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As a J-1 Exchange Visitor you have many responsibilities and obligations that you must fulfill during your time in the U.S.  It is important to understand the laws and regulations affecting your immigration status.

Maintain Your Program Objective

You were granted a DS-2019 document based on a specific academic objective agreed upon between you and your host department. The Department of State requires that this objective be maintained throughout your stay in J-1 status. If you plan to change your objective in any way (including a change in faculty sponsor, change of lab, change of department, etc.) you must inquire with the OIS in order to ensure that the change is permitted.

Maintain a Valid DS-2019

Do not allow your DS-2019 to expire.  Work with your department to request an extension if you need additional time to complete your program objective. The J-1 Extension Request should be initiated by your department.  Note: extensions, transfers, and a change of status to another immigration status can take significant time to process.

Maintain Your Health Insurance

You and any accompanying dependents are required to maintain health insurance for the entire period of your stay in the U.S. Your health insurance coverage must meet specific criteria as outlined by J-1 federal regulations.

Keep Your Local Address Updated

You are required to update your address with the OIS within ten days of moving. Please send an email to J1-Scholars@jhmi.edu (exchange visitors in School of Medicine, Nursing or Public Health) or ois@jhu.edu (all others) with ADDRESS UPDATE in the subject line.  It is also important to make sure that your department is notified of your address update.  Postdoctoral Fellows and students should provide address updates to your school's registrar as well.  

Seek advice from the OIS if you are considering a Leave of Absence (LOA)

LOAs are typically not permitted for J-1 scholars.  Department of State considers a J-1 exchange visitor SEVIS record status of “active” to be indicative of continued program participation.  In addition, while a J-1 record is in active status, the University (as the J program sponsor) is required to monitor the progress and welfare of the exchange visitor and the exchange visitor is required to maintain health insurance.  An LOA represents a break in program participation and is therefore not permitted while in J-1 status.  Department of State has indicated that program sponsors shall terminate the J-1 record if the exchange visitor is no longer pursuing activities for which he or she was admitted to the U.S.  The OIS strongly encourages exchange visitors to contact our office if they are considering an LOA as it may have negative effects on his or her J-1 status and the ability to return to the U.S. in J-1 status.  The only exceptions that may be made are in cases when the LOA is because of a personal medical issue or family medical issue. 

Reimbursement/Work Authorization Pre-Approved by the OIS

Any off-campus work authorization or reimbursement must be pre-approved in writing by an OIS advisor before the date of the proposed work.

Notify the OIS of Early Completion

If you are planning to complete your J-1 program more than 30 days prior to the end date on your DS-2019, notify the OIS as well as your host department by submitting the Notice of Departure Form. This information must be updated in SEVIS so that you will not be held accountable for the additional time that you are not in the program. 
 

Transferring to another J-1 Program (outside of JHU) or transferring to another JHU Department (interdepartmental transfer)

If you intend to transfer to a new program within the U.S. (outside of JHU) you must notify the OIS by submitting the SEVIS Transfer Out Request Form.  This form should be submitted at least 15 days before the date of transfer.

If you intend to transfer to another department within JHU, you must notify the OIS by submitting the J-1 Interdepartmental Transfer Form.  This must be submitted at least 15 days before the date of transfer.

 

If you have questions about J-1 Exchange Visitor status, please contact the OIS at j1-scholars@jhmi.edu.