J-1 Immigration Information

J-1 International Student Responsibilities

J-1 Students in the United States are required by immigration law to follow certain regulations in order to maintain legal status in the United States. International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is responsible for advising international students on immigration law, regulations, and for processing various immigration documents. When coming to ISSS for immigration matters, always bring your passport, I-94 card, and DS-2019.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING, UNDERSTANDING AND COMPLYING WITH THESE REGULATIONS. IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND, PLEASE SPEAK WITH AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVISOR.  

1. Full Time Study

You must register for and complete a full course of study each semester.  Within Augsburg’s system this means 3 credits per semester for undergraduate and graduate students. Coursework is optional during the summer vacation (May-August)

Exceptions may be granted for valid academic and medical reasons. Consult with your J-1 Responsible Officer BEFORE registering or dropping a course that places you in part-time status.

2. Health Insurance

You are required to maintain the following minimum level of health insurance for you (and, if applicable, your family’s) entire stay in J-1 status:

  • Medical benefits of $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in amount of $7,500
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation in amount of $10,000
  • Deductible does not exceed $500 per accident or illness

You will be required to provide written proof of insurance coverage to ISA. The information should be in English.  Your J-1 program may be cancelled if you fail to meet this requirement. In addition, ISA may request proof of this coverage each time you request a new DS-2019 or apply for employment.

3. Employment

You must obtain written authorization from ISA before beginning any kind of employment whether on or off-campus. Employment authorization is limited to 20 hours during the Fall and Spring semesters; full-time during semester breaks, summer vacation, or after completion of your academic program.

Employment is any type of work performed or services in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room, board, or any other benefit.

You may be eligible for the following types of employment authorization:

  • Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship
  • On-campus jobs unrelated to study
  • Off-campus jobs to meet urgent, unforeseen need
  • Academic training (work directly related to your field of study)

4. Extension of stay

Your permission to stay in the United States is determined by your I-94 and DS-2019. As long as your I-94 is noted J-1 and D/S, you have 30 days to leave the United States after the completion or termination date of your program (this date cannot exceed the expiration date in item 3 of your DS-2019).

If additional time is needed to complete your program, you must obtain a new DS-2019 and complete a program extension before the expiration date of your current DS-2019.

When to Extend

Your permission to stay in the United States will expire 30 days after the date shown in item number 3 of your Form DS-2019.

Note: Under current J-1 rules, your I-94 card should be marked “Duration of Status” or “D/S.” If your I-94 card has a specific date of expiration, come to ISA to discuss extension procedures at least 2 months prior to the expiration date.

To extend your permission to stay in the United States you must first obtain a new Form DS-2019 from ISA upon proving your eligibility.

Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for an extension of stay if:

  • You are working toward the objective shown on your most recent DS-2019
  • You are maintaining your status as a J-1 Exchange Visitor
  • You can demonstrate adequate funding for the period of the proposed extension; and
  • Your extension will not carry you beyond three years in status as a J-1 Visiting Professor or Research Scholar. If you need to stay longer than three years, consult ISA.

Procedures

Two months before your permission to stay expires, contact your academic department about extending your program. You will need a memo from the department explaining why additional time is needed to complete the program (no longer than three years in total).

You must then contact ISA for a new DS-2019 before your current DS-2019 expires. In addition to the department memo, you must provide ISA with new financial documents to cover expenses for you and your dependents and to show proof of health insurance.

Extending your stay by leaving the United States and re-entering

If you go abroad and come back into this country using a new form DS-2019, then your re-entry will extend your permission to stay. However, the “leaving and re-entering” procedure may not work if you travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean islands for less than 30 days. This is because the USCIS inspector at the port of entry may hand back your form DS-2019 intact and unmarked, and refuse to record your re-entry. If this happens to you, you will have to proceed as though you had not gone abroad, and either leave North America and re-enter, or else carry out the “Notification” procedure outlined below.

If you do leave North America, you will need a valid J-1 visa stamp to re-enter this country (unless you are Canadian). If your J-1 visa has expired you will have to apply for a new one at a United States consulate abroad. Besides the form DS-2019 and your passport, and those of your dependents who accompany you, the Visa Officer may want to see proof of funding that does not come directly from your J-1 sponsor or your school (for example, a letter of award or support, a bank statement, documentation of income, etc.). Your dependents will need J-2 visas, and you should be prepared to show proof of marriage to your spouse and parenthood of each child.

Be sure to contact the U.S. consulate where you will be applying to renew your visa about application procedures and processing time.

Extending your stay without leaving the country

First, fill out and sign the back of the white page of your new form DS-2019. Then proceed with the notification process.

Notification

You may use this procedure only if your I-94 card shows “Duration of Status” or “D/S” instead of a specific expiration date. Take your form DS-2019 and your passport to ISO. You must have a valid passport and proof of insurance coverage before the extension can be mailed to the State Department. If you need to extend your passport, apply for an extension from your consulate in Washington, D.C.

After you have extended your stay inside the country, avoid a common mistake if you travel abroad. Do not assume that with an approved extension of stay you can re-enter this country from another continent without an unexpired J-1 visa stamp in your passport. If your J-1 visa stamp has expired, you will have to apply at a consulate for a new one in order to re-enter the United States as J-1 Visiting Professor or Research Scholar.

The One Year Rule

To prevent J-1 scholars from coming to the United States repeatedly for three year periods with no substantial time outside the United States, the State Department has imposed a rule requiring a minimum of one year between J-1 programs. The rule is imposed if you were in the United States for greater than six months as a J-1 Researcher or Professor. The rule does not apply to J-1’s transferring to a different sponsor (within the original three-year maximum), or to J-1’s who were in the U.S. as Short-Term Scholars. J-1’s who are transferring should be very careful to accomplish the transfer procedure.

Caution: Extension of your permission to stay is YOUR responsibility. If you forget the deadline and apply late, YOU RISK DENIAL. If you are employed and overlook the date, you will be working illegally. Since such mistakes can have serious consequences, you should make certain that you apply well in advance (at least one month is recommenced) if you need to extend your stay.

5. Travel Outside United States

Contact ISA regarding procedures for validating the back of your DS-2019 before you depart the United States temporarily.

To re-enter the United States you will need a valid J-1 visa, passport, and DS-2019. Contact ISA regarding automatic revalidation of visa for brief visits to Canada, Mexico, and most Caribbean islands.

6. Change of Program

A change of program sponsor must be obtained by one of the following procedures:

Transferring Procedure: Request the Responsible Officer of your current program to endorse section 8 of the DS-2019 from your new program. Return the endorsed DS-2019 to your new program for completion of the notification procedure to USIA. If ISA refuses to endorse the DS-2019, then you must use the procedure listed next.

Re-entry Procedure: You must travel outside the United States and obtain from the U.S. Consulate a new J-1 visa for your new program. When you re-enter the United States present your new DS-2019 and J-1 visa to the USCIS officer.

A change of category on your DS-2019 (for example: student to professor) is difficult to obtain in the United States.

7. Two Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

You are subject to this requirement if:

Your J-1 participation is or was funded in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange by either your home government or the United States government.

You are acquiring a skill that is in short supply in your home country according to the U.S. government’s “Exchange Visitor Skill List”. If you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you are not eligible for an H, L, or immigrant visa or status in the United States until you have physically resided and been physically present for a total of two years in your country of nationality or your country of legal permanent residence. You may petition to Department of State for a waiver of this requirement under the following categories:

  • Extreme hardship to your spouse or unmarried child who is a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Fear of persecution by your home government
  • Interest of a United States government agency; or
  • A “no objection” letter from your country’s embassy in Washington, DC