J-1 immigration documents

The following contains important information for J-1 students regarding various immigration documents.

J-1 visa

The J-1 visa stamp in your passport permits you to enter the United States for a specific purpose and period of time. The visa may either be for:

  • single entry
  • double entry
  • multiple entries

In some cases, the date of expiration on your Form DS-2019 and the expiration date on your visa stamp may not coincide. If your visa expires while you are in the United States, but your Form DS-2019 and Form I-94 are valid, your legal immigration status in the United States remains valid. However, if your visa has expired and you depart the United States, you will be required to obtain a new visa before re-entering the United States. It is not possible to renew a J-1 visa in the United States.

Note: If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for a period of less than 30 days, you will be permitted to re-enter on an expired visa, provided that it corresponds with your current visa status and your Form I-94 and endorsed DS-2019 are valid.

J-2 visa

Children (including stepchildren) 21 and under and legal spouses can be issued dependent documents. For other accompanying dependents, please contact the nearest U.S. consulate about applying for a B tourist visa.

Accompanying dependents of J-1 students are issued J-2 visas and need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to work in the United States. Employment may not begin until the EAD is received. Please see an adviser in the Center for International Education for more information.

Form DS-2019

This is the form you used to obtain the J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States. DS-2019 has an end date. If you are not able to complete the program by that date, please contact your program sponsor to apply for an extension 60 days before the date on your DS-2019.

Please contact the CIE immediately if you lose this form. You must carry Form DS-2019 with you if you travel outside the United States for any reason during your program. Please remember to get this form signed prior to your travel, or you may be denied re-entry into the United States.

Expiration date in Form DS-2019

The expiration date on your DS-2019 is the date that your program in the United States ends. However, you have 30 days from that date before you are required to leave the United States. You may use this 30-day period to prepare for your departure, or to travel in the United States.

You are not permitted to engage in employment of any kind during this time period. You will not be permitted to re-enter the United States if you travel outside its borders after this date, even if it falls within this 30-day period.

Form I-94 (arrival/departure card)

You must always have your current I-94 card stapled into your passport. It indicates your visa category and contains an eleven-digit identifying number called the admission number, which is used to keep track of your arrival into and departure from the United States.

The Form I-94 card officially determines how long you can stay in the United States and is one of your most important immigration documents. If there is a date written in the upper right-hand corner of your I-94, you must apply to extend your stay or leave the United States within 30 days of that date. Extensions of stay must be filed immediately, so please see an adviser at the CIE immediately.

You should have D/S (duration of status) and Class – J-1 noted on Form I-94. D/S means the time spent pursuing a full course of studies, or time spent in academic training after completion of studies (plus 30 days to depart the United States). No employment is permitted during the 30-day period. D/S expires if you do not maintain a full course of study and you will be out of status.

Passport

You must always have a passport valid at least six months into the future. This means you should renew it about six months prior to the expiration date. To renew your passport, contact your embassy in the United States for instructions. You may be delayed when re-entering your home country if your passport is expired.