J-1 Status Requirements
J-1 visiting students may participate in a non-degree program for no more than 24 months. J-1 students in a degree program are eligible for J-1 status throughout the degree program.
Both visiting and degree students must engage in a full course of study as unless specifically granted permission by International Services to drop below full time.
To receive a form DS-2019 and enter the U.S. in J-1 student status, students must first apply for admission to the University of Idaho. If the student is applying to an exchange program at the University of Idaho, they will be considered a non-degree student and must apply for admission through the exchange program.
If a student is applying for a degree program, an international student application is required. The Form DS-2019 supports applications for J-1 visas, requests to change to J-1 status and entering the U.S. in J-1 status.
It is the responsibility of every student to ensure that Form DS-2019 remains accurate and complete. In particular, section 3, the program dates. If the program end date will expire before completion of your J-1 studies, you must contact International Student, Scholar and Faculty Services (ISSFS) to apply for a program extension before the expiration date.
Page 1 of Form DS-2019 must be signed by a responsible officer in the ISSFS during any semester of foreign travel after initial admission. Students should visit the ISSFS about two weeks before planned foreign travel to obtain the requisite signature. Form DS-2019 must be presented at the port of entry when a student re-enters the U.S.
Page 1 of Form DS-2019 also includes Academic Training Authorization endorsements. A student may engage in authorized Academic Training employment once in possession of an Academic Training endorsed DS-2019.
Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) documents/proves a lawful admission to the U.S. in a specific visa status and any defined expiration of that status in the U.S. This form is issued to all nonimmigrants upon entry to the United States. Form I-94 is a small white card which is normally stapled in or placed inside his or her passport. The "I-94 card" (as it is commonly referred to) is a very important document. When departing the U.S. an immigration official will often wish to confirm that an individual has maintained status, and will do so by referencing the I-94 card.
For many types of nonimmigrant visa classifications the I-94 card will be issued with a defined expiration. Individuals holding these types of I-94 cards must depart the U.S. or extend or change their status before the expiration on the I-94 card.
For other types of nonimmigrant visa classifications the I-94 card will indicate "D/S" which stands for "Duration of Status". These I-94 cards do not have a defined expiration date, and remain valid provided that all conditions of lawful status in the U.S. are met. F-1 students should be issued an I-94 card indicating "D/S".
When an application to change or extend nonimmigrant status is approved, the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) will issue Form I-797 containing an I-94 card (in the lower right of the form) which should be torn off and stapled into the applicant's passport, exactly as when an I-94 card is received when admitted to the U.S.
It is important to note that loss or defacement of an I-94 card can be an expensive and lengthy replacement process. The replacement cost is $320. If your I-94 is lost or defaced, please contact International Services immediately.
Entering the U.S.
All F-1 and J-1 students (except Canadians) must have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in their passports before entering the U.S. When traveling to the U.S., you should present the following documents to the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer:
- Your University of Idaho Form I-20 or DS-2019
- Your passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of admission
- Your valid visa stamp in your passport
The immigration officer will stamp your I-20 or DS-2019 and provide you with a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (a small white card that should be placed in your passport). Please make sure that the I-94 card remains in your passport throughout your time in the U.S. The I-94 card should be marked "F-1" and "D/S" or "J-1" and "D/S." "D/S" stands for "duration of status."
Using a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp and Form I-20 or DS-2019, you may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019 (see section 5 of your I-20 or box 3 of your DS-2019). You may not enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status more than 30 days before your program start date. (Canadians and students from contiguous islands that are traveling without a visa stamp will be required to show the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee payment receipt in addition to their I-20 or DS-2019.)
All nonimmigrants in the U.S. must maintain a valid passport. Your passport is your way to return to your home country. If your passport expires while in the U.S., you are in violation of your nonimmigrant status, as you would be unable to return home. Passports should be valid for at least six months when applying for admission to the U.S. and when applying for a visa stamp. International Services recommends that individuals apply to renew their passports at least six months prior to expiration. Please contact your local embassy for information about the passport renewal process.
The period of admission on Form I-94 may be abbreviated due to passport expiration. Accordingly, please be sure to check any new I-94 card to ensure that a passport expiration date has not shortened your period of admission.
SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a U.S. Government database that maintains and manages data about international students and scholars during their stay in the United States. SEVIS allows designated school officials (DSOs) and responsible officers (ROs) to access and update this information. These officers are obligated to keep SEVIS updated with any changes impacting a student's status in the United States. DSOs and ROs at the University include admissions officers, international student advisers and the director of the International Programs Office (IPO).
