J-1 Scholars & Interns

PROVOST’S VISITING SCHOLAR REQUEST FORM & HR NEW FACULTY/STAFF SETUP FORM

If a Visiting Scholar will not be paid by the sponsoring department, departments must separately complete the Visiting Scholar Request Form and submit it to Carolyn Boshell, cmboshel@aalan.ua.edu, in Academic Affairs for approval.  Paid employees will be entered in the UA payroll system as they would for any other new hire, and the Visiting Scholar Request Form is not required.

Additionally, in order to give an unpaid Visiting Scholar access to Email, WiFi, UA Libraries and other campus facilities, the sponsoring department must complete a New Faculty/Staff Setup” Form and submit it to Human Resources Payroll Input (payrollinput@fa.ua.edu or Box 870128) for processing into the Banner system.

OVERVIEW OF J-1 VISA

The J-1 visa is for persons who are coming to the U.S. for a short-term program in a variety of different areas, such as: study, long-term research, short-term research, teaching, or training. The University of Alabama authorizes documents only for professors, research scholars, specialists, student interns, and students.  The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) DS-2019 is the document issued by ISSS to any person approved by The University of Alabama for a J-1 program.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is a temporary program, and J-1 visa holders should have no immigrant intent.  This visa category should not be used by departments or internationals for permanent employment positions or to seek Permanent Residency in the United States.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor classification authorized by I.N.A. § 101(a)(15)(J) was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961 [Public Law 87-256, as amended, 22 U.S.C. § 2451, et seq.]. The overall purpose of that Act and the objective of the Exchange Visitor classification is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.”  The Department of State issues J-1 visas and establishes and administers the federal regulations and policies governing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL J-1 SCHOLARS, PROFESSORS, SPECIALISTS, AND STUDENT INTERNS
There are a few basic requirements for all J-1 Exchange Visitors:

  1. Intent to pursue appropriate activity (such as research, teaching, or training)
  2. Intent to return to home country (as determined by consular officer)
  3. Sufficient funding for program – minimum $1200/month for independently-funded scholars, professors, specialists, and student interns
  4. Appropriate background for program activity (i.e. the J-1 Exchange Visitor meets appropriate degree requirements)
  5. Adequate English proficiency – for scholars, professors, and specialists, adequate language proficiency must be determined by the host department through an objective measure (applicants who are non-native English speakers or who are not residents/citizens of a country where English is an official language must submit either exam results from a recognized English exam, submit signed documentation from an academic institution confirming proficiency, or be evaluated by the UA Host department for their English language proficiency); for J-1 Student Interns, an official English Proficiency is also required (TOEFL, IELTS, or official evaluation by an instructor of English languages at the student’s home institution)

LIMITATIONS – DURATION OF STAY AND EMPLOYMENT

J-1 Research Scholar/Professor

  • Limited to a maximum stay of 5 years to engage in research and/or teaching
  • Independently-funded scholars are limited to 1 year of sponsorship with eligibility for annual extensions
  • J-1 Research Scholars/Professors may NOT hold or be candidates for tenure
  • Must have a specific objective sponsored by UA, such as to conduct research, teach, or consult
  • 12/24-month bars may prevent J-1 Research Scholar/Professor sponsorship of those who have previously held J visa

J-1 Short-Term Scholar

  • Limited strictly to 6 months; Short-Term Scholars may not extend stay beyond 6 months
  • 12/24-month bars do not apply to J-1 Short-Term Scholars who wish to return in J-1 Professor/Research Scholar category

J-1 Specialist

  • Limited to a maximum stay of 12 months
  • J-1 Specialist may not fill a permanent or long-term position of employment in the U.S.
  • 12-month bar applies to J-1 Specialists who wish to return in J-1 Professor/Research Scholar category

J-1 Physician

  • Limited to a maximum stay of 7 years of progressive training
  • Physician Trainee applicants to the University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency – Tuscaloosa must apply following the steps here: https://fmr.ua.edu/applicants/
  • Sponsored only by The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) – www.ecfmg.org
  • UA’s ECFMG Training Program Liaison (TPL) is Alison Adams at aradams@ua.edu or 205-348-1370
  • NOTE: Under no circumstances should a person pursuing medical training apply to come to UA under the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor categories

J-1 Student Intern

  • Limited to a maximum stay of 12 months
  • J-1 Student Intern category is meant to host international students who are currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States
  • J-1 Student Intern may not fill a permanent or long-term position of employment in the U.S.
  • 12-month bar applies to J-1 Student Interns who wish to return in J-1 Professor/Research Scholar category

J-1 Student

  • UA is designated to host international students at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in both matriculated/degree programs and non-matriculated/non-degree programs
  • Sponsoring an UA student for J-1 status is typically reserved for students who receive government or external funding
  • The decision to sponsor an international student for J-1 student status is typically made at the time of admission to The University of Alabama
  • 12-month bar applies to J-1 Students who wish to return in J-1 Professor/Research Scholar category

APPLICATION STEPS TO HOST A J-1 RESEARCH SCHOLAR, PROFESSOR, OR SPECIALIST

Step 1: Instructions for the J-1 Applicant
The J-1 Applicant should complete Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the J-1 Scholar Application Packet and sign the statement at the end of Section 3.

In addition to completing Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the  J-1 Scholar Application Packet, the J-1 Applicant should submit the following materials to his/her host department:

  • A copy/scan of the J-1 Applicant’s main passport information page (and the main passport page for each J-2 dependent family member who will accompany the J-1 to the U.S.)
  • If the J-1 Applicant will be supported by personal funding or by funding from an institute or organization other than The University of Alabama, the J-1 Applicant must include any necessary financial documentation (award letter, bank statement, salary letter, etc.) and indicate the sources of funding in Section 2. The amount should be at least $1200/month for the J-1 Applicant and $500/month for each for a dependent J-2 spouse or child(ren)
  • Non-native English speakers and those who are not residents/citizens of countries where English is an official language must provide proof of English Language Proficiency, to be reviewed and approved by the UA Host Department.  Proof of proficiency is a requirement of the US Department of State, and can be shown by any of the following means:
    • Evidence of a recognized English language test, such as the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Cambridge English Test, TOEIC or CEF
    • Signed documentation from an academic institution, verifying that the scholar has sufficient language skills to function on a day-to-day basis in the U.S. academic work environment
    • A documented evaluation by the UA Host Department to be conducted by video teleconference or phone using the form on page 7 of the J-1 Scholar Application Packet

Step 2: Instructions for the UA Host Department
After receiving all documents from the J-1 Applicant, the department should complete Sections 4 and 5 of the J-1 Scholar Application Packet and submit the entire Packet (Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) along with accompanying proof of English proficiency, financial documentation, and passport copies to International Student & Scholar Services.

