J-1 Students

How to maintain your J-1 status

PLEASE NOTE: This information is primarily for J-1 students for whom the sponsoring agency is the University of Maryland, Baltimore. If your DS-2019 was produced by another agency, you should be contacting that agency for immigration advice. To stay in lawful J-1 student status in the United States, you must remember these important requirements:

  1. Report to the OIS within 30 Days of the DS-2019 Start Date
    It is REQUIRED BY LAW that you come to the Office of International Services within 30 days of the start date on your DS-2019, whether it is your first time in the United States or if you are transferring from another institution. The start date is listed in Item 3 of your DS-2019.
      
  2. Always Enroll Full Time
    J-1 students must maintain full-time student status each semester until they receive their degrees. For undergraduate students, full time is 12 or more credits each semester. For graduate students, full time is 9 or more credits each semester. There are rare exceptions to this regulation, however, so please talk to the OIS staff before you drop below full-time enrollment or take a leave of absence. The OIS may authorize part-time enrollment. Please see our Part-time Authorization Request Form for eligibility criteria. You must have authorization from the OIS before dropping below full time.
      
  3. Update Your Local Address
    Immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the United States. You may do this by updating your local address in your SURFS Account. You are required to use a physical residential address and not a P.O. box or university department address.
     
  4. Maintain the Required Health Insurance
    U.S. immigration regulations require that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents maintain a specified level of health and accident insurance. The minimum levels are:
    1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
    2. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
    3. Repatriation of remains expenses in the amount of $25,000
    4. Medical evacuation expenses in the amount of $50,000
    5. Co-insurance paid by the individual may be no higher than 25 percent

      All of the above are covered by the UMB student health insurance plan (you do have to add any J-2 dependents to the plan or cover them by an equivalent health insurance plan).

  5. 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 your U.S. visa stamp
    • Both sides of your I-94 Form
    • Your DS-2019

    Keep Your Passport Valid
    You should keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future while you are studying in the United States. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the United States to renew your passport. You can find the contact information for your country's embassy at http://www.embassy.org/.

    J-1 Extension
    The end date of your immigration status is written on your DS-2019 as the end date in Item #3 (not the end date of your visa stamp). If you are unable to complete your course of study by that time, you must apply for an extension BEFORE the DS-2019 end date. You must file your program extension with the OIS or your own sponsor at least two months before it expires. For more information on how to extend your DS-2019, click here.

    Discuss Transfer Plans with an OIS Advisor
    If you plan to transfer to or from another school or sponsoring agency, the OIS and your prospective sponsoring agency will need to complete the immigration transfer procedure. Permission to transfer is granted only if the transfer contributes to the realization of the exchange visitor's original purpose in coming to the United States. See our Transferring Schools page for more information.
     
  6. Never Work Off-Campus Without Prior Authorization
    Employment opportunities for international students in the United States are restricted by law. In general, there are two types of employment: on-campus and off-campus employment.

    Enrolled J-1 students holding a DS-2019 from UMB are permitted to work on campus for 20 hours a week during academic year and 40 hours a week during summer and winter breaks. If your DS-2019 was produced by another agency, that agency must give you permission to work on the UM campus. The OIS must first approve of your on-campus employment before you begin these activities.

    Off-campus Employment: Off-campus employment is any type of work or service performed in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or any other benefit that is not on the UMB campus. An authorization letter is required before any off-campus work is allowed. The authorization letter must be written by the institution or agency that produced your DS-2019.

    Off-Campus Employment Options for J-1 Students:
    • Academic Training: J-1 students in degree program are permitted an overall limit of 18 months academic training within their field of study. For postdoctoral training, the overall limit is 36 months. See Academic Training for more information.
    • Economic Hardship: If a J-1 student needs employment during the academic year because of financial hardship arising from unforeseen circumstances, the program sponsor may authorize it. Such employment cannot interfere with full-time pursuit of the exchange visitor's program objectives. Written permission from the program sponsor is required for on-campus and off-campus work.
     
  7. Notify the OIS When You Leave the United States or Change Visa Status
    When you finish your program and leave the United States permanently or change to another visa status (for instance, if an employer plans to do an H-1B visa application for you after you graduate), please notify the OIS.
     
  8. Traveling Outside the United States
    Please visit our Travel Information page for more information.

J-1 student employment

Employment Defined: Employment is any type of work performed or service rendered in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or any other benefit for the work performed and the position is normally an unpaid position, this activity is considered to be volunteer work.

