International Student and Scholar Services


Exchange Students

While a myriad of rules and regulations apply to J-1 exchange students, St. Cloud State University offers assistance and resources to make the process easier for visiting students.


On-campus employment


J-1 students must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for on-campus employment and must request permission from Center for International Studies before working on-campus

  • Employment must not exceed 20 hours/week while school is in session even if the student holds more than one job. 
  • Employment may be 40 hours (+) per week during vacations/breaks, providing the student will continue to be a full-time student the term following the break.
  • Employment is terminated upon the end of the exchange program semester. 

Social Security

  • Our Social Security site provides information on getting a Social Security number, reporting employment income and eligibility and procedures for working without a Social Security number.


  • International students are subject to state and federal taxes but are exempt from Medicare and Social Security taxes (if the student has not been in the U.S. for more than five years).

On-campus employment opportunities:

Academic training employment

Academic training is work, training or experience related to a student’s field of study. Appropriate activities vary depending the discipline.

Academic training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers, U.S. or foreign, provided the application and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity, and the time limits are not exceeded.


The student:
  • Is primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in academic training.
  • Is participating in academic training that is directly related to their major field of study at the post-secondary accredited academic institution listed on their DS-2019.
  • Maintains J-1 status and is in good academic standing.
  • Receives written approval in advance from a Center for International Studies advisor for the duration and type of academic training.


  • Before completion of your degree, academic training can be part-time or full-time.
    • Part-time employment is allowed while classes are in session.
    • Full-time employment is only allowed during a vacation period.
  • After completion of your degree, academic training can be full-time.
    • The student must begin employment no later than 30 days following the completion of the program.
    • The student's DS-2019 must be valid for the duration of academic training.
    • Requests for extension of DS-2019 due to academic training require a written job offer, proof of insurance coverage and proof of funding during the extension period.

Application procedures

To apply the student must:

  • Meet with their academic advisor/faculty advisor/internship coordinator to verify eligibility for academic training.
  • Request a letter from the prospective employer on the company’s letterhead that must include:
    • name, address and contact information of employer/site supervisor.
    • description of work to be performed.
    • start and end dates of employment/appointment.
    • number of hours to be worked per week.
  • Meet with their academic advisor/faculty advisor/internship coordinator to complete the academic training application.
  • Return the academic training form and letter from their employer to the Center of International Studies for processing.
  • Allow five full business days for processing and review of documents by an advisor at Center of International Studies and authorization of the training in SEVIS.
  • Wait to begin work until a new DS-2019 stating the terms of the training is issued.

Key points

  • Academic training applications must be submitted to CIS for authorization whether the position is paid or unpaid.
  • A student must be authorized by Center of International Studies before beginning employment. Working off-campus without prior authorization is a violation of J-1 status.
  • A student may engage in academic training only for the specified employer, location and amount of time approved in SEVIS by Center of International Studies.
  • Although academic training regulations permit employment, its purpose is to attach practical experience to coursework. It should not be perceived as a form of work authorization.

Helpful information

Maintaining J-1 status

As a J-1 student, you are responsible for maintaining your immigration status, allowing you to stay in the United States for the duration of your program.

Direct questions or concerns to the Center for International Studies.

These guidelines will help.

  • Enrollment
    • You must be enrolled in a full-time course load each semester with the exception of summer.
    • You must seek approval from the Center for International Studies before reducing your course load, withdrawing from or dropping a course.
    • Only three credits of online/distance course can count toward your full-time enrollment each semester.
  • Keep current immigration documents
    • Apply for a program extension before your DS-2019 expiration date if you will be unable to complete your program by the date on the form.
    • Your passport must be valid at all times and should be valid 6 months into the future when traveling outside the United States.
  • Change of address
    • Update your address in your HuyskyNet account within 10 days of the change.
  • Check your St. Cloud State University email account
    • Important information regarding your immigration status, courses and the university is sent to your university account. Failure to address an issue could result in an immigration violation.
  • Employment (see above)
    • Authorization is required by the Center for International Studies.
  • Taxes
    • File U.S. income taxes with the Internal Revenue Services, if applicable.

Forms you may need

Program extension

Program extensions will take three to four days to process.

When your new I-20 is ready, a Center for International Studies advisor will send you an email. You then will be able to pick up your new I-20.


  • Any J-1 student who is maintaining status and making normal progress toward completing their educational objective, but who is unable to complete his or her course of study by the program end date on the their I-20.


The student must:

  • Receive permission from their home institution.
  • Apply for the extension before the program end date listed on their DS-2019.

Application procedure

  • Get written permission from home university.
  • Complete a program extension form with an academic advisor.
  • Obtain updated copies of financial documentation.
  • Return the program extension form and financial documents to Center for International Studies front desk.

Key points

  • Students can participate in a non-degree program for a maximum of 24 months.
  • If living on campus, a student must contact Residential Life about extending a housing contract.
  • Students will be charged for health insurance to cover the duration of the program extension.