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 new policy guidance on the accrual of unlawful presence for F, M and J nonimmigrants.  Under the new policy, USCIS will begin counting unlawful presence when there is a violation of status. The violation may 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.

Maintaining lawful status has always been critical, but this change in policy makes the penalties for a violation of status much more severe.  OVIS works closely with our J-1 Exchange Visitor population to monitor data reported in SEVIS, advise Exchange Visitors and their dependents 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.