Departments must also include a copy of an appointment/invitation letter for any incoming J-1 Scholar or Professor.  The appointment/invitation letter is required for both paid and unpaid visiting scholars and professors.  A sample appointment/invitation letter for unpaid J-1 Scholars can be found on page 8 of the  J-1 Scholar Application Packet.

If a Visiting Scholar will not be paid by the sponsoring department, departments must separately complete the Visiting Scholar Request Form and submit it to Carolyn Boshell, cmboshel@aalan.ua.edu, in Academic Affairs for approval.  Paid employees will be entered in the UA payroll system as they would for any other new hire, and the Visiting Scholar Request Form is not required.

Additionally, in order to give an unpaid Visiting Scholar access to UA Libraries, Email, WiFi and other campus facilities, the sponsoring department must complete a “New Faculty/Staff Setup” Form and submit it to Human Resources Payroll Input (payrollinput@fa.ua.edu or Box 870128) for processing into the Banner system.

Note to applicants and departments: The University of Alabama will not provide J-1 sponsorship longer than one year at a time for independently-funded scholars; independently-funded J-1 scholars must seek an annual extension of their J-1 sponsorship for continuance of their program.

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING PHYSICIANS AND FOREIGN MEDICAL GRADUATES:  Physician Trainee applicants to the Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency must apply following the steps here: https://fmr.ua.edu/applicants/. J-1 Physicians may be sponsored only by The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) – www.ecfmg.org.  UA’s ECFMG Training Program Liaison (TPL) is Alison Adams at aradams@ua.edu or 205-348-1370.  Under no circumstances should a person pursuing medical training apply to come to UA under the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor categories.

Step 3: International Student & Scholar Services
After receiving all documents from the J-1 Applicant and Department as well as the proof of finances, ISSS will process the DS-2019 Forms for the J-1 and for all J-2 Dependents in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services SEVIS Database (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

Along with the DS-2019(s), ISSS will prepare a packet for the J-1 Applicant which will include an invitation letter and information about: the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, paying the SEVIS fee, obtaining the J-1 Visa, travel to the United States, and general information about The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The department will be asked to send this information along with the department’s appointment letter to the J-1 Applicant (likewise, ISSS can ship items if provided with an express mail account).

Processing Time: Allow at least 1 week for ISSS to process and prepare all supporting documents.  Overall processing time for the scholar to obtain a J-1 visa and arrive in the U.S. is a minimum of at least 8 weeks (more if there are delays due to Administrative Processing related to the Technology Alert List or background check).

TRANSFER-IN TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
To process a transfer from another university to The University of Alabama, the J-1 Scholar and the current host institution’s J-1 advisor must complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer-In Form (additionally, the incoming J-1 Scholar should complete the standard J-1 Scholar Application Packet, which is listed above).  The J-1 Scholar Transfer-In Form is available on the ISSS website in the Forms Section.

NOTE: J-1 Scholars are not eligible for transfer that will lead to an extension of J-1 visa status if the J-1 Scholar has obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the 212e two-year home residency requirement.

APPLICATION STEPS TO HOST A J-1 STUDENT INTERN

J-1 Student Intern Program Description and Administration
This category allows international students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States to participate in student internship programs for up to 12 months (limited to just 12 months of internship per degree level).   Departments planning to host J-1 Interns are responsible for developing an internship plan, evaluating intern participation, and supporting the intern through faculty mentorship and other assistance, such as locating suitable accommodations.  International Student & Scholar Services, designated by the University and the U.S. Department of State as administrators of the University’s J-1 program, will assist departments and interns in producing the immigration paperwork (form DS-2019) required for the intern’s visa, admittance to the U.S., and maintenance of valid immigration status.

J-1 Student Intern Program Requirements and Prohibitions
The Department of State has established the following requirements for participation in the J-1 Intern program:

  • The internship must consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week of internship activity, no more than 20 percent of which consists of clerical work.
  • The internship must fulfill the educational objectives for the intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution.  It must expose the participant to U.S. techniques, methodologies, and technology; and it must expand up on the intern’s existing knowledge and skills and not duplicate the student intern’s prior experience.
  • A student intern may be paid or unpaid.  To be employed, however, the student intern must receive approval from his/her home institution’s dean or academic advisor.
  • The internship must not place the intern in any position that involves any of the following:  unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical positions or any other kind of work involving patient care or contact, including therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education); or any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department [of State] into notoriety or disrepute.” [22 CFR § 62.23(i)(7)(iii)]
  • The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need.  It must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program.  The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.
  • The internship cannot displace American workers, whether full- or part-time, temporary or permanent.
  • If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Mandatory Evaluation of J-1 Interns
Department of State regulations require that an evaluation be completed for each J-1 Student Intern at the end of his/her internship. Internships which last longer than 6 months also require at least one additional mid-program evaluation, to be undertaken at the mid-point of the program – J-1 Student Intern Evaluation.

APPLICATION STEPS TO HOST A J-1 STUDENT INTERN
Step 1: Instructions for the J-1 Student Intern Applicant

The J-1 Student Intern Applicant should complete Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the J-1 Student Intern Packet and sign the statement at the end of Section 3.  Once the J-1 Student Intern Applicant has completed Sections 1, 2 and 3, he/she should submit the form and supporting documents directly to The University of Alabama department which will host him/her.

In addition to Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the J-1 Student Intern Packet, the J-1 Student Intern Applicant should submit the following materials to his/her host department:

  • A copy/scan of the J-1 Student Intern Applicant’s main passport information page.
  • Proof of English proficiency (required by Department of State), which can be shown by one of the following:
    • A letter from an English language instructor at the intern’s institution or an English language school verifying that the intern has sufficient language skills to “function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.”
    • Alternatively, the intern can provide evidence of passing a recognized language test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS.  The minimum TOEFL score required on the written test is 550 and on the internet-based test (iBT) is 80.  The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.
  • If the intern will be paid by The University of Alabama, then the intern must submit a letter from the dean or academic advisor from his/her home institution which authorizes the employment.
  • If the intern will not be paid by The University of Alabama or if UA support is less than $1200 per month, the J-1 Student Intern Applicant must submit proof of adequate financial support and provide copies to International Student & Scholar Services.  The amount of support a J-1 Student Intern applicant should show is at least $1200/month for the J-1 Student Intern Applicant [If the J-1 Student Intern will bring a spouse or children, s/he must show an additional $500/month for each for a dependent J-2 spouse or child(ren)].

