Maintaining J-1 Status


As a J-1 student, you have been admitted to Dartmouth College for a specific period of time to engage in a very particular academic activity as indicated on your Form DS-2019. Keeping this in mind, you must do the following in order to maintain your J-1 immigration status:

  • Begin program by program start date on Form DS-2019 and check-in with J-1 program sponsor for SEVIS program validation
  • Maintain valid passport, Form DS-2019 and travel signature
  • Engage only in activities appropriate to the J-1 sub-category and the specific program
  • Do not engage in any unauthorized employment
  • Maintain health insurance coverage that meets U.S. Department of State requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependent family members for duration of program
  • Report address and program change to J-1 program sponsor/ARO within 10 days of change
  • Follow the rules for the J-1 grace period
  • Follow proper procedures for shortening of program, extension of program, or transfer of J-1 record to another J-1 program sponsor

For more information, visit the Department of State's website.

Accruing Unlawful Presence

On August 9, 2018 USCIS issued policy guidance on the accrual of unlawful presence for F, M and J nonimmigrants.  Under the proposed policy, USCIS would begin counting unlawful presence when there is a violation of status. The violation could be intentional or unintentional, knowing or unknowing.  Accrual of unlawful presence days begins the day after a violation occurs.  Accrual of more than 180 days of unlawful presence triggers a bar to reentry to the U.S. of three years.  Accrual of more than 365 days of unlawful presence triggers a bar to reentry to the U.S. of ten years.

The Department of Homeland Security was stopped by a federal court from implementing the unlawful presence policy, and during the appeals process the government withdrew its own appeal, ending the litigation.  It is still possible that the federal government will seek to adopt this change through the rulemaking process and introduce it as a new regulation rather than a change in policy.  OVIS will provide updates as new information becomes available.

It is crucial that J-1 Exchange Visitors understand and adhere to the rules governing maintenance of status.  OVIS works closely with our J-1 student and scholar populations to monitor data reported in SEVIS, advise students, scholars and other Exchange Visitors on maintaining valid status including reporting obligations, travel and employment restrictions, and to communicate changing policy and regulations.  J-1 Exchange Visitors, in turn, are responsible for understanding and following the rules and regulations governing their J-1 status. 

If you have questions about maintaining your status, contact your OVIS advisor.