J-1 Status

How to Maintain J-1 Status
  • Follow regulations pertaining to your specific program
  • Seek the written authorization from the responsible officer of your exchange-visitor program before 1) making academic changes; 2) seeking employment; or 3) traveling outside the United States during your program of study
Important Documents
If you have not done so already, you should bring all of these documents to the OIE so that we can make copies for your file. You should also keep a set of copies in your own files.
  • Passport. It is your responsibility to make sure your passport is valid. Know when your passport will expire. File for a renewal with your embassy up to six months in advance of the passport’s expiration date. For addresses of your country’s consulate or embassy, visit www.embassy.org.
  • Visa. A U.S. visa is a stamped or affixed entry placed in your passport by an U.S. consular or embassy official. It allows you to request the immigration officer at the port of entry to grant you permission to enter the United States under the specific conditions of the visa type. The USCIS officer at the port of entry has the same right as a consular officer to question you as to your financial status, your intentions regarding work in the U.S., and your intent to attend the school to which you were admitted. The J-1 visa will indicate the date by which you must enter and the number of entries to the U.S. permitted. If you have a single-entry visa and travel outside the U.S. while you are outside of the United States, you will need to get a new student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to re-enter the United States. If you have a multiple-entry visa, you are able to leave and enter the United States as often as you like prior to the visa expiration date, provided you maintain your status and carry proof of your student status (Form DS-2019) endorsed by your program sponsor Responsible Officer. It is not possible to renew your visa within the borders of the United States.  
  • Form DS-2019. The J- I visa is issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate upon presentation of a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) from a sponsor, financial documents, and passport.  J- I Exchange Visitor Programs are approved by the U.S. Information Agency.  After completion of their program of study in the U.S., persons on J- 1 visas who have received support from the U.S. government or their home government or whose field of study appears on the country skills list are required to reside at least two years in their home country before re-entering the United States as a permanent resident or on some other non-immigrant visa. The home stay requirement is noted on the DS-2019 and on the U.S. visa stamp. The DS-2019 form is renewable annually by the sponsor. Persons wishing to temporarily leave the United States will need to obtain the responsible officer's signature on their valid DS-2019 form. Practical training is available to J-1 students; check with the responsible sponsor for details. 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.
  • Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Card). The Form I-94 is your official Arrival-Departure Record. It is a small white card that you will receive from the flight attendants before you land in the United States. The admission number on your I-94 will also be on the DS-2019. The immigration officer will stamp your I-94 and DS-2019 and enter your limit of stay and/or duration of status (D/S). Your "D/S" allows you to remain in the U.S. to complete your program within the dates specified on the DS-2019. When the I-94 has been authorized for duration of status, students who remain in the United States do not need to renew an expired U.S. visa unless they leave the country. When you leave the United States, your I-94 will be taken from you and a new one must be obtained when you re-enter. The I-94 form is very important and should be stapled in your passport. Expiration: There should be a date stamped on the I-94 indicating the date that you arrived in the United States. You should also see that "D/S" is written below the date stamp. This "D/S" indicates "duration of status" and 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.