Step 2: Instructions for the Department
After receiving all documents from the J-1 Student Intern Applicant, the department should complete Section 4 and submit the entire J-1 Student Intern Packet (Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4) along with any accompanying financial documentation and passport copies to International Student & Scholar Services.

In addition to Sections 1 – 4 in the J-1 Student Intern Packet, departments are required to provide the following materials:

  • An invitation letter on department letterhead, inviting the J-1 Student Intern to come to UA as visiting student intern.  A sample letter can be found on page 8 of the J-1 Student Intern Packet.
  • A Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002) for each intern.  A fillable version of this form is available at https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds7002.PDF and a sample DS-7002 can be found on pages 11 – 14 of the J-1 Student Intern Packet.  Departments should complete the DS-7002 form and sign under “Supervisor’s Signature”, but leave “Sponsor’s Signature” and “Program Number” blank.  International Student & Scholar Services will complete that portion of the DS-7002.  Capstone International Services will send the form to the J-1 Student Intern with the other visa support documents.  The J-1 Student Intern will need this form when he/she applies for his/her visa.

Please submit all of the requested information.  Capstone International Services must have these materials in order to process your request for your prospective J-1 Student Intern’s immigration documents.

Departments must separately complete the Visiting Scholar Request Form and submit it to Carolyn Boshell, cmboshel@aalan.ua.edu, in Academic Affairs for approval. 

Additionally, in order to give an unpaid Visiting Student Intern access to UA Libraries, Email, WiFi and other campus facilities, the sponsoring department must complete a “New Faculty/Staff Setup” Form and submit it to Human Resources for processing into the Banner system.

Step 3: International Student & Scholar Services
After receiving all documents from the J-1 Student Intern and Department as well as the proof of finances, International Student & Scholar Services will process the DS-2019 Forms for the J-1 Student Intern and for all J-2 Dependents in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services SEVIS Database (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

Along with the DS-2019(s), ISSS will prepare a packet for the J-1 Student Intern which will include an invitation letter and information about: the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, paying the SEVIS fee, obtaining the J-1 Visa, travel to the United States, and general information about The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The department will be asked to send this information along with the department’s appointment letter to the J-1 Student Intern (likewise, ISSS can ship items if provided with an express mail account).

Processing Time: Allow at least 1 week for ISSS to process and prepare all supporting documents.  Overall processing time for the student intern to obtain a J-1 visa and arrive in the U.S. is a minimum of at least 8 weeks (more if there are delays due to Technology Alert List or background checks).

J-1 EXTENSIONS & TRANSFERS

J-1 EXTENSIONS
• Timing: Departments and Scholars should notify International Student & Scholar Services 1-2 months before the end date indicated on the J-1 DS-2019 in order to process an extension on time.
• All extensions must be completed in the SEVIS system before the end date on your DS-2019.
• Maximum period of participation in a J-Program:

• J-1 Professor or Research Scholar: Continuous five-year period on a “use or lose” basis
• J-1 Specialist or Student Intern: One year
• J-1 Short-term Scholar: Six months

Extensions of stay may be possible if the J-1 Exchange Visitor has not exceeded the time allowed under his/her J-1 status.  To process an extension, both the department and the J-1 Exchange Visitor will need to complete the J-1 Scholar Extension Form and submit it with an updated appointment letter to Capstone International Services.  The J-1 Scholar Extension Form is available on the ISSS website in the Forms Section.

30-day Grace Period: Exchange visitors can also remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days beyond the expiration date on the DS-2019 provided they are in legal status.  The 30-day grace period is meant to allow the J-visa holder time for travel and preparation for departure.  The exchange visitor may not work during this period.

NOTE: You are not eligible for extension if you have obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.

J-1 TRANSFER TO ANOTHER PROGRAM SPONSOR – TRANSFERRING TO OR FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
An exchange visitor can transfer to another program sponsor (i.e. transfer to another University) if:

  • the purpose of the program remains the same (same general subject area)
  • the visitor will remain in the same category (e.g. J-1 Short-term Scholar will remain a J-1 Short-term Scholar)
  • the visitor has not reached the maximum stay limit (5 years for Research Scholar/Professor; 1 year for Specialist; 1 year for Student Intern; 6 months for Short-term Scholar)
  • the visitor has not obtained a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement

In order to transfer, written release is needed from the current J-1 sponsor.

TRANSFER-IN TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
To process a transfer from another university to The University of Alabama, the J-1 Scholar and the current host institution’s J-1 advisor must complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer-In Form (additionally, the incoming J-1 Scholar should complete the standard J-1 Scholar Application Packet).

TRANSFER-OUT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA TO ANOTHER INSTITUTION
To process a transfer from The University of Alabama to another institution, the J-1 Scholar and the new host institution’s J-1 advisor must complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer-Out Form.

NOTE: J-1 Exchange Visitors are not eligible for transfer that will lead to an extension of J-1 visa status if the J-1 has obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the 212e two-year home residency requirement.

Sample visa page

APPLYING FOR THE J-1 VISA

(Adapted from the U.S. Department of State)

Visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, generally in their country of permanent residence. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on our website at Visa Wait Times, and on most embassy websites. If you are authorized by your sponsor to be accompanied by your spouse (husband or wife) and children, they will also be given a Form DS-2019 and they can apply at the same time. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.

Required Documentation
When applying, each visa applicant must submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate these forms and documentation, as explained below:

• DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. A SEVIS-generated Form, DS-2019, is provided to you by your program sponsor, after the sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
• STUDENT INTERNS ONLY: J-1 Student Interns must also submit a Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002. All J-1 Student Interns must also present a Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 when applying for a visa. For more information about the rules for trainee and intern programs, see the Exchange Visitor Program, Trainees on the ECA website.
• Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
• A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application;
• Proof of SEVIS Fee Payment. For detailed information on the SEVIS fee payment process, and for a list of frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm;
• One (1) 2×2 inch photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.

What are the Required Visa Fees?

• Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee – For current fees for Department  of State government services select Fees. You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
• Visa issuance fee – Additionally, if the visa is issued, if applicable, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee. Please review the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.

