The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.
The Exchange Visitor Program designates an individual or individuals to be responsible for the administration at each program site. The Responsible Officer (RO) at DePaul University is the director of International Student and Scholar Services (ISS), and the Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) are the ISS associate director and advisors.
As an Exchange Visitor (EV) at DePaul University, the following documents are important to the maintenance of your J-1 scholar status:
- DS-2019: Certificate of eligibility for J-1 status, issued by DePaul University. The document is used to obtain a visa stamp and reflects your program dates, J-1 category, and whether you are subject to the 212(e).
- I-94 Card: Arrival and departure record, stamped by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) upon entrance into the U.S. You will get a new one when you enter the U.S. and surrender it when exiting the U.S.
- Passport: Document must be valid at least six months beyond the end date of your J-1 program.
- Proof of Health Insurance: U.S. government regulations require J-1 visa holders and their dependents to have adequate health insurance at all times.
- Visa Stamp: Issued by a U.S. Embassy/Consulate outside the U.S. The document is required for entry into the U.S. and can only be renewed outside the U.S.
Reminders for Exchange Visitors
- Upon arrival in the U.S., schedule an appointment with ISS to check in and have your SEVIS record validated. Remember to bring all documents listed above so that ISS can make copies and keep them on file.
- Before you travel outside of the U.S., schedule an appointment with ISS for a travel signature on your DS-2019.
- Be mindful of the expiration dates of your immigration documents. If you are approaching the end date on your DS-2019, please speak with your sponsoring department about a program extension.
- Report any change of address to ISS within 10 days of the change.
Obtaining J-1 Scholar Status
A sponsoring academic department must initiate a DS-2019 request in order to invite a prospective EV to DePaul University. ISS will not accept DS-2019 requests directly from a prospective EV. If you are interested in participating in a J-1 program at DePaul University, please contact an academic department directly. The sponsoring department may refer to ISS for guidance on the DS-2019 request process.
J-1 Visa Acquisition
Once ISS issues the DS-2019, the sponsoring department will mail the documents to the EV. The EV must complete the following steps in order to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the United States:
- Schedule visa appointment with nearest U.S. Embassy; review the embassy website for specific visa application instructions.
- Pay $180 I-901 SEVIS fee using SEVIS ID number from the DS-2019.
- Attend visa interview appointment and submit completed visa application form (DS-156 or DS-158), along with the application fee and visa issuance fee (if applicable based on country of citizenship).
Consular processing time: Times vary by embassy or consulate. Please check the local embassy/consulate website for processing time and procedures.
Arrival and SEVIS Validation
- Arrive in Chicago no earlier than 30 days prior to start date listed on DS-2019.
- Check in with ISS for a brief orientation; present passport, J-1 visa, I-94 (arrival document), DS-2019 and proof of medical insurance.
- ISS advisor validates SEVIS record using information collected at time of check-in.
- ISS is required by DHS to validate an EV’s program within 30 days of program start date. If you do not check in with ISS, you will lose lawful J-1 status.
Important J-1 Visa Regulations
212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
The 212(e) requirement is intended to keep EV’s from staying longer than necessary to complete their program objective and to make sure they will spend at least two years in their home country before returning to the U.S. for a long-term stay. The Exchange Visitor Program promotes educational and cultural exchange; therefore, the requirement ensures the home country will benefit from the EV’s experience in the U.S.
Which EV is subject?
- Any EV working in a field that appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List. It is advised that all EVs check the skills list even if their documentation does not reflect subjectivity.
- Any EV receiving government funding, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange.
- Any EV participating in a graduate medical training program in the U.S. under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
- J-2 dependents are subject to the two-year home-country physical-presence requirement if the J-1 scholar is subject.
How do I know if I am subject to 212(e)?
For a preliminary determination, you should check the source of your funding and the Skills List. There may be a note on your J-1/J-2 entry visa or a preliminary determination in the lower left-hand corner of your DS-2019. If you have ever been subject in the past, and have neither obtained a waiver nor fulfilled the requirement by spending two years in your country, it still holds even if a more current Form DS-2019 reflects no basis for such a requirement.
If there is any confusion about whether you are subject, you can request an advisory opinion from Office of Visa Services in the Department of State. Please speak to an ISS advisor for more details.
What does an EV have to do to fulfill this requirement?
