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For Scholars

Visas and Arrival

Applying for an Exchange Visitor Visa

Visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, generally in their country of permanent residence. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on the Department of State (DoS) website at Visa Wait Times, and on most embassy websites. If you are authorized by your sponsor to be accompanied by your spouse (husband or wife) and children, the sponsor will give a Form DS-2019 to both the applicant and his/her family.  The family may apply for their visa at the same time.  Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply. 

During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer. 

Required Documentation 

When applying, each visa applicant must submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate these forms and documentation, as explained below: 

  • DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. A SEVIS-generated Form, DS-2019, is provided to you by your program sponsor, after the sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • Those in J-1 Student Intern Category Must Submit a Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002. All J-1 Student Interns (based on Box 7 on form) must also present Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 when applying for a visa. For more information about the rules for trainee and intern programs, see the Exchange Visitor Program, Trainees on the ECA website.
  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
  • passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application;
  • Proof of SEVIS Fee Payment. For detailed information on the SEVIS fee payment process, and for a list of frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm;
  • One (1) 2x2 inch photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.


What are the Required Visa Fees? 

  • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee - For current fees for DOS government services select Fees. You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
  • Visa issuance fee – Additionally, if the visa is issued, if applicable, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee. Please review the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
    NOTE: U.S. Government sponsored exchange visitor (J visa) applicants and their dependents are not required to pay any applicable reciprocity fees.


Additional Documentation 

  • Find out if there are any additional documentation items required by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa.
  • Applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they are coming to the U.S. for a temporary period. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly.


My Visa Has Been Issued- When Can I Travel to the U.S.? 

  • DHS regulation requires that all beginning (initial) J exchange visitors, and J-2 spouse and dependents enter the U.S. 30 days or less in advance of the applicant's program start date as shown on the Form DS-2019. The 30-day limitation does not apply to current exchange participants who are returning to continue with their exchange program.
  • If you want an earlier entry in the U.S. (more than 30 days prior to the course start date), you must qualify for, and obtain a visitor visa; however, this is strongly discouraged.


Spouses and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal (or primary) exchange visitor (J) visa holder in the U.S. for the duration of his/her stay require exchange visitor visas. The application procedure is the same as that for a primary visa applicant. The sponsor must approve the accompaniment of the spouse and/or children and who will each be issued their own Form DS-2019. This form is used to obtain the required visa and the spouse and dependents can enter the U.S. at the same time as the principal exchange visitor or at a later date.

Work - The spouse and/or children of an exchange visitor in the U.S. may not work in J-2 status, unless they have filed Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved permission to work. To learn more, select How Do I Get a Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document)? to go to the USCIS website.

Study- The spouse and/or children of an exchange visitor visa holder who are in the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa may study in the U.S. without also being required to apply for a student (F-1) visa or change to F-1 status.

Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the U.S. with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.


Family Members Following to Join the Exchange Visitor

The spouse and children can also apply for visas after the principal applicant has already traveled. In general, they must present the following:

  • Form DS 2019, SEVIS generated, and approved by the sponsor
  • Proof that the principal applicant (the person who received the DS-2019) is maintaining his/her J-visa status
  • Copy of the J-1's (principal applicant's) visa
  • Proof of relationship to the principal applicant
  • Proof of sufficient money to cover all expenses in the U.S.


NOTE: Spouses and children of exchange visitors may not enter the U.S. before the primary exchange visitor enters for the first time.


THE SEVIS FEE

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal SEVIS Fee took effect on September 1, 2004. The fee of $180 is generally a one-time fee (see exceptions, below) and is required of those who are applying for a J-1 visa based on a DS-2019 issued to "begin a new program."

Proof of fee payment must be presented at the visa interview.

You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are:

  1. Seeking an initial J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad for initial participation in an exchange visitor program.
  2. A CANADIAN citizen: who does not need a visa to enter the United States as an exchange visitor, but who will be applying for admission at a U.S. port-of-entry to begin initial participation in a Department of State designated exchange visitor program.
  3. Exceptions: a fee is NOT required for a J-1 exchange visitor participating in a program sponsored by the U.S. Federal government (i.e. J-1 DS-2019 was issued by USAID or Fulbright).


