits as this may put you below full-time. 

Full-Time Status is defined as follows:

  • Undergraduate level = Minimum of 12 credits per term 
  • Graduate level = Minimum of 9 credits per term (exceptions may apply-see below.)

Online class regulation: Only ONE (1) online class per term can be used to count toward the minimum number of credits needed for full-time enrollment. If you only need 1 course to complete your program of study, the course cannot be online or distance learning.

Please make sure you follow the full-time enrollment requirement. Failure to follow these regulations will impact and possibly end your immigration status.


All students must obtain permission from the IPO before dropping below full-time status. Documentation is required for all cases, unless otherwise indicated.

Medical Condition or Illness

A medical condition or illness that supports a reduction in course load (a written recommendation from UHSCCPH, or Disability Services is required). You can be enrolled in as few as zero (0) credits and remain in the U.S. This option is only available for 12 calendar months each degree level. The letter must include your name, date of birth, that a reduced course load is medically recommended, and the term the Reduced Course Load is recommended. This letter should be on the office's letter head, dated, and signed by the appropriate medical staff member (a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist) per federal regulations. The IPO cannot accept letters that do not meet the requirements above.

Letters with a medical diagnosis will NOT be accepted and you will need to acquire an updated letter with the medical diagnosis removed due to privacy regulations. 

Last Term at UMass

If it is your last term and you are graduating from UMass Amherst and you need fewer than the full-time course load noted above. If you only need 1 course to complete your program of study, the course cannot be online or distance learning. No other documentation is required if you submit your request following the Reduced Course Load Request process below.

Bona Fide Academic Reason

Student must present a written statement from the academic dean or advisor recommending the student to reduce his or her academic load to less than a full course of study due to an academic reason. You must provide a letter from your academic/faculty advisor indicating the term you need the Reduced Course Load, which course(s) you need to drop, the reason(s) why you need to drop it, and how many credits you will be enrolled in after your drop these courses. This letter must be on UMass letterhead and signed by your advisor. 

Academic Training

If you are currently participating in an authorized academic training, you may not need a full-time course load. Graduate students should ask their department for a full-time override.  

Requesting a Reduced Course Load

Please submit a  Reduced Course Load Request with any required documentation for your IPO advisor to review. Please allows 10-12 business days processing time.  

GRADUATE LEVEL STUDENTS ONLY: Consult your academic department regarding the possibility of a full-time override instead of a Reduced Course Load Request. A full-time override allows you to be full-time at UMass and enrolled in less than 9 credits if you meet your department’s policies.

DS-2019 Extensions, Major Changes, etc.

All students should be making satisfactory academic progress in their degree programs. If you need additional time to complete your degree requirements, changed your major, or need other changes to your immigration document, please follow the instructions below: 

  • Graduate Students: Speak to your academic advisor/Graduate Program Director to request a statute of limitation extension. 

  • Undergraduate Students: Please refer to the Undergraduate Registrar's website

Once this information is updated in SPIRE, pleasefill out this  E-Form. DS-2019 approval emails occasionally go into your Spam/Junk folder. Please check this folder if 10-12 business days have passed and you have not received the approval email yet. 

It is the student’s responsibility to report any changes to your statute of limitation/graduation date to IPO. You must submit your DS-2019 extension request BEFORE your current DS-2019 expires. We cannot extend it after your DS-2019 expires.

Change to Another Immigration Status

If you are changing your status from an F-1, J-1,  etc. to an H-1b, Permanent Resident, etc. please submit this information using the Change of Status E-Form. The IPO will update SPIRE and your SEVIS record as needed. 

**If you are no longer a student at UMass and you are on OPT, AT, etc. when you change your status, your NENS access to UMass systems (access to UMass email, UMass VIP, etc.) will be deactivated 30 days after your new change of status begins. Please plan accordingly.