J1 Visa & Immigration

Entering the U.S.

Bring the following documentation to the U.S.:

  • Valid passport with a J-visa (Canadians are exempt from visa requirement)
  • Form DS-2019
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Financial support documentation (recommended)
  • Letter of Invitation (recommended)

Maintaining Status

To maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 student must:

  • Attend the mandatory immigration check-in and orientation program. CGE is required by DOS and SEVIS to validate the exchange visitor’s arrival within 30 days of the program start date on the Form DS-2019.  If the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record is not validated within these 30 days, it will automatically become “invalid” and the exchange visitor will need to leave the U.S. immediately.
  • Attend the university you are authorized to attend.
  • Complete immigration school transfer procedure when necessary.
  • Be in good academic standing and make progress towards an academic program.
  • Extend your DS-2019 prior to its expiration date if you are unable to complete your academic program by the original expiration date.
  • Update your DS-2019 in accordance with immigration regulations in the event of change of academic program or level.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year: a minimum of 12 credit hours per term for undergraduate students and 8 credit hours (or number of credit hours defined by the specific graduate program) per term for graduate students. During any given term in which you have been officially appointed by the department as a Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) or Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), you may enroll for 6 credit hours.
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during the academic year.
  • Not accept unauthorized employment and not work off campus without authorization.
  • Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
  • Maintain required health insurance coverage.
  • Complete the Departure form if you leave the program 30 days or more before the end date of DS-2019.
  • Update current and permanent address information in SIS within 10 days of moving.
  • Re-entry into the U.S.

To maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 visiting scholar or professor must:

  • Report to the CGE for a mandatory immigration check-in. CGE is required by DOS and SEVIS to validate the exchange visitor’s arrival within 30 days of the program start date on the Form DS-2019. If the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record is not validated within these 30 days, it will automatically become “invalid” and the exchange visitor will need to leave the U.S. immediately.
  • Have a valid DS-2019. Extensions can be completed with your J-1 sponsor.
  • Have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return from your trip abroad.
  • Conduct employment only as indicated on the DS-2019.

NOTE: Departments must contact the Center for Global Engagement if they would like the exchange visitor to engage in collaborative work outside of UM-Flint or if the exchange visitor wishes to participate in occasional lectures at another institution.

  • File timely and appropriate transfer and extension notification to the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) through the sponsoring agency.
  • Maintain required health insurance coverage.
  • Update current and permanent address information in SIS within 10 days of moving.

Visitor Categories

Research Scholars
An individual primarily conducts research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project. The research scholar may also teach or lecture.

Short-Term Scholars
A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institution. Examples include educators, scientists, research fellows, writers, and museum administrators. The short-term scholar may also engage in collaborative research.

Professors: An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research.

College or University Student
Individuals in the United States for the primary purpose of studying at an institution of higher education under the sponsorship of an exchange visitor program designated by the Department of States.

Student Intern
Programs designated in the College and University Students category can also sponsor in the Student intern category. Available only to foreign students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a post-secondary academic institution outside the United States, whose U.S. internship will “fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution.”

Exchange Visitor Category Time LimitsMinimum Duration of Stay RequiredMaximum Duration of Stay
Professor or Research Scholar3 weeks5 years
Short-term ScholarN/A6 months
College & University Student3 weeks

Families
Dependent spouses and children of J-1 visiting scholars or professors enter on J-2 visas and have their own DS-2019s. Having J-2 status does not inherently give the J-2 the permission to work, but it gives the person the right to apply for work authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).