SEVIS Fee Rules

  1. The SEVIS fee must be processed at least three business days before the visa interview, unless you have a printed receipt from an Internet payment.
  2. The SEVIS fee cannot be paid at the embassy or consulate, or at the U.S. Border.
  3. A visa will not be issued unless the visa officer can verify that the SEVIS fee payment has been made. However, you may schedule your visa interview prior to paying the SEVIS fee.
  4. The SEVIS fee is not refundable. If your visa application is denied, and you decide to re-apply for the same type of visa at a later date, you will not be asked to make a second SEVIS fee payment as long as your visa application is made within 12 months of the initial denial.


How to Pay the SEVIS Fee

Currently, there are two payment methods:

  1. Payment in U.S. dollars by credit card over the Internet, or
  2. Payment in U.S. dollars by check, money order, or bank draft, drawn on a U.S. bank, and mailed to an address in the United States.


Payment of the SEVIS fee may be made by you or by any other individual, either in the United States or abroad, including family or friends. However, anyone paying the fee on your behalf will need to have a copy of your DS-2019 form, or a completed copy of Form I-901.


Procedure for Paying the SEVIS Fee

  1. Obtain a DS-2019 from your sponsor.
  2. Access the Form I-901 from the internet at http://www.fmjfee.com.
  3. Complete the Form I-901, answering all questions. Be sure that you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on the DS-2019 form.
  4. Pay the $180 SEVIS fee according to one of the methods described below.


Note: to complete form I-901, you must enter two types of information: (a) J-1 scholars need to enter the SU Program Number, see item #2 of the DS-2019 and (b) enter your SEVIS ID number, which is printed at the top right of the DS-2019 form, above the bar code.

Paying on the Internet

  1. Once you have received your DS-2019, you can make the fee payment by submitting form I-901 on-line using a credit card. The web address is http://www.fmjfee.com.
  2. MasterCard, Visa, or American Express debit or credit cards are accepted. It does not matter if the card was issued in the United States or overseas. Follow the on-line instructions, include the required credit card information, and print out the payment screen to verify your payment. The printed receipt should be presented at the visa interview or at the U.S. port of entry as proof of payment. Thus, when paying the fee on the Internet, it is essential that your printer be ready before starting the payment process. Do not exit the receipt page until you have successfully printed the receipt. You will not be able to return to the receipt page.

    For detailed information on the SEVIS fee payment process, and for a list of frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm


Paying by Mail:

  1. To pay by mail, you must download and print form I-901 from http://www.fmjfee.com or use a paper copy if provided with your DS-2019, fill out the form and mail it with your payment to the address below.
  2. Your payment must be in U.S. dollars by check, money order or bank draft, drawn on a U.S. bank. Your check, bank draft or money order should be made payable to: "I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee." Also, be sure to print your name and SEVIS ID number in the lower left-hand corner of the check, money order or bank draft.
  3. The need for a check, bank draft or money order in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank does not mean that only a U.S. bank can issue the document. Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank, because they are chartered in the United States, or because they are foreign subsidiaries of a U.S. bank, or because they have arrangements with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.

Mail the payment and form I-901 to:

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Visa Processing Fee
P.O. Box 970020
St. Louis, MO 63197-0020 USA

To send by courier, use the following address:

Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

Phone Number: 1-314-418-8833

(United States Country Code 011)


NOTE: Payment by mail is not the recommended process for fee payment from abroad, as it can take as long as four weeks from the day you mail in the fee to the day that you receive the required receipt in the mail if you are applying from outside the United States, unless you pay for courier service.


When Can I Get My Visa and/or Enter the U.S.?

  1. The SEVIS fee must be paid and fully processed before the applicant arrives at the consulate for the visa interview.
  2. For those non-immigrants who do not need a visa to enter the U.S. as an exchange visitor, the fee must be paid and fully processed before applying for entry at a U.S. port-of-entry.
  3. A receipt will be sent by mail to the address that you indicate with your payment. Further, for those that pay the SEVIS fee on-line, a payment confirmation can be printed out immediately after the payment is made, and used as a receipt until the mailed receipt is received.
  4. Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring a SEVIS fee payment receipt with them for the visa interview, or, for those that do not need a visa, to the U.S. port-of-entry.
  5. Having a receipt for the SEVIS fee payment will facilitate the visa application process. However, if you are unable to print a receipt from an on-line payment and/or do not receive your mailed receipt in time for your visa interview you can still go to your interview as long as your fee has been processed by the Department of Homeland Security.


Showing Proof of SEVIS Fee Payment at the Visa Interview and/or the U.S. Port of Entry

You must be able to prove that the fee has been paid when you appear for your visa interview, and when you enter the United States. This is done by presenting a printed receipt, either from the Internet if you made an on-line payment, or a mailed receipt if you paid by mail.

