It is extremely important for international students to maintain their immigration status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of J-1 status may be grounds for removal from the United States and may cause difficulty re-entering the U.S. in the future.
Important Forms and Documents
The Form DS-2019 shows that you are eligible for the “J” status. It is issued by the college you are authorized to attend and shows how long you may remain in the United States. Students with J-1 status are allowed to stay 30 days beyond the program completion date to gather their belongings and make arrangements to return home.
You can obtain a J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. You should have a J-1 visa stamp in your passport upon entry to the U.S. (Note: Canadians do not require an F-1 visa in order to obtain J-1 status). The expiration date on your visa stmap does not affect how long you may stay in the U.S. The only reason to be concerned with an expired visa is if you wish to leave the U.S. and re-enter.
The Form I-94 is your official “Arrival-Departure Record”. The form I-94 is an electronic document that indicates your date of entry, immigration status as "J-1", and expiration date. For land border crossings (Canada/Mexico) the Form I-94 is a small white card stapled to your passport. The expiration date should be “D/S" which means “Duration of Status." This refers to the date you complete your studies or the end date of your Form DS-2019 (whichever is earlier) plus a 30-day grace period. You can obtain your Form I-94 from the Customs and Border Protection website.
How to Maintain J-1 Status
- Check-in with Slater International Center for SEVIS registration within 30 days of the program start date indicated on your Form DS-2019
- Attend the college/university listed on the DS-2019 used for entry into the U.S.
- Engage in a full course of study during normal academic periods (3 units or more)
- Maintain a passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future
- Apply for program extension prior to the end date on your Form DS-2019 if you are not able to complete your studies by this date
- Receive authorization before engaging in employment
- Maintain adequate health insurance and provide documentation
- Report a change of address/residence to Slater within 10 days of the change
Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
Some exchange visitors from certain countries are subject to a requirement to spend two years in their home country before returning to the United States for a long-term stay. Exchange Visitors subject to this requirement include those who
- Have received government funding, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange,
- Worked in a field that appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills list, or
- Participated in a graduate medical training program in the United States sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
If you are subject to the requirement (as indicated on your visa), you must "reside and be physically present" for a total of two years in your country of citizenship or your country of legal permanent residence or apply for a waiver to the requirement. More information is available from Slater upon your arrival.
International students must report their off-campus addresses to the Slater International Center within 10 days any change.
Violations of J-1 status may result in the termination of your F-1 SEVIS record.