Additional Documentation

• Find out if there are any additional documentation items required by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa.
• Applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they are coming to the U.S. for a temporary period. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.

SECURITY CLEARANCES AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING
Please note that when you apply for a visa, you may be subject to a security clearance that can cause delays of weeks or even months in the issuance of your visa and your arrival in the U.S.

The following are two common types of security clearance that you might encounter:

• Field of Study:  If a visa applicant’s area of study is on the U.S. federal government’s “technology alert list,” which includes many of the science and technology fields, the U.S. consulate may seek a security clearance prior to granting the visa.  This process may delay your visa application by anywhere from 10 days to 3 months.  There is no way to know for certain whether you will be subject to this type of clearance.

If you work in one of the science or technology fields, we advise you to ask your supervisor or chair to write a letter that briefly describes the specific area of your research in layperson’s terms.  A sample letter can be found on  page 10 of the J-1 Scholar Application Packet.  We also recommend that you carry with you a copy of your CV and one or two of your publications.  These materials will not necessarily deter a security clearance, but they may expedite the clearance.

• Country of Citizenship, Nationality or Birth:  A security clearance may also be required by the U.S. Consulate if a visa applicant was born in or is a citizen or national of certain countries. The list of countries is not published, but seems to include the following:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the territories of Gaza and West Bank.

My Visa Has Been Issued- When Can I Travel to the U.S.?

• Department of Homeland Security regulation requires that all beginning (initial) J exchange visitors, and J-2 spouse and dependents enter the U.S. 30 days or less in advance of the applicant’s program start date as shown on the Form DS-2019. The 30-day limitation does not apply to current exchange participants who are returning to continue with their exchange program.
• If you want an earlier entry in the U.S. (more than 30 days prior to the course start date), you must qualify for, and obtain a visitor visa; however, this is strongly discouraged.

Spouses and Children
Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal (or primary) exchange visitor J-1 visa holder in the U.S. for the duration of his/her stay require exchange visitor visas. The application procedure is the same as that for a primary visa applicant. The sponsor must approve the accompaniment of the spouse and/or children and who will each be issued their own Form DS-2019. This form is used to obtain the required visa and the spouse and dependents can enter the U.S. at the same time as the principal exchange visitor or at a later date.

Work – The spouse and/or children of an exchange visitor in the U.S. may not work in J-2 status, unless they have filed Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved permission to work. To learn more, visit: http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Study- The spouse and/or children of an exchange visitor visa holder who are in the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa may study in the U.S. without also being required to apply for a student (F-1) visa or change to F-1 status.

Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the U.S. with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-1/B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

Family Members Following to Join the Exchange Visitor
The spouse and children can also apply for visas after the principal applicant has already traveled. In general, they must present the following:

• Form DS 2019, SEVIS generated, and approved by the sponsor
• Proof that the principal applicant (the person who received the DS-2019) is maintaining his/her J-1 visa status
• Copy of the J-1’s (principal applicant’s) visa
• Proof of relationship to the principal applicant
• Proof of sufficient money to cover all expenses in the U.S.

NOTE: Spouses and children of exchange visitors may not enter the U.S. before the primary exchange visitor enters for the first time.

THE SEVIS FEE
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal SEVIS Fee took effect on September 1, 2004. The fee of $180 is generally a one-time fee (see exceptions, below) and is required of those who are applying for a J-1 visa based on a DS-2019 issued to “begin a new program.”

Proof of fee payment must be presented at the visa interview.

You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are:

• Seeking an initial J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad for initial participation in an exchange visitor program.
• A CANADIAN citizen: who does not need a visa to enter the United States as an exchange visitor, but who will be applying for admission at a U.S. port-of-entry to begin initial participation in a Department of State designated exchange visitor program.
• Exceptions:  a fee is NOT required for a J-1 exchange visitors participating in a program sponsored by the U.S. Federal government (i.e. J-1 DS-2019 was issued by USAID or Fulbright).

SEVIS Fee Rules

1. The SEVIS fee must be processed at least three business days before the visa interview, unless you have a printed receipt from an Internet payment.
2. The SEVIS fee cannot be paid at the embassy or consulate, or at the U.S. Border.
3. A visa will not be issued unless the visa officer can verify that the SEVIS fee payment has been made. However, you may schedule your visa interview prior to paying the SEVIS fee.
4. The SEVIS fee is not refundable. If your visa application is denied, and you decide to re-apply for the same type of visa at a later date, you will not be asked to make a second SEVIS fee payment as long as your visa application is made within 12 months of the initial denial.
5. If the SEVIS fee is not paid, your J-1 visa record cannot be validated in SEVIS.

How to Complete the I-901 and Pay the SEVIS Fee
Payment of the SEVIS fee may be made by you or by any other individual, either in the United States or abroad, including family or friends. However, anyone paying the fee on your behalf will need to have a copy of your DS-2019 form, or a completed copy of Form I-901.

To complete form I-901, you must enter two types of information:

  1. J-1 Visa applicants need to enter the UA J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM NUMBER: P-1-03854, and
  2. You must enter your SEVIS ID number (e.g. N00*******), which is printed at the top of the DS-2019 form.


Using The University of Alabama’s I-20 or DS-2019, you may currently complete the Form I-901 and pay the SEVIS Fee using one of three payment methods:

  1. Payment in U.S. dollars by credit card online at http://www.fmjfee.com/, or
  2. Payment by mail in U.S. dollars by check, money order, or bank draft, drawn on a U.S. bank, and mailed to an address in the United States, or
    • To pay by mail, you must download and print form I-901 from http://www.fmjfee.com/, fill out the form and mail it with your payment to I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101, United States – Phone Number: 1-314-418-8833.
    • Your payment must be in U.S. dollars by check, money order or bank draft, drawn on a U.S. bank. Your check, bank draft or money order should be made payable to: “I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee.”  Also, be sure to print your name and SEVIS ID number in the lower left-hand corner of the check, money order or bank draft.
    • The need for a check, bank draft or money order in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank does not mean that only a U.S. bank can issue the document. Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank, because they are chartered in the United States, or because they are foreign subsidiaries of a U.S. bank, or because they have arrangements with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank. NOTE:  Payment by mail is not the recommended process for fee payment from abroad, as it can take as long as four weeks from the day you mail in the fee to the day that you receive the required receipt in the mail if you are applying from outside the United States, unless you pay for courier service.
  3. Payment via Western Union:
    • Fill out the Form I-901 online at http://www.fmjfee.com/. A payment coupon will be generated upon completion of the form.
    • Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union.
    • Fill out the Quick Collect/Quick Pay Form according to the information found at the bottom of the printed coupon. Example below:
      Company Name (or Code City): SEVISFEE
      Account Number: Coupon Number (ex: 010222013872390)
      Amount: currently $180 for J-1 EVs
    • Present the coupon and your payment to the Western Union agent for processing.
    • Payment will be linked to your Form I-901 and your online payment confirmation will be available immediately at http://www.fmjfee.com/.


