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The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is pleased to host students and scholars in its Exchange Visitor Program as well as those who are under the program sponsorship of outside agencies and organizations.
A Brief History
The J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) program was created by the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961 to facilitate educational and cultural exchange. The overall purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), is to increase mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchange between people of the United States and the world. The exchange programs at UMB seek to do this primarily through research, instruction, and study.
UMB's J-1 program allows for nonclinical instruction, research, and educational exchange. As a J-1 EV Program sponsor, UMB is obligated to comply with the U.S. Department of State's procedures and regulations. The J-1 program is divided into categories that correspond to the purpose of the visit and the proposed activities.
UMB is approved to sponsor the following categories:
- Short-Term Scholar — Appointments lasting no more than six months
- Professor/Research Scholar — Appointments of a minimum of three weeks to a maximum of five years
- Student Interns
- Bachelor’s Students
- Master’s Students
- Doctoral Students
- Nondegree Students
Any J-1 Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar, or Professor who will not be on UMB payroll must complete the Visiting Scientist/Scholar Agreement and submit it to the Office of Research and Development (ORD) for approval.
No staff titles are eligible for J-1 sponsorship. Departments should consult their dean’s office for an outline of UMB appointments and corresponding titles.
J-1 Short-Term Scholars, Research Scholars, and Professors
J-1 Short-Term Scholars, Research Scholars, and Professors are limited to employment at UMB that is consistent with the intent of their program and their J-1 category. Under certain circumstances, they may be approved for employment at other locations. This employment, in addition to their activities at UMB, must be consistent with their original program objective (i.e., occasional lectures, consultations at other academic institutions). and they must have OIS authorization in writing before beginning such employment.
J-1 Students (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Nondegree Students)
J-1 Students (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Nondegree Students) may be authorized to work on-campus or off-campus pursuant to Academic Training (AT).
To stay in lawful J-1 status in the United States, you must remember these important requirements:
- Complete Online J-1 Scholar Check-in within 30 Days of the DS-2019 Start Date
It is REQUIRED BY LAW that you complete the online J-1 Scholar Check-in e-form in Sunapsis when you first arrive at UMB whether it is your first time in the United States or if you are transferring from another U.S. institution. Failure to check online could result in the automatic inactivation of your J-1 SEVIS record.
- Update Your Local Address
Immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the United States. You are required to use a physical residential address and NOT a P.O. box or a department address. Please update the OIS via the e-form in Sunapsis. If you are a University employee, please see Human Resource Service's website for information about updating your address with the University, Central Payroll Bureau, and benefits providers.
- Maintain Health Insurance
The Department of State requires J-1 Exchange Visitors, and their dependents, to have adequate insurance for the duration of the J-1 status. Health insurance MUST meet the following requirements:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- Medical evacuation to the J Exchange Visitor's home country in the amount of $50,000
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
- 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 here.
List of third-party providers if UMB is not covering your insurance:
1. ISO Insurance
2. Gateway USA
3. IMG Global
4. VISIT International Health Insurance
5. International Student Insurance
*If you select health insurance coverage through a third-party provider, you should carefully review the details of the plan to make sure you are selecting the best option for you and your family.
- 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
- Your I-94. Download here. (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 into the future while you are 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 consulate at http://embassy.org/embassies/.
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 UMB 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 two to three months before the DS-2019 expires. Your faculty supervisor should contact your department administrator to begin the process.
Discuss Transfer Plans with the OIS
If you plan to transfer to another institution during or after your program at UMB, 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.
- Never Work Off-Campus Without Prior Authorization
J-1 scholars sponsored by UMB 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.
- Notify 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, please notify the OIS.
- Traveling Outside the United States
Please visit our Traveling Outside the United States page for more information.
- Program Completion and Departing the United States
J-1 Exchange Visitors must depart the United States within 30 days of the DS-2019 program end date, unless the J-1 has applied for a change of status or has transferred their J-1 status to another institution before the end of the 30-day grace period.
Exchange visitors must have insurance in effect that covers the exchange visitor and their dependents for sickness or accident during the period of time that an exchange visitor participates in the sponsor's exchange visitor program as reflected by the start and end dates on the exchange visitor's DS-2019.
