International Scholar Relations

Maintaining Legal Status

Visiting Scholars

Exchange visitors maintain their J-1 status by engaging only in activities permitted under their program and category, filing timely and appropriate transfers and extension notifications, refraining from unauthorized employment, and maintaining required health insurance coverage. Each category will have additional specific requirements.

The following chart is quick-reference check list for maintaining J-1 status.



Required Actions

Reporting J-1 Program  Participation

Your participation in J-1 program must be reported to the J-1 RO/ARO no later than 30 days after your program start date. Failure to report J-1 arrvial/active status in SEVIS could result in SEVIS termination of your J-1 visa status.

Maintain current documentation

Exchange visitors are at all times expected to maintain:

A valid DS-2019
A valid Passport
Health Insurance for J-1 & J-2 (s)

Maintain a Valid DS-2019

Do not allow your DS-2019 to expire. Be aware of the expiration date of your status.  This is not your visa expiration date; it is the ending date in Section 3 of your DS-2019 form.

Program Extension

If your appointment at WesternU is being extended, the host department must contact the J-1 RO or ARO at least 45 days before the current expiration date to revise the offer letter and extend the DS-2019 in SEVIS. You will be provided with an updated DS-2019 Form.

Maintain Your Program Objective

You were granted a DS-2019 based on an academic objective agreed upon between you and your host department.  The Department of State (DOS) requires that this objective be maintained throughout your stay in J-1 status.  If you plan to change you objective in any way, please notify J-1 RO or ARO about your plan to be sure it is legally allowed.

Travel In and Out of the U.S.

Contact the J-1 RO or ARO at least two weeks in advance of your plans to travel.  If you are going to travel out of the U.S. and your J-1  Visa has expired, your will need to make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in your homeland to apply for a new J-1 Visa or you will be denied re-entry in the United States.  Please keep in mind it could take several weeks for the visa approval. See:http://www.westernu.edu/exchange-visitors/exchange-visitors-current-information/exchange-visitors-reporting-requirements/ 

Unauthorized Employment

Unauthorized employment is a violation of program status. The only activity you are permitted is the one described in Section 4 of the DS2019 Form.  You must consult with J-1 RO or ARO, if you wish to engage in any other work during your stay. An exchange visitor’s participation  in the J-1 program is subject to termination when he or she engages in unauthorized employment.

Maintain Your Health Insurance

J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependent(s) iare required to maintain health insurance which meets the minimum requirements for the duration of their stay in the U.S. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status. For health insurance requirements see: http://www.westernu.edu/exchange-visitors/exchange-visitors-prospective-information/exchange-visitors-health-insurance/

Transfer to Another University

If you are offered a comparable position at another university, discuss your plans with the J-1 RO or ARO to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.

Keep your Passport Valid

Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times, especially upon initial entry or re-entry to the U.S.  If your passport will expire soon, contact your home country’s embassy in the U.S.

Early Program Completion

If you are planning to complete your J-1 program more than 30 days prior to the end date on your DS-2019, notify J-1Program@westernu.edu immediately.  Program completion date must be updated in SEVIS so that you will not be held accountable for the additional time that you are not in the program.

30-Grace Period

J-1 visitors are allowed a 30 day grace period beyond the end date of their DS-2019. This additional 30-day period is not for employment, extensions, or transfers. If you travel outside the U.S. during your 30-day grace period, you forfeit the remaining grace period and may not re-enter the U.S. under J-1 status.

Keep Your Local Address Updated

After you have a confirmed an address where you will reside in the U.S. for at least 30 days, you are required to notify your host department and the J-1 RO or ARO within 10 days of moving.  Please send an email to: 1Program@westernu.edu. Your address must be entered in SEVIS.  This applies to any future changes in your address


Travel Out of Country 

30-day Absence from the U.S. J-1, H-1B and some other nonimmigrant classes and their families affected.
Absence from the U.S. of more than 30 days can cancel, terminate, end your J, H, O, etc. status. You will need to start your status all over again. There are a few exceptions. Do not even consider being abroad more than 30-days without reviewing this information and making an appointment with an international advisor to discuss your plans.

Valid Visa & Passport

Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Remember, your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times especially upon entry or re-entry into the U.S.

Updated:  August 2015