Showing Proof of SEVIS Fee Payment at the Visa Interview and the U.S. Port of Entry
You must be able to prove that the fee has been paid when you appear for your visa interview, and when you enter the United States. This is done by presenting a printed receipt, either from the internet if you made an on-line payment or a mailed receipt if you paid by mail.

Visa officers and U.S. port-of entry inspectors should be able to verify SEVIS fee payment electronically three business days after payment is processed, but in case of problems, having a printed receipt is the best evidence of fee payment. If you lose or did not receive a receipt for fee payment, the U.S. government does retain an electronic record that the fee has been paid.

The visa will not be issued unless verification of the SEVIS fee payment can be made.

A picture of BB Comer building at UA

ARRIVAL TO THE U.S. & CHECK-IN WITH ISSS

MANDATORY J-1 CHECK-IN AND ORIENTATION
International Student & Scholar Services must meet with ALL new J-1 Scholars, Professors, Specialists, and Interns within the first few days of their arrival.  During check-in, ISSS will advise new international scholars and employees on a variety of immigration issues as well as provide resources to assist with adjustment to life in Tuscaloosa.

Check-in and orientation requires as much as an hour to complete.  The incoming J-1 scholar or the host department must set up an appointment with ISSS prior to a new J-1’s arrival.  Please contact ISSS at international@ua.edu to schedule the appointment.

Topics typically covered during orientation include:

Immigration Regulations
Address Reporting Requirements
Travel Requirements
Social Security/Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Application
Banking
Housing resources
Health Care and Health Insurance
Child care and school resources
Programming activities and opportunities for involvement

New J-1 Scholars, Professors, Specialists, and Interns should bring the following items with them to their check-in and orientation appointment:

Passport
DS-2019
I-94 Record, accessible after arrival to the U.S. More information can be found at: www.cbp.gov/i94.
Proof of health/medical insurance, if obtained prior to arrival; if not, options for medical insurance will be provided during check-in and orientation

ARRIVING AT A U.S. PORT OF ENTRY: WHAT AN J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR CAN EXPECT
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is committed to facilitating your stay in the United States while you take advantage of our nation’s academic, educational, and cultural offerings. To enhance security without slowing legitimate travel, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instituted some changes in U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and preparation by international students and scholars can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is minimal.

J-1 Scholars are allowed to enter the United States up to 30 days in advance of the program start date identified in Item 3 of the DS 2019.

Do not store your passport or DS-2019 in your baggage or luggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.

You should hand carry the following documentation in a folder or envelope:

1.      Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay;
2.      SEVIS Form DS-2019;
3.      Evidence of financial resources;
4.      Evidence of status with The University of Alabama or letter of acceptance as a participant in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program;
5.      Printed receipt for the SEVIS fee; and
6.      Name and contact information for your sponsoring organization, including a 24-hour emergency contact number.

For greater detail on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United States, visit Study in the States.

COMPLETE YOUR ENTRY PAPERWORK
If Arriving By Air: Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059).  This must be completed prior to landing.

If Arriving By Land or Sea: The CBP Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) to be filled out upon your arrival.

AS YOU ARRIVE AT THE PORT OF ENTRY
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents available for presentation:

1. Your passport;
2. Your DS-2019; and
4. Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).

FOLLOWING ADMISSION INTO THE UNITED STATES
J-1 Scholars must report to their Exchange Visitor Program sponsor within 30 days of the program begin date identified in line 3 of the DS 2019 to have their participation in the program activity validated. Failure to have participation validated will result in an automatic invalidated SEVIS record.

SECONDARY INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS
If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

It is important to answer all questions the CBP officer asks.  Remember to remain calm.  Secondary inspection is a normal process and is nothing of which to be afraid.

The CBP officer will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify your admission/participation with your sponsoring school or program, it is strongly recommended that you have the name and telephone number of your foreign student advisor or J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor available. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), you should also have the emergency phone number.

Daytime Contact:
International Student & Scholar Services
205 348-5402

After hours, emergency contact:
The University of Alabama Police Department
205 348-5454

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to theUnited States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into theUnited States. If you are admitted with the Form I-515A, you must work with your program sponsor or international advisor to submit proper documentation without delay.

Office of Biometric Identity Management
All nonimmigrant visitors holding visas-regardless of race, national origin, or religion -participate in the OBIM, a comprehensive registration tracking system for entries to and exits from the United States. The program involves obtaining a scan of two index fingerprints and a digital photograph. For more information visit OBIM.

J-1/J-2 TRAVEL REGULATIONS

TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
Travel within the United States for any international student or scholar on a non-immigrant visa does not require any special documentation, letters, or any signatures from International Student & Scholar Services.  Still, anyone on a non-immigrant visa should be able to present proof of their legal status within the United States at any time, and Alabama state law requires that you be able to document your legal visa status.  It is recommended that for travel outside of Tuscaloosa, you take your passport and accompanying documentation (i.e. DS-2019).  Also, it is recommended that you keep photocopies of your main passport page, visa page, I-94 Record, and any other visa documentation with you at all times even when not traveling.

TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

• To be able to travel outside of and return to the United States in J status, you will need to have a valid signature from either the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)  (J-1 Scholar Advisor at ISSS) on the front page of your J-1 or J-2 DS-2019 Document in the Travel Validation Section.
• Signatures are valid for up to one year or up to 6 months for short-term scholars.
• You must carry your DS-2019 endorsed for travel, visa, passport, and appointment/invitation letter.
• Generally, you will need to have a valid J-1 or J-2 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States.

Anyone in J-1 or J-2 Status should visit or contact International Student & Scholar Services at least one week before any travel out of the United States.  One week is necessary to allow the ISSS Advisor to sign your documents or to make any changes to your DS-2019 before your travel.  Travel signatures are valid for one year (or until the end-date of your DS-2019, whichever is earlier) and must be valid on the date which you wish to return.  Also, your DS-2019 must still be valid, meaning your program end-date must not have passed in order to be able to reenter the United States.