The minimum coverage is detailed in the regulation located at 62.14.
Effective May 15, 2015, the minimum coverage is:
|Medical Benefits per accident or illness of at least||$100,000|
|Medical evacuation to the J Exchange Visitor's home country in the amount||$50,000|
|Repatriation of remains in the amount||$25,000|
|Deductible per accident or illness no higher than||$500|
|Co-insurance paid by the individual may be no higher than||25 percent|
Purchasing Health Insurance
If you need to purchase health insurance, here is a list of a few companies that provide policies specifically designed for those on J-1 programs.
- ISO Insurance
- Gateway USA
- IMG Global
- VISIT International Health Insurance
- International Student Insurance
Understanding the U.S. Health Care System
Not sure how health insurance in the United States works? Watch this short video on the U.S. health care system.
To re-enter the United States, you need the following documents:
- A valid passport
- A valid J-1 visa
- A current DS-2019 with a valid travel signature Travel Signature
- Evidence you continue to engage in the activities appropriate to your status (your offer letter, your most recent paycheck stubs, etc.)
Please also check Traveling to a Country Other than Your Country of Citizenship.
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.
*J visa holders are required to have their DS-2019s signed by the OIS before traveling outside the United States if they wish to return. 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.
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
- Letter from the academic department
- Any additional required paperwork — visit the U.S. consulate's website where you plan to apply.
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements. See Automatic Visa Revalidation for information on traveling with an expired visa.
The U.S. Department of State has implemented regulations that prevent repeat usage of some J Exchange Visitor categories. These regulations are called the 12- and 24-month "bars." These bars are entirely separate from the "Two-Year Home Residency Requirement," where some J visa holders must return to their home country before being able to move to other types of U.S. visas, such as the H-1B.
Individuals who have been in the United States for more than six months within the last 12 months in J-1 immigration status are not eligible to enter the United States as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a 12-month period.
The only exception is the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category, which does not count toward the 12-month bar.
The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the United States in a different immigration status (F-1, H-1B, O-1, etc.).
Individuals who participate in the J Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Research Scholar categories are subject to a 24-month bar on "repeat participation" in that same category. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the United States as a J visa holder in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a 24-month period.
The 24-month bar occurs regardless of the duration of the program. Whenever the Exchange Visitor ends their academic appointment and returns home, the bar goes in effect. The Exchange Visitor will again be eligible for the J Research Scholar or Professor category after being out of that status for 24 months.
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
- 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
- Copies of J-1 and J-2 DS-2019s.
- Legible copy of J-2's Passport ID page, I-94 card (front and back — if last U.S. entry was before April 30, 2013), and visa stamp
- Legible copy of J-1's Passport ID page, I-94 card (front and back — if last U.S. entry was before April 30, 2013), 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. Current USCIS processing times are 3-5 months 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
Review the section Using Sunapsis to Submit Requests and submit an e-form for each dependent for whom you would like a DS-2019 issued.
The Office of International Services is using Sunapsis to receive electronic requests from J-1 Scholars.
What can you do in Sunapsis?
- Add a New Dependent — Obtain a DS-2019 for your spouse or child (under age 21)
- Notice of Departure — Inform the OIS of your plan to depart the U.S. at the end, or prior to the end, of your DS-2019 program end date
- Transfer Out Request — If you will be leaving UMB and transferring your J-1 record to a new university
- Incidental Employment Authorization — If you have a paid lecture or consultation activity related to your research and supported by your UMB faculty supervisor.
- Out of Country Request — If you will be working on your UMB research from abroad (this is a rare occurrence)
How do I use Sunapsis?
If you are a J-1 Scholar Employee of UMB, follow these instructions: Sunapsis Instructions for J-1 Scholar Employees
If you are a Visiting J-1 Scholar, follow these instructions: Sunapsis Instructions for J-1 Visiting Scholars.
If you run into any technical problems, please notify our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
J-1 Exchange Visitors should be aware of the Department of State's Welcome Brochure.
In emergency or urgent situations, you may contact the Exchange Visitor Program Emergency Hotline to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of State. 1-866-283-9090 is a toll-free, 24/7 telephone number.