Volunteering Defined: A position is considered voluntary if it is performed for a charitable nonprofit organization and is unpaid for everyone, U.S. and international students alike. There are laws that prohibit the misplacement of a U.S. worker. Volunteering is not soley based on the international's willingness to forgo compensation.

Full-time vs. Part-time Defined: Part-time employment is 20 hours or less a week. Full-time employment is 21 hours or more a week.

Learn more about:

Traveling outside the United States

Re-entering the United States
To re-enter the United States, you need to have the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid J-1 visa
  • A current DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
  • Proof of financial support (bank statements and/or scholarship, financial aid)
  • Proof of enrollment (certificate of enrollment or transcript)

Renewing Your Visa Stamp
If you or your dependents need to renew your visas to re-enter the United States, you must apply in person to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • Current passport-size photographs
  • A valid DS-2019
  • Proof of financial support
  • Proof of enrollment
  • Any additional required paperwork — visit the U.S. Consulate's website where you plan to apply.

Travel Signature
J exchange visitors are required to have their DS-2019s signed by the OIS before traveling outside the United States if they wish to return.

  • The signature is valid for 12 months.

If you require a travel signature, please drop off your DS-2019 with the OIS and it will be ready for pick up after 10 a.m. the following business day.

Visa Exceptions

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements.

See Automatic Revalidation for information on traveling with an expired visa.

Traveling to a Country Other than Your Country of Citizenship

Before traveling to another country of which you are not a citizen, check the United States re-entry requirements as well as that country's travel requirements. A list of U.S embassies and consulates can be found here. Foreign embassies and consulates in the United States can be found here.

Canada
Please note that you can re-enter the United States from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if you meet the criteria. Check the Canadian visa requirements here. If you need a Canadian visa, you can download the application from the Canadian consulate website.

DS-2019 extensions

J-1 students are required to have a valid DS-2019 in their possession at all times. If you require more time to complete the requirements for your degree due to academic or medical reasons, then you may apply for an extension of your DS-2019. Failure to extend your DS-2019 by the expiration date may result in a loss of valid J-1 status. You can locate your DS-2019 expiration date in Section 3 of your DS-2019. The OIS recommends starting the extension process at least 4 weeks before the expiration of your DS-2019.

Please send the following documents to the OIS to complete the extension of your J-1 status:

Financial documentation showing sufficient funds for the period of extension. A detailed cost of attendance can be found here. If you have J-2 dependents, please show an additional $5,000 per dependent.


Once the OIS has received these items, we will review your case to determine whether or not you meet the lawful eligibility requirements for an extension of your Form I-20. If eligible, the OIS will issue you a new, extended I-20 with a new program completion or expiration date. It will take the OIS approximately 10 business days to process extension requests.

If you have any questions about the J-1 extension process, please contact the OIS.

J-2 dependents

Only the spouse and minor children (under age 21) who accompany the J-1 visa holder to the United States may receive J-2 dependent status. Their eligibility to stay legally in the United States, as well as to extend their stay, is contingent upon the J-1 visa holder maintaining their legal status and extending their program in a timely manner.

All other family members must apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor’s visa to gain entry to the United States.

J-2 and Employment

A person in J-2 status may apply to USCIS for permission to accept employment. Permission will be granted, in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), only if the purpose of the employment is NOT for supporting the J-1 Exchange Visitor.

J-2 employment may be authorized for up to 12 months or for the J-1 principal’s authorized stay as indicated on Form I-94 and Form DS-2019, whichever is shorter. If the J-1 principal’s authorized period of stay is extended or is longer than 12-months, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may be renewed.

After obtaining the EAD, the J-2 spouse may apply for a Social Security card and will be subject to federal, state, and local income tax on their earnings.

J-2 Employment Authorization Procedures

  • Form I-765 with (c)(5) filled in Section #16
  • Check or money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $410
  • Two recent Passport-style photos
  • Legible copy of J-2's Passport ID page, I-94 card, or online printout, and visa stamp
  • Legible copy of J-1's Passport ID page, I-94 card, or online printout, and visa stamp
  • Legible copy of your current EAD card (front and back), if filing an extension of your EAD
  • A letter written by the J-2 requesting employment authorization and indicating the income derived from the employment will NOT be used to support the J-1.
  • Mail completed application to USCIS. It can take up to 90 days for the EAD card to be issued. You may not begin employment until you receive the card.

J-2 and School

Currently there are no regulation restrictions on study for J-2 dependents.

How to Obtain a DS-2019 for Your Dependent

Submit the Add Dependents e-form in Sunapsis.