Maintain J-1 Scholar Status

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In order to maintain legal status with immigration, J-1 exchange visitors must: 

  • Obtain validation of the SEVIS record at the Center for International Education (CIE) immediately upon arrival at SIU
  • Maintain a valid DS-2019
  • Maintain a valid passport
  • Be in possession of I-94 card marked D/S (Duration of Status)
  • Engage only in appropriate activities permitted under the program & category described in Section 4 of DS-2019  (any other employment would be considered unauthorized employment)
  • Maintain required health insurance for the entire duration of program (see J-1 Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Requirements)
  • Report any changes of address to CIE within 10 days of moving date
  • Obtain signature for travel from CIE at least 2 weeks prior to any short-term trips outside of the US
  • File any extension or transfer requests prior to the expiration date of DS-2019      
  • Report departure date to CIE
  • Depart the US within 30 days of ending program at SIU


Extensions are obtained with the permission/invitation of the SIU hosting department.  The faculty sponsor must complete a new DS-2019 worksheet with CIE at least 2 weeks prior to the expiration date on the DS-2019.  A Professor or Research Scholar can be sponsored for a maximum period of 5 years.  A Short-Term Scholar can be sponsored for a maximum period of 6 months. 


All exchange visitors on the SIU campus and using campus resources must have an SIU ID (Dawg Tag).  Eligibility for a Dawg Tag is based on a Notice of Appointment at SIU.  Please contact your SIU hosting department as they are responsible for processing all of your contract paperwork. 


If you are being paid by SIU as part of your J-1 program, you are entitled to the following Wilberforce Pamphlet on the Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers.


J-1 exchange visitors may enroll in SIU classes as long as the course work is INCIDENTAL to the primary exchange objective.  However, J-1 exchange visitors may NOT be enrolled full-time, or in a degree-seeking course.


A DS-2019 travel signature by CIE is required of J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents who wish to travel outside the US during the exchange period.  Proof of current health insurance is required before a travel signature can be obtained.  Travel home, with intent to return to the US, requires a valid passport as well as a travel signature.  If the J visa stamp in the passport is expired, the exchange visitor MUST obtain a new visa stamp at the home embassy/consulate prior to returning to the US.


J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to the 212(e) rule must return to their home country and reside in that country for two years before they are eligible for H, L, or Permanent Resident status.  If subject to 212(e), exchange visitors are not permitted to change their nonimmigrant status within the US from J to any other nonimmigrant category (except for A Diplomat and G International Organization statuses).

J-1 exchange visitors may be subject to this requirement if:

  • The exchange visitor’s skill category appears on the applicable country’s “list of skills” that are in critical demand. (see link below for Department of State Skills list)
  • The exchange visitor’s program is supported financially by a government or international agency.
  • US Embassy/Consulate General visa officers determine if an exchange visitor is subject to 212(e).

A waiver of rule 212(e) is possible by filing an I-612 with the immigration service for the following:

  • Statement of no objection from the home country
  • Interest of a US government agency
  • Exceptional hardship to a US citizen or permanent resident spouse or child of the exchange visitor
  • Persecution of the exchange visitor because of race, religion, or political opinion


12 month bar:  Foreign national cannot have participated in a J program (as J-1 or J-2) for all or part of the 12 month period immediately preceding the start date on the Form DS-2019, unless s/he is transferring to SIU’s program, prior physical presence in J status in the US was less than 6 months, or was a Short-Term Scholar.

 24 month bar:  Foreign national cannot have participated in a J program as a J-1 or J-2 Research Scholar or Professor within the 24 months preceding the start date of the new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program.  Foreign national will be ineligible to participate as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for two years following the end date of this program.