Differences Between F-1 and J-1

1. F-1 status

The F-1 visa is the most common visa used by international students at Princeton.  Most students are eligible for an F-1 visa as long as they have been admitted to Princeton.

2. J-1 status

The J-1 status is often used for students who are in a specific educational exchange program such as Fulbright.  In addition, students who are funded by their government as well as Short-term Undergraduate Visiting Student Researchers are often placed on the J-1 visa at Princeton.

Regular degree-seeking students are also eligible for the J-1 visa if a majority (51%) of their total financial funding comes from sources other than personal funds.  Funds other than personal funds may include any of the following:

  • Scholarship or Grant
  • Fellowship from an external funding source
  • Fellowship, Assistantship in Instruction (AI), or Assistantship in Research (AR) from Princeton
  • Home country government
  • International Organization
  • Corporate Sponsor

Currently enrolled students who wish to discuss a possible change of status between F-1 and J-1 should review the information below and then schedule an appointment with their International Student Advisor.

3. Comparison chart of differences between F-1 and J-1

View our comparison chart between F-1 and J-1 Students.

4. J-1 status and the impact on long-term plans

J-1 Two year Home Country Residency Requirement 212(e) - Some J-1 visa holders are subject to the two-year residency requirement.  F-1 students are not subjected to this requirement.  The requirement applies to J-1 visa holders at Princeton if:

  1. They receive funding from the U.S. Government or from their home country government.
  2. The field of study is included in the U.S. Government's Exchange Visitor's Skills List.

J-1 visa holders who are subject to the two-year residency requirement must reside for an aggregate of two years in the home country of citizenship or the last country of legal permanent residency, or have the requirement waived before being eligible for the H, L, or permanent residency immigration statuses.
J-2 spouses are also subject to the Two-Year Residency Requirement if their primary J-1 visa holder is subject. 
NOTE: Obtaining a waiver of this requirement can be difficult and expensive and will likely require the assistance of an immigration attorney.

J-1 12-Month Bar -  The 12-Month Bar places a limitation on the future plans of a J-1 student in the following regard:  J-1 students who have been in the U.S. more than six months will not qualify in the future for a J-1 Research Scholar visa category until 12 months after the J-1 student status ends.  J-2 spouses are also subject to the 12-Month Bar if the primary J-1 visa holder is subject.  The 12-Month Bar is not the same as the Two-Year Residency Requirement.  The 12-Month Bar does not apply to F-1 visa holders.