Any EV subject to the 212(e) must spend two years physically present in her/his country of citizenship or last legal permanent residence. Time does not have to be continuous.
What are the limitations of being subject to the 212(e)?
- Not eligible to obtain an H, K or L visa at a U.S. consular office or change to these visa categories within the U.S.
- Not eligible for lawful permanent residence status.
- Not eligible to change status from J to any other nonimmigrant status from within the U.S.
Can an EV have this requirement waived?
There is a 212(e) waiver process which is initiated and filed by the EV subject to the 212(e). More information on this waiver process can be found at the Department of State website.
Which EV is subject?
Any EV who spends longer than six months as a J-1 Exchange Visitor or J-2 dependent.
What are the limitations of being subject to the 12-month bar?
The EV or J-2 must spend a year outside the U.S. before starting a J-1 program in either the professor or research scholar category.
Which EV is subject?
Any EV in the professor or research scholar category.
What are the limitations of being subject to the 24-month bar?
When an EV completes his/her program participation (for any program period from the minimum 3 weeks to the maximum of 5 years), s/he is not eligible to begin another J-1 exchange program in the professor or research scholar category for a period of 24 months. EVs are eligible to enter the U.S. (if not subject to the 212(e)) in other visa categories and as J-1 EVs in the short-term category, which is for a program period of six months or less.
Would you like more information on 212(e) or the 12- and 24-month bars?
Please contact ISS at (312) 362-8376 to schedule an appointment with an ISS advisor.
Your permission to stay in the United States ends on the expiration date of your I-94 Departure Record card – unless the card is marked “Duration of Status” or “D/S.” In that case, your permission to stay will expire 30 days after the date shown in item #3 of your Form DS-2019. In general, a person in J-1 status in the category of professor or researcher may stay in the U.S. for five (5) years. An individual in the short-term scholar category cannot extend the program beyond six (6) months. You need to pay particular attention to the end-date on your DS-2019 and contact ISS at least two months before your permission to stay expires.
If you were subject to the 212(e), two-year home residency requirement and have received a written waiver recommendation from the US Department of State, then you are not eligible for an extension beyond the current end date of your DS-2019.
Your sponsoring department at DePaul University must submit a J-1 program extension request to ISSS on your behalf, prior to the expiration of your DS-2019. ISS will not accept an extension request form directly from an EV.
Before leaving the U.S. to travel, either to your home country or to another country, make sure you check your travel documents. Please do so at least 2 weeks before departure, in case you need a new DS-2019 from ISS.
Please use the following checklist to determine if your documents are in order for re-entry into the U.S.:
- Valid passport
- Check your passport to make sure it has not expired.
- Valid J-1 entry visa stamp
- Check the visa type – make sure you are using your J-1 visa for re-entry.
- Check the number of entries allowed - “M” means multiple).
- Check the expiration date – it must be valid for re-entry.
- Valid DS-2019
- Check the expiration date of your DS-2019
- ARO/RO Signature
- A new signature on your DS-2019 is required every time you travel. Please contact ISS to make an appointment with a scholar advisor in order to obtain the signature.
- I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
- Traveling somewhere other than your country?
- Check with the embassy of the country you intend to visit to find out if you need a visitor’s visa to enter.
- Traveling after completion of your program?
Please note: “Automatic revalidation of visa" allows F-1 and J-1 visa holders to enter the U.S. without a valid U.S. visa after a 30-day or less visit to contiguous territories (Canada, Mexico and U.S. adjacent islands other than Cuba). Please see an ISS advisor for eligibility details and restrictions.
The J-2 visa category is for dependents of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. All J-1 visa regulations which apply to the J-1 EV, applies to the J-2 dependent. If you would like your family (spouse and/or children) to join you in the U.S. in J-2 status, complete the following steps:
- Complete the Dependent DS-2019 Request Form.
- Submit documents directly to ISS.
J-2 dependents are eligible for full- or part-time study. When J-2 dependent children reach the age of 21 years old, they no longer qualify for the J-2 “child” subcategory and must obtain their own visa status in an appropriate category.
J-2 dependents are eligible for full- or part-time employment with an Employment Authorization Document Card (EAD). J-2 dependents must complete the form I-765 for J-2 employment authorization. For more information on J-2 work authorization, please schedule an appointment with an ISS advisor.