Visa officers and U.S. port-of entry inspectors should be able to verify SEVIS fee payment electronically three business days after payment is processed, but in case of problems, having a printed receipt is the best evidence of fee payment. If you lose or did not receive a receipt for fee payment, the U.S. government does retain an electronic record that the fee has been paid.

The visa will not be issued unless verification of the SEVIS fee payment can be made.

Traveling to the U.S.

COMPLETE YOUR ENTRY PAPERWORK

If Arriving By Air: Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival- Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to landing.

If Arriving By Land or Sea: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP);Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be filled out upon your arrival.


AS YOU ARRIVE AT THE PORT OF ENTRY

Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents available for presentation:

  1. Your passport;
  2. Your DS-2019;
  3. Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94); and
  4. Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).

The Form I-94 should reflect the address where you will reside, not the address of the program.

All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important for J-1 Visa holders to tell the CBP Officer that they will be an exchange visitor. Be prepared to include the name and address of Syracuse University.

Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will return:

  • Your SEVIS DS-2019
  • Stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) with your date and port of entry, and then staple it in your passport

FOLLOWING ADMISSION INTO THE UNITED STATES

J-1 Scholars must report to their Exchange Visitor Program sponsor within 30 days of the program begin date identified in line 3 of the DS 2019 to have their participation in the program activity validated. Failure to have participation validated will result in an automatic invalidated SEVIS record.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SECONDARY INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

It is important to answer all questions the CBP officer asks. Remember to remain calm. Secondary inspection is a normal process and is nothing of which to be afraid.

The CBP officer will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify your admission/participation with your sponsoring school or program, it is strongly recommended that you have the name and telephone number of your foreign student advisor or J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor available. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), you should also have the emergency phone number.

Daytime Contact:
Slutzker Center for International Services
315 443-2457

After hours, emergency contact:
Syracuse University Department of Public Safety
315 443-2224

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in you being denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States for 30 days. If you are admitted with the Form I-515A, you must work with your program sponsor or international advisor to submit proper documentation within that 30 day period.

US-VISIT

All nonimmigrant visitors holding visas-regardless of race, national origin, or religion -participate in the US-VISIT, a comprehensive registration tracking system for entries to and exits from the United States. The program involves obtaining a scan of two index fingerprints and a digital photograph. For more information: www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0440.xml


BEFORE LEAVING THE INSPECTIONS AREA

Make sure you have all of your documentation, including the following:

  1. Passport
  2. Departure Record (I-94 Card)
  3. DS-2019
  4. All supporting documents (letters, proof of finances, etc.)


MANDATORY CHECK-IN AND ORIENTATION FOR ALL NEW J-1 SCHOLARS, PROFESSOR, SPECIALISTS, AND INTERNS

Check-in and orientation for newly arrived J-1 Scholars, Professors, Specialists, and Interns is very important. The Slutzker Center for International Services must meet with ALL new J-1s within the first week of arrival on campus. During check-in, staff at SCIS will advise new international employees on a variety of immigration issues as well as provide resources to assist with adjustment to life in Syracuse.

Topics typically covered during orientation include:

  • Social Security/Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Application
  • Banking
  • Health Care and Health Insurance
  • Address Reporting Requirements
  • Travel Requirements
  • Immigration Regulations
  • Child care and school resources
  • Programming activities and opportunities for involvement


Check-in and orientation requires as much as an hour to complete. Prior to a new J-1’s arrival, the J-1 scholars or the host department must set up an appointment with the Slutzker Center for International Services. Please contact SCIS at lescis@syr.edu to schedule the appointment.

New J-1 Scholars, Professors, Specialists, and Interns should bring the following items with them to their check-in and orientation appointment:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • I-94 Card (The white card stamped at the port of entry that should be stapled inside the passport)

Maintaining Visa Status

ESSENTIAL IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS

  • Form DS-2019 – Validity dates listed in Section
  • Passport — Must be valid at all times
  • Visa Stamp — May expire while in the U.S.; Must be valid to re-enter the U.S. from travel beyond Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands
  • I-94 card – The white card that should be stapled inside your passport


MAINTAINING YOUR PASSPORT

All international faculty, staff, scholars and students should maintain their passport validity. In general, it is best to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months longer than the intended dates of stay. If renewal of a passport is necessary, check with your embassy or consulate about the renewal process.

J-VISA HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT

The U.S. Department of State and the Exchange Visitor Program requires that all persons in J-1 or J-2 status have health insurance that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness;
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his/her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.


