Completion of Degree
Individuals in J-1 status may be eligible to extend their program end date (the expiration date in Section 3 of Form DS-2019). It is extremely important that an application for program extension should be made with the ISSFS before the DS-2019 expires. Program extensions are not granted after the DS-2019 expires.
Scholars should contact their department to coordinate a program extension with the ISSFS.
Students wishing to apply for a program extension must bring the following to the ISSFS during office hours:
- Extension of Time to Complete Program Form
- Proof of funding
- Proof of valid health insurance
If you will complete your program before the expiration date on Form DS-2019, please contact the ISSFS to obtain a new Form DS-2019 documenting your shortened program.
J-1 nonimmigrants may remain the U.S. for 30 days following the expiration of Form DS-2019. It is extremely important that you note that you may not apply for a J-1-status-related benefit during the 30-day grace period
During the 30-day grace period:
- You may not apply for admission to the U.S. in J-1 status.
- You may not apply for a program extension.
- You may not apply for employment authorization.
- You may not work or study.
Unless you file a timely application to change status for a start date before the end of the 30-day grace period, you must depart the U.S. before the end of the grace period.
If a student decides to withdraw from the university without completing their degree, they have 10 days in which to leave the U.S. – there is no 30-day grace period. The student must contact International Student, Scholar and Faculty Services and fill out the Withdrawing from U of I Form.
One of the most important aspects of J-1 status is the two-year home residency requirement. The J-1 classification is designed to be a method by which individuals from around the world can visit the U.S. to gain or augment specific skills, and then leverage those skills in their home country.
For this reason, many individuals residing temporarily in the U.S. in J-1 status will not be able to remain in the U.S. at the completion of their J-1 status (i.e., will not be able to change to another status or apply to become a permanent resident), and will be required to reside in their home country for two years before applying for H or L status or applying to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S. The U.S. law requiring a two-year home residency is Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
In some cases, a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement may be possible. Additionally, being subject to 212(e) does not preclude one from traveling abroad applying for any nonimmigrant visa other than H or L, and does not preclude one from eventually obtaining any nonimmigrant status other than H or L.
You may be subject to the two-year home residency requirement if:
- You plan to come to the U.S. to engage in graduate medical training;
- Your expertise or program involves skills listed on the U.S. Department of State's Skills List;
- Your program has received funds from an agency of the U.S. government; or
- Your program has received funds from an agency of your home government.
Information about whether or not you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement should appear on your visa stamp and/or Form DS-2019. Note that if no information appears on either your visa stamp or Form DS-2019, you may still be subject to the 212(e) requirement.