Generally, you will need to have a valid J-1 or J-2 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States, with the exception of visits to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)].  The J-1 and J-2 Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States.  Visa appointments must be made with a US Consulate or Embassy outside of the United States for the renewal or initial J-Visa.

Please note: those who hold Canadian citizenship do not require a J-1 Visa Stamp.

Additionally, J-1 scholars seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport.  Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States.  If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.  Please contact your home country’s Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. for information on how to renew or extend your passport from within the U.S.

Visa Requirements for Transit through and Travel to Other Countries
Traveling through/to another country may involve obtaining a transit/entry visa to that country.  It is best to check the consulate website of the country you wish to visit to get the current visa procedures.  Do not assume that you will be allowed to transit through another country without a visa prior to your departure.  Failure to obtain necessary transit/entry visas may result in being denied entry onto your flight.

SPECIAL INFO: Travel to Canada and Mexico and the Adjacent Islands for those in J-visa status
For visits to Canada and Mexico that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], it is possible to return to the United States without having to renew an expired US visa stamp.  Those in J-visa status also may visit a limited number of adjacent Caribbean islands under the automatic visa revalidation program.

• Information on Automatic Revalidation of Visa
List of Adjacent Islands for those in F- and J-visa status holders

Note: Citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation and must always have a valid US Visa Stamp in order to return to the United States.

Please remember that you may be required to obtain a visa to enter Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent Caribbean islands.

• For Canadian Visas
• For Mexican Visas

MAINTAINING J-1 VISA STATUS – REGULATIONS

ESSENTIAL IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS
• Form DS-2019 – Validity dates listed in Section 3
• Passport — Must be valid at all times
• Visa Stamp — May expire while in the U.S.; Must be valid to re-enter the U.S. from travel beyond Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands
I-94 record

MAINTAINING YOUR PASSPORT
All international faculty, staff, scholars and students should maintain their passport validity.  In general, it is best to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months longer than the intended dates of stay.  If renewal of a passport is necessary, check with your embassy or consulate about the renewal process.

J-VISA HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT
The U.S. Department of State and the Exchange Visitor Program requires that all persons in J-1 or J-2 status have health insurance that meets the following minimum requirements:

• medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness
• repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
• expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000
• does not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness
• exchange visitors may also be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act

J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors must maintain the health insurance during the entire duration of their program.  Persons who willfully fail to maintain coverage are subject to termination from the program.

• For full-time, paid University of Alabama employees ONLY:

• J-1 Scholar Researcher/Professors who are paid by The University of Alabama and are full-time employees are eligible for health insurance through UA.
• The health insurance offered through UA meets the minimum requirements listed by the Department of State for medical benefits and for the deductible, but the insurance does not provide coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.
• Call the Human Resources Service Center to find out about your health insurance benefits. (205 348-7732).
• If you receive health insurance as a benefit to your employment at UA, you will need a supplemental insurance policy that covers you for Medical Evacuation and Repatriation.

• For ALL OTHER individuals utilizing personal or government funds who do not receive payment or health insurance from The University of Alabama:

• Any J-1 Scholar whose funding is from personal funds or a source other than UA will need to purchase a health insurance plan which will meet the minimum federal requirements.
• J-1 Scholars should plan to purchase the insurance upon arrival for both themselves and any J-2 dependents.
• A Capstone International Services advisor can provide you with information on health insurance plans that meet the minimum federal requirements.

REPORT ADDRESS CHANGES WITHIN 10 DAYS
All non-immigrants (except those in A or G status), 14 years of age or older, who will remain in the U.S. for 30 days or longer, are required by law to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days of a change of physical address in the United States. The parent or legal guardian of a nonimmigrant child under the age of 14 is responsible for notifying DHS of the child’s change of address. Failure to comply with this requirement is a violation of immigration status that is punishable by fine or imprisonment and/or removal (“deportation”).

In order to comply with the address reporting requirement, J-1 visa holders are required by DHS to inform International Student & Scholar Services within 10 days of any change of your physical residence (apartment or home address) in the United States.

Once you report your changes to ISSS, we will report the new address to DHS through the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your physical residence is defined as where you live, not your school, lab, or a P.O. Box. You should also report a separate mailing address (P.O. Box) if it is impossible for mail to be delivered to your physical residence, such as a University Residence Hall.

Human Resources and UA Payroll require student employees, faculty, and staff to update any changes in their mailing address (P.O. Box or physical address where you can receive mail).  This is to make sure that paychecks and payment information will be sent to the correct address.  To update your mailing address, you must do so through UA’s MyBama service – https://mybama.ua.edu/.

Verbal notice of a change of address to ISSS does not constitute compliance with the SEVIS 10-day reporting requirement.

Filing a forwarding address with the U.S. Postal Service will not satisfy the reporting requirement for the Department of Homeland Security. Mail from the U.S. government will not be forwarded by the Post Office and will be returned to the issuing government agency as undeliverable.  This is important for anyone who is waiting for a Social Security Card from the SSA or a change-of-status or employment authorization from USCIS.

NOTE FOR THOSE WITH PENDING PETITIONS AT USCIS: If You Have an Application Currently Pending with a DHS Office and it is pending with a DHS USCIS Service Center or other field office (i.e. for work authorization or petition for Permanent Residence) updating MyBama or filing the AR-11 online WILL NOT update your address with the respective DHS office which is handling your petition. You must inform USCIS separately in order to update your application address and ensure that you will receive notifications regarding your petition. Contact your advisor at ISSS for instructions on the best way to inform these offices of your change of address.

J-1 OCCASIONAL LECTURES OR CONSULTATIONS
J-1 scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations outside of The University of Alabama, but they must have the advance permission of their J-program sponsor.  Such lectures and consultations must be incidental to the exchange visitor’s primary program activities.  If wages or other remunerations are received for such activities, the exchange visitor must act as an independent contractor. [22CFR 514.20(g)]

To get permission to conduct off-campus lectures or consultations that will involve wages or other payment, you should bring the following to ISSS before beginning such activities:

• letter from the inviting organization stating terms and conditions of the consultation/lecture – including dates, hours, purpose of work, amount of pay, and summary of responsibilities
• letter from your UA academic department recommending that you participate in the lecture or consultation and explaining how the activity fits in with your exchange visitor program.