J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors must maintain the health insurance during the entire duration of their program. Persons who willfully fail to maintain coverage are subject to termination from the program.

  • For full-time, paid Syracuse University employees ONLY:
    • J-1 Scholar Researcher/Professors who are paid by Syracuse University and are full-time employees are eligible for health insurance through SU.
    • The health insurance offered through SU meets the minimum requirements listed by the Department of State for medical benefits and for the deductible, but the insurance does not provide coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.
    • Call the Syracuse University Human Resources/Skytop Offices to find out about your health insurance benefits. (315-443-4042).
    • If you receive health insurance as a benefit to your employment at SU, you will need a supplemental insurance policy that covers you for Medical Evacuation and Repatriation (Applications can be obtained at the Slutzker Center; plan cost is $26.50 per year).
  • For ALL OTHER individuals utilizing personal or government funds who do not receive payment or health insurance from Syracuse University:
    • Any J-1 Scholar whose funding is from personal funds or a source other than SU will need to purchase a health insurance plan which will meet the minimum federal requirements.
    • J-1 Scholars should plan to purchase the insurance upon arrival for both themselves and any J-2 dependents.
    • A Slutzker Center advisor can provide you with information on health insurance plans that meet the minimum federal requirements.

REPORT ADDRESS CHANGES

All non-immigrants (except those in A or G status), 14 years of age or older, who will remain in the U.S. for 30 days or longer, are required by law to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days of a change of physical address in the United States. The parent or legal guardian of a nonimmigrant child under the age of 14 is responsible for notifying DHS of the child's change of address. Failure to comply with this requirement is a violation of immigration status that is punishable by fine or imprisonment and/or removal (“deportation”).

In order to comply with the address reporting requirement, J-1 visa holders are required by DHS to inform the Slutzker Center at Syracuse University within 10 days of any change of your physical residence (apartment or home address) in the United States. Once you report your changes to the Slutzker Center, we will report the new address to DHS through the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your physical residence is defined as where you live, not your school, lab, or a P.O. Box. You should also report a separate mailing address (P.O. Box) if it is impossible for mail to be delivered to your physical residence, such as a University Residence Hall.

Human Resources and SU Payroll require student employees, faculty, and staff to update any changes in their mailing address (P.O. Box or physical address where you can receive mail). This is to make sure that paychecks and payment information will be sent to the correct address. To update your mailing address, you must do so through SU’s MySlice service - https://myslice.syr.edu/.

Verbal notice of a change of address to the Slutzker Center does not constitute compliance with the SEVIS 10-day reporting requirement.

Filing a forwarding address with the U.S. Postal Service will not satisfy the reporting requirement for the Department of Homeland Security. Mail from the U.S. government will not be forwarded by the Post Office and will be returned to the issuing government agency as undeliverable. This is important for anyone who is waiting for a Social Security Card from the SSA or a change-of-status or employment authorization from USCIS.

NOTE FOR THOSE WITH PENDING PETITIONS AT USCIS: If You Have an Application Currently Pending with a DHS Office and it is pending with a DHS USCIS Service Center or other field office (i.e. for work authorization or petition for Permanent Residence) updating MySlice or filing the AR-11 online WILL NOT update your address with the respective DHS office which is handling your petition. You must inform USCIS separately in order to update your application address and ensure that you will receive notifications regarding your petition. Contact your advisor at the Slutzker Center for instructions on the best way to inform these offices of your change of address.

OBTAIN TRAVEL SIGNATURE PRIOR TO TRAVEL ABROAD AND REENTRY

  • J-1 and J-2 Visa Holders must obtain a travel signature on their DS-2019 form from the RO/ARO (J-1 Scholar Advisor at the Slutzker Center) in order to re-enter the U.S. after any international travel
  • Signatures are valid for up to one year (or up to 6 months for short-term scholars)
  • To re-enter the United States in J Visa status, you must carry your DS-2019 endorsed for travel, visa, I-94 card, passport, and appointment letter


To be able to travel outside of and return to the United States in J status, you will need to have a valid signature from either the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) on the front page of your J-1 or J-2 DS-2019 Document in the Travel Validation Section.

Anyone in J-1 or J-2 Status must visit or contact the Slutzker Center at least one week before any travel out of the United States. One week is necessary to allow the Slutzker Center Advisor enough time to sign your documents and to make any necessary changes to your DS-2019 before your travel. Travel signatures are valid for one year (6 months for Short-term Scholars) and must be valid on the date which you wish to return. Also, your DS-2019 must still be valid, meaning your program end-date must not have passed in order to be able to re-enter the United States.

