J-1 Scholars: How to Maintain Your J-1 Status While in the U.S.

To stay in lawful J-1 status in the United States, you must remember these important requirements: 

  1. Report to OIS within 30 days of DS-2019 start date
  2. Updated your local address within 10 days of moving
  3. Maintain sufficient health insurance
  4. Keep your immigration documents valid and current
  5. Never work off-campus without prior authorization
  6. Notify the OIS when you leave the United States or change visa status
  7. If you travel outside the United States, make sure to have the proper re-entry documents
  8. Program completion and departing the U.S.

1. Report to OIS within 30 Days of the DS-2019 Start Date

It is REQUIRED BY LAW that you come to the Office of International Services when you first arrive at UM whether it is your first time in the United States or if you are transferring from another U.S. institution. Please schedule an appointment to check-in with the OIS upon your arrival to Baltimore. Failure to check-in with the OIS could result in the automatic inactivation of your J-1 sevis record. When you come to check-in, bring your passport, I-94 card, and DS-2019 form.

2. Update Your Local Address

The immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the U.S.  You are required to use a physical residential address and NOT a P.O. box or a department address. Please notify the OIS by email. If you are a university employee, please see http://hr.umaryland.edu/hris/ss_resources.htm#ADDRESS for information about updating your address with the University, Central Payroll Bureau and benefits providers.

3. Maintain Health Insurance

The Department of State requires J-1 Exchange Visitors, and their dependents, have adequate insurance for the duration of the J-1 status.  Health insurance MUST meet the following requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Medical evacuation to the J Exchange Visitor's home country in the amount of $10,000
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  • Deductible no higher than $500 per accident or illness
  • Co-insurance paid by the individual may be no higher than 25%

See the full regulation.

List of third party providers if UM is not covering your insurance:

If you select health insurance coverage through a third party provide you should carefully review the details of the plan to make sure you are selecting the best option for you and your family.

4. Keep your Immigration Documents VALID and CURRENT

You should make photocopies of your immigration documents and keep the copies and originals in a safe place.

Keep photocopies of:
    •  Your passport pages with your personal information and picture
    •  The passport page containing the U.S. visa stamp
    •  Both sides of your I-94 Form (learn about transition to electronic I-94)
    •  Your DS-2019

  • Keep your passport valid
    You should keep your passport valid for at least six months in to the future while you are in the U.S. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. You can find the contact information for your consulate at: http://embassy.org/embassies/.
  • J-1 Extension
    The end date of your J-1 status can be found in section #3 of the DS-2019 (not the end date of your visa stamp). If your appointment at UM will continue beyond this date you will need to request an extension of your J-1 status.  This must happen before the DS-2019 date of expiration.  The OIS recommends starting the extension process 2-3 months before the DS-2019 expires. Click here for the J-1 Extension/Amendment Request Form (pdf).
  • Discuss Transfer Plans with the OIS
    If you plan to transfer to another institution during or after your program at UM, the OIS will need to assist you with transferring your J-1 SEVIS record.  Please come to the OIS BEFORE the end of your program to discuss the transfer process 

5. Never Work Off-campus Without Prior Authorization

J-1 scholars sponsored by UM may only work in the position, and for the department, indicated on their DS-2019 form.  If you decide to change positions or sponsoring departments, contact the OIS before making this change. Additional incidental employment, short-term lectures, consultations, etc. must first be approved by the OIS.  

6. Notify OIS When You Leave the U.S. or Change Visa Status

When you finish your program and leave the U.S. permanently or change to another visa status, please notify the OIS.   

7. Traveling Outside the United States

Please visit our Traveling Outside the United States page for more information. 

8. Program Completion and Departing the U.S.

J-1 Exchange Visitors must depart the U.S. within 30 days of the DS-2019 program end date, unless the J-1 has applied for a change of status or has transferred his or her J-1 status to another institution before the end of the 30-day grace period.