Upon receipt of the above, one of the ARO’s at ISSS will issue a letter certifying that the occasional lecture/consultation has been approved.

MAXIMUM TIME IN PROGRAM

• J-1 Professor or Research Scholar: Continuous five-year period on a “use or lose” basis
• J-1 Specialist or Student Intern: One year
• J-1 Short-term Scholar: Six months

30-day Grace Period: Exchange visitors can also remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days beyond the expiration date on the DS-2019 provided they are in legal status.  The 30-day grace period is meant to allow the J-visa holder time for travel and preparation for departure.  The exchange visitor may not work during this period.

212(E) TWO-YEAR HOME RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT AND 12/24 MONTH BARS

212(e) TWO-YEAR HOME COUNTRY PHYSICAL PRESENCE REQUIREMENT
The 2-year home residency requirement or 212(e) applies only to some J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors, not to all J visa holders.  If you are subject to the 212(e), the requirement should be noted on your J Visa Stamp or at the bottom of your DS-2019.

If you are subject to the 212(e) requirement, this means that you are required to return to your “home” country and be physically present in your home country for two years after completing your J-1 Program.  Likewise, it is possible to seek a waiver of the requirement in limited circumstances, which are detailed below.

UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE 212(e) REQUIREMENTS OR GET A WAIVER, YOU CANNOT:
• Apply for any immigrant status such as Permanent Residency (Green Card);
• Apply for the H, L, or K Visa;
• Change status from within the US from a J-Visa to any other non-immigrant visa category – anyone changing status to another non-immigrant visa category would have to do so outside of the United States at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

HOWEVER, WHILE YOU ARE SUBJECT TO THE 212(e), YOU CAN:
• Apply at a US Embassy or Consulate to return to the US on a another non-immigrant visa, such as B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa, F-1 Student Visa, J-1 Visa, etc.;
• Travel freely to other countries other than your home country.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, please speak to the Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer of the J-1 program in Capstone International Services.

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE SUBJECT TO 212(e)
Not all J-1 exchange visitors are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement.  There are three grounds on which a J-1 exchange visitor can become subject to 212(e):

• If the J-1 exchange visitor’s participation in an exchange program was financed, directly or indirectly, by the United States government or a foreign government for the purpose of exchange.
• If the skills that the J-1 exchange visitor is coming to develop or exercise are in a field which the exchange visitor’s “home” government requested be included on the State Department’s skills list.
• If the J-1 exchange visitor came to the United States or acquired exchange visitor status to receive graduate medical education or training.

PLEASE NOTE: If the J-1 principal exchange visitor is subject to 212(e), all dependents who enter the United States in J-2 status are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement as well.

212(e) WAIVER INFORMATION
There are five different bases upon which a J-1 can obtain a waiver of 212(e), the most common of which is the “statement of no objection from home country.”  The State Department website has information about the application process.  It is essential that a J-1 visa holder talk to both Capstone International Services and his or her department before applying for a waiver of 212(e).

WARNING: DO NOT APPLY FOR THE 212(e) WAIVER UNLESS YOU ARE GUARANTEED SPONSORSHIP FOR A CHANGE OF STATUS TO ANOTHER LEGAL CATEGORY SUCH AS H-1B, L-VISA, OR PERMANENT RESIDENCY.  CIS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU WAIT UNTIL THE FINAL YEAR OF YOUR J-1 ELIGIBILITY TO FILE THE 212(e) WAIVER.

Once the recommendation letter to waive the 212(e) is received from the State Department, J status CANNOT be extended.  After the waiver has been recommended, the J-1 Exchange Visitor is limited to the end-date that is listed on the most recent DS-2019.

A waiver of 212(e) makes a J-1 eligible to change status to H-1B or PR (among other statuses), but it does not guarantee that the J-1 will be sponsored for H-1B or PR.

12- / 24-MONTH BAR FROM PARTICIPATION AS A J-1 PROFESSOR/RESEARCH SCHOLAR AFTER PREVIOUS J PARTICIPATION
·
12-month bar – The 12-month bar prevents someone from becoming a J-1 Professor/ Research Scholar for 12 months following any previous J participation in the J categories of student, specialist, trainee, physician, visitor, intern, counselor, au pair, or summer travel/work (including J-2 dependents of those in these categories).

· 24-month bar for repeat participation as a J-1 Professor/Research Scholar – The 24-month bar requires that there be a period of at least 24 months between each stay as a J-1 Professor or J-1 Research Scholar.  The 24-month bar is not the same as the 212(e) Rule, also known as the two-year home residency requirement.

The general exceptions to the 12- and 24-month bar rules are:

• the exchange visitor is already in J-1 status and is transferring to the new sponsor’s program as defined in 22CFR514.42
• the participant’s previous J-program in any category other than Professor/Research Scholar was less than six months
• if the previous stay was as a J-1 Short-term Scholar

NOTE: The 12/24-month bars affect all persons in J status. A spouse or child who holds J-2 status is not eligible to return as a J-1 Scholar/Professor until the requirements of the bar are fulfilled.

J-2 DEPENDENT SPOUSE AND/OR CHILDREN

IMPORTANT NOTE:  J-2 DS-2019 documents can be issued only to dependent spouses and to unmarried, dependent children under 21 years of age.  Married children and children over 21 years old cannot be issued a DS-2019 and cannot hold J-2 status. 

BRINGING SPOUSE AND CHILDREN TO THE US – FOR J-1 APPLICANTS WHO HAVE NOT APPLIED FOR THE J-1 VISA YET
For J-1 Applicants who are planning to come to the US for research, teaching, or training at The University of Alabama, you may also bring your spouse and minor, unmarried children to live with you in the United States during your program.  Your spouse and children will apply for J-2 Visas as dependents of the J-1 Scholar.

To bring a spouse or children, a J-1 Applicant must show financial support for each dependent.  In addition to the minimum of $14,400 of financial support needed to come as a J-1 Scholar/Professor, Intern, or Specialist, additional financial support of at least $6000 per year must be shown for each dependent (spouse and/or children).  Funding must be arranged prior to issuance of a DS-2019 form.  If your funds are from an international organization, independent grant, or government support, please attach a signed copy of any letters of award or sponsorship.  If your source of funds is from personal or family funds, please submit an official bank statement not more than 6 months old.

If you have not yet applied for your J-1 Visa, in order to request J-2 DS-2019s for your dependents, please make sure to complete the J-2 Dependent information in J-1 Scholar Application Packet.