Every new F-1 and J-1 student must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Students applying for visas abroad must present the fee payment receipt in order to obtain a visa stamp in their passport. Students changing to F-1 or J-1 student status from another visa status are also required to pay this fee and submit the fee payment receipt with their I-539 application for Change of Status. Canadian and students from adjacent islands (Islands of the West Indies) who are visa-exempt must submit their I-901 fee payment receipt at the time of admission to the United States.
For information on paying the SEVIS fee, please visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm.
All non-immigrants require a valid visa stamp in their passports before coming to the U.S. to work or study. Exceptions to this general rule include citizens of Canada or contiguous islands that are considered visa exempt.
In general, a valid visa stamp is also required for non-immigrants returning to the U.S. after travel abroad. An exception to this general rule exists when a student travels to only to Canada or Mexico (and certain contiguous territories) and complies with the automatic visa re-validation standards.
Visa stamps in passports are only for admission to the U.S. in a specific status, or visa "type". After admission, visa stamps do not have any substantive impact on one's status in the U.S. Therefore it is not necessary for non-immigrants maintaining status in the U.S. to possess a valid visa stamp in their passport. An expired visa may only need to be renewed for re-entry into the U.S.
These resources will have specific visa application procedures and information for your area:
- List of embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions
- 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa
Visa application procedures, appointment times and visa issuance times are subject to change without notice.
Visa application appointments must be scheduled in advance. You should plan to schedule your visa application appointment at least one month in advance. In some instances, applications must be scheduled many months in advance. Please note that you should ensure that you schedule your visa application appointment for a date when you will have all required materials. Visa applications will often require a document from the U.S. such as an I-20, DS-2019 or I-797. You should ensure that you will have this document at the time of your application.
F-1 and J-1 applicants (among others) must demonstrate to the U.S. consulate that they do not plan to reside in the U.S. permanently. These applicants should be prepared to provide the consulate with ample documentation that they plan to return to their home country. F-1 and J-1 applicants must also pay the SEVIS fee (SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) prior to their applications.
The spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of individuals in J-1 status are eligible for J-2 status. Only the spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 will be issued Form DS-2019 to support J-2 status. If you would like to obtain J-2 status, you must request a J-2 DS-2019 from International Student, Scholar and Faculty Services (ISSFS).
The J-2 status of spouses and children depends on the J-1 status of the parent or spouse. If the parent or spouse is not in status, his or her family is not in status. F-2 spouses and children must also ensure that they maintain a valid passport, valid Form DS-2019 and valid Form I-94.
Dependents eligible for J-2 status may apply for an J-2 visa stamp with their J-1 spouse or parent. Most consulates will schedule J-1 and J-2 visa applications at the same time, but it is important that consulates are informed that there will be accompanying J-2 applicants at the time that a visa application interview is scheduled. Dependents residing in the U.S. in a qualifying status may also be eligible to change to another visa status (F-1 or J-1) in the U.S. if they are residing in the U.S. in a qualifying status and begin the process well in advance of the start date on their new Form I-20 or DS-2019.
J-2 spouses and children (over the age of 14) are eligible to apply for employment authorization. Applications for employment authorization may only be filed once in the U.S. in J-2 status and can take more than three months to be adjudicated. Accordingly, no J-2 spouse or child should expect to begin any employment within three months of arriving in the U.S.
To apply for J-2 employment authorization, a J-2 applicant should prepare the following:
- Cover letter from the J-2 stating why the employment is desired, indicating the source and amount of support for the J-1, and specifically stating that the income derived from employment will not be used for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor. A J-2 does not need to demonstrate financial need to receive employment authorization.
- Complete Form I-765.
- Two passport photos. Print your name and I-94 admission number in pencil on the back of each photo, and put the photos in an envelope and attach it to the petition.
- Photocopies of any previous employment authorization cards.
- Photocopy of the page in your passport containing your photograph and the page containing any extended validity amendments.
- Photocopies of your Form DS-2019 and your spouse's or parent's DS-2019.
- Photocopies of your current Form I-94 (front and back) and photocopies of your spouse's or parent's Form I-94 (front and back).
- Check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, Web site for comprehensive instructions and to confirm the filing fee and location.)
Once all materials are assembled, you should make a complete photocopy of the package and send it by courier to the appropriate USCIS Service Center. Visit the USCIS website to confirm which service center, and if you should file with the service center having jurisdiction over your current place of residence.
Each J-1 nonimmigrant transferring to the University of Idaho must have his or her current program sponsor release his or her Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record to the U of I after confirming that U of I will sponsor a J-1 program. J-1 students transferring to U of I must continue to meet all the qualifications for J-1 status including funding.
J-1 nonimmigrant's transferring out of U of I should complete and submit the Transfer Request Form to International Services during office hours at least two weeks prior to transferring.