Additionally, J-1 scholars seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States. If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.

With the exception of visits to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], you will also need to have a valid J-1 or J-2 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States. The J-1 and J-2 Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Visa appointments must be made with a consulate or embassy outside of the United States for the renewal or initial J-Visa.

Visa Requirements for Transit Through and Travel To Other Countries: Traveling through/to another country may involve obtaining a transit/entry visa to that country. It is best to check the consulate website of the country you wish to visit to get the current visa procedures.

Travel to Canada, Mexico and the Adjacent Islands for those in J-visa status

For visits to Canada, Mexico, and a limited number of adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], it is possible to return to the United States without having to renew an expired US visa stamp.

  • Information on Automatic Revalidation of Visa: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm#_Toc81222014
  • List of Adjacent Islands for those in J-visa status holders: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm#_Toc81222015


Note: Citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation and must always have a valid US Visa Stamp in order to return to the United States.

Please remember that based on your citizenship, you may be required to obtain a visa to enter Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent Caribbean islands. • For Canadian Visas: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.html • For Mexican Visas: http://portal.sre.gob.mx/was_eng/

J-1 EXTENSIONS AND LIMITATION OF STAY

  • J-1s cannot hold a tenure track position.
  • Maximum period of participation in a J-Program:
  •  
    • J-1 Professor or Research Scholar: Continuous five-year period on a “use or lose” basis
    • J-1 Specialist or Student Intern: One year
    •  J-1 Short-term Scholars: Six months
  • Notify your academic department and an advisor at the Slutzker Center 1-2 months before the end date indicated on your DS-2019 in order for us to process an extension.
  • All extensions must be completed in the SEVIS system before the end date on your DS-2019.


It is important to keep the information on your DS-2019 current. You must always have valid dates of stay; your dates of stay are listed in section number 3 of your DS-2019. The I-94 of an exchange visitor should be marked D/S (duration-of-status), which means that the J-visa holder is legally in the United States as long as he/she is performing the activities listed on the DS-2019, the DS-2019 has not expired, and the J-1 exchange visitor has not violated Exchange Program rules. The I-94 is the white card which should be stapled inside the passport next to the most current J-1 Visa Stamp.

Exchange visitors can also remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days beyond the expiration date on the DS-2019 provided they are in legal status. The 30-day grace period is meant to allow the J-visa holder time for travel and preparation for departure. The exchange visitor may not work during this period.

Extensions of stay may be possible if you have not exceeded the time allowed under your J-1 status. To process an extension, you will need to fill out the J-1 Extension form, which is available on the Slutzker Center website http://international.syr.edu/ in the Forms Section.

NOTE: You are not eligible for extension if you have obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.

TRANSFERRING TO ANOTHER PROGRAM AS A J-1

An exchange visitor can transfer to another program sponsor (i.e. transfer to another University) if:

  • the purpose of the program remains the same (same general subject area)
  • the visitor will remain in the same category (i.e. Professor will remain a Professor)
  • the visitor has not reached the maximum stay limit (5 years for Research Scholar/Professor; 1 year for Specialist; 1 year for Student Intern; 6 months for Short-term Scholar)
  • the visitor has not obtained a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement


In order to transfer, written release is needed from the current J-1 sponsor. Please complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer Out form which is available on the http://international.syr.edu/ website in the Forms Section and submit it to the Slutzker Center.

NOTE: You are not eligible for transfer if you have obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.

J-1 OCCASIONAL LECTURES OR CONSULTATIONS

J-1 scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations outside of Syracuse University, but they must have the advance permission of their J-program sponsor. Such lectures and consultations must be incidental to the exchange visitor’s primary program activities. If wages or other remunerations are received for such activities, the exchange visitor must act as an independent contractor. [22CFR 514.20(g)]

To get permission to conduct off-campus lectures or consultations that will involve wages or other payment, you should bring the following to the Slutzker Center before beginning such activities:

  • letter from the inviting organization stating terms and conditions of the consultation/lecture - including dates, hours, purpose of work, amount of pay, and summary of responsibilities
  • letter from your SU academic department recommending that you participate in the lecture or consultation and explaining how the activity fits in with your exchange visitor program.

Upon receipt of the above, one of the ARO’s at the Slutzker Center will issue a letter certifying that the occasional lecture/consultation has been approved.