INVITING SPOUSE AND CHILDREN TO THE U.S. – FOR J-1 SCHOLARS ALREADY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA – J-2 Scholar Dependent Application
For J-1 Scholars who are currently in the United States, you may invite your spouse and children to join you for your stay during your J program.

To bring a spouse or minor, unmarried children, a J-1 Applicant must show financial support for each dependent.  In addition to the minimum of $14,400 of financial support needed to come as a J-1 Scholar/Professor, Intern, or Specialist, additional financial support of at least $6000 per year must be shown for each dependent (spouse and/or children).  Funding must be arranged prior to issuance of a DS-2019 form.  If your funds are from an international organization, independent grant, or government support, please attach a signed copy of any letters of award or sponsorship.  If your source of funds are from personal or family funds, please submit an official bank statement not more than 6 months old.

If you are already in the US on a J-1 Visa, in order to invite your spouse and/or children to come to the US on a J-2 visa, please fill out the J-2 Scholar Dependent Application which is available on International Student & Scholar website in the Forms Section and submit it to ISSS.

Once ISSS has prepared DS-2019s for your dependent spouse and/or children, they can apply for a J-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy using the following guidelines:

  1. J-2 Visa applicants should check the website of the US.. Consulate or Embassy for instructions on how to apply for a U.S. Visa.  Contacts of Consulates and Embassies can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov/.  J-2 applicants should check the site for specific details about how to set the visa appointment and what additional information may be required for the visa interview and then should schedule an interview for a visa interview.
  2. Complete the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
  3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s web site.
  4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
    (a)  A passport valid for at least six months
    (b)  Supporting visa documentation (copies of J-1’s DS-2019, Passport, Visa; copy of marriage license or birth certificate showing relationship)
    (c)  Completed DS-160 visa application
    (d)  One 2”x 2” passport-style photograph
    (e)  A receipt for the visa application fee
    (f)  Financial evidence that shows the J-1 holder has sufficient funds to cover the J-2’s living expenses while in the U.S.
    (g)  Any additional information listed on the consulate’s web site.

DEPENDENTS CURRENTLY INSIDE THE U.S. WHO WISH TO CHANGE STATUS
For sponsorship of dependents who are already in the US to obtain J-2 status, the J-2 will have to file a petition to change status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

NO TRAVEL DURING CHANGE-OF-STATUS: Once the I-539 Change-of-Status petition is submitted to USCIS, the J-2 applicant cannot leave the United States for any reason.  If the J-2 leaves the U.S., even for a Caribbean Cruise, the I-539 petition will be considered “abandoned,” and the case will be cancelled by USCIS.  Only once the I-539 Change-of-Status petition has been approved will the J-2 be able to travel internationally.  Also, please be aware that the I-539 petition approval is not a visa stamp; so, the J-2 dependent will need to apply for a new visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate the next time he/she travels beyond North America (see Travel Requirements).

IMPORTANT NOTES FOR B-1/B-2 VISA HOLDERS: If the J-2 applicant is currently on a B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa Status and wants to apply to change status to a J-2 visa status, he/she needs to be aware of two important regulations.

  1. First, applying for a Change-of-Status within the first 90 days of entry to the U.S. in B-1/B-2 status will likely result in a denial and will be considered fraudulent entry based on a misrepresentation of status based on 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3)(g)(2) Inconsistent Conduct Within 90 Days of Entry.  This change to the Foreign Affairs Manual was published on September 20, 2017. 
  2. Second, USCIS now requires someone in a B-1/B-2 status to maintain B-1/B-2 status continuously while awaiting a Change-of-Status.  This means that in addition to filing an I-539 petition to change status to J-2 status, the B-1/B-2 visa holder must also file I-539 petitions to extend B-1/B-2 status while the Change-of-Status is pending.  See USCIS’s Special Instruction Page for more information.

STEPS TO OBTAIN J-2 STATUS INSIDE THE U.S.

  1. J-1 must first get a J-2 DS-2019 prepared by International Student and Scholar Services for his J-2 dependents – Please complete the J-2 Scholar Dependent Application and submit it to ISSS with the required proof of funding
  2. File a form I-539 (available at http://www.uscis.gov/i-539) with the following:
    (a) J-2 DS-2019
    (b) Check for $370 made payable to Department of Homeland Security
    (c) Copy of Passport Identification Pages
    (d) Copy of Current/ most recent Visa Stamp
    (e) Copy of I-94 record (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)
    (f) Copy of other visa documents, etc.
    (g) Copies of the J-1 visa holder’s DS-2019, Passport Identification Pages, Visa Stamp, I-94 record, etc.

If you intend to have your spouse or child file for a change-of-status by submitting the I-539 to USCIS, please set an appointment to meet with an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.

J-2 HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
All participants of the J Exchange Visitor Program are required to have medical insurance that covers the exchange visitor and all accompanying family members for the entire period of stay in the United States.

Health Insurance for all J-1 and J-2 Visa holders must include:

Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his/her home country in the amount of $50,000
Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
Exchange visitors may also be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act

To comply with the regulation, ISSS must receive a copy of the medical insurance card or policy showing validity dates and coverage terms.

J-2 DEPENDENT EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization, so long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1.  Financial need is not a criterion for employment authorization of a J-2 dependent.

“Income from the spouse’s or dependent’s employment may be used to support the family’s customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things.  Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal alien.”  8 C.F.R. S 214.2(j)(1)(v)(A)

Application Procedure – Applications for employment authorization are made to the UCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the J-2’s place of residence.  Processing generally takes 3 months.

J-2 Dependents who wish to apply for Employment Authorization should submit the following to UCIS:

• Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization  – available at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765
• I-765 filing fee (currently – $410.00): Check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security.
IMPORTANT:  You must check the UCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765 to be sure of the current, correct filing fee; UCIS filing fees are subject to sudden change.
• 2 passport style photos; photos must meet frontal passport specifications and should be on a white background
• Copies of the current DS-2019 of both the J-1 and J-2
• Copy of passport information page, visa page, and I-94 Record for both J-1 and J-2
• Letter from J-2 stating why the employment is desired, indicating the source and amount of financial support for the J-1, and specifically stating that the income that the J-2 will derive from employment will not be used for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor.

J-2 DEPENDENTS AND STUDY
The spouse and/or children of an exchange visitor visa holder who are in the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa may study in the U.S. without being required to apply for a student (F-1) visa or change to F-1 status.