Your research or other program objectives must be able to be conducted in-person at least partially in order to be able to come to the U.S. and begin your J-1 program. You cannot travel to the U.S. to begin a J-1 program that will be completely remote. This is based on the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) from June 25, 2020 that says sponsors must meet formal in-person requirements before hosting new participants.
DOS guidance from June 25, 2020 states that exchange visitors currently in “active” status in SEVIS and continuing programs that were underway when the pandemic reached the United States may find alternative ways to maintain program objectives, including online arrangements as appropriate, while preventing unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. Please consult with your supervisor to determine what is possible, as you may have a number of different options including:
- Temporary leave (such as vacation or sick time). If you are approved for a temporary leave , even if you are physically outside the U.S., your J-1 status is not in jeopardy. However, you must still maintain health insurance during this time.
- Remote work. You and your supervisor can make arrangements for you to continue your program objectives remotely.
This depends on your employment status (e.g. mandatory, non-mandatory, salary, hourly, etc.). Please review the University HR COVID-19 resources and contact HR if you have any specific questions not addressed in the resources on the HR website.
Before you travel, please review the “Can/Should I travel internationally?” section of our COVID-19 FAQ for advice and considerations on international travel.
Travel Signature Validity: Travel signatures are located on the bottom right corner of the DS-2019 and are valid for one year from the date of the signature. If your DS-2019 is up to date (i.e. nothing has changed and you have not been issued a new DS-2019) and you have a current travel signature on your DS-2019 that will be less than one year old on the date of your return to the U.S., you do not need to do anything further.
Travel Signature Requests: A Travel Signature is essentially documentation from OIS that shows you have permission to travel and return to your program because you are in good standing with respect to your academic and immigration status. J-1 scholars/student interns needing an updated travel signature should email firstname.lastname@example.org a completed travel endorsement form along with documentation of current health insurance.
If you need more time to complete your research you may be eligible for a program extension. You should keep in mind that the maximum program duration varies based on your J-1 category as follows:
- Research Scholar: 5 years
- Short Term Scholar: 6 months
- Student Intern: 12 months
Your J-1 category is indicated on your DS-2019 in section 4. If additional time is available according to your J-1 category, please work with your sponsoring department to submit a DS-2019 request Part B along with the required supporting documentation to OIS via email (email@example.com). You can find more information about the scholar program extension process here.
All scholars who complete their program have a 30 day grace period following the DS-2019 end date. During this grace period you have the following options:
- Prepare to depart the U.S. – we recommend you depart the U.S. if your home country is allowing its citizens to return and has not completely closed its borders. For assistance securing a flight home, please contact your home country’s embassy.
- Consult an OIS advisor to discuss any other options depending on your personal situation including an extension of your J-1 category beyond max stay, a change of J-1 category, or a change of status to something other than J-1 depending on your subjectivity to the 212(e) home residency requirement.
This will depend on your child’s school and whether the school is still operational. If your child’s school is still operational and your child is not exhibiting any symptoms of illness, then yes, they may continue to attend school. If your child is ill, they should stay home from school. Please be in communication with your child’s school and follow all instructions provided to you in regards to restricted activities, school closings, etc.
Yes, USCIS is still accepting applications for J-2 dependents to receive work authorization. Please email your OIS assigned advisor to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting to discuss this process further.
Yes, if you would like to request a J-2 DS-2019 please submit a Dependent Request Form along with the required supporting documentation (listed on the form) to OIS via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should keep in mind that there are current entry restrictions on travel from or through certain countries. Additionally visa processing may be delayed.