J-1 Scholar Information

Important Information for J-1 Scholars


1. Processing time:
The standard processing time for a Form DS-2019 is 2 weeks, provided the request form is filled out completely and all the required documents are submitted with the request.

If the purpose of request is to “begin new J-1 program,” UNK International Student Services (ISS) recommends departments submit a DS-2019 request as early as possible to ensure that the prospective exchange visitor has sufficient time to obtain a J-1 visa abroad. A request for the DS-2019 should be sent to International Admissions at Welch Hall noted as a J1 Request.

2. Required documentation:
It is important to point out that departments must submit copies of all required documents before ISS will begin processing a Form DS-2019 request. This requirement is necessary in order to ensure that the individual’s immigration status is maintained and consistent.

3. Financial documentation:
A Form DS-2019 may be issued only for the period that there is documented guaranteed funding. In addition, the funding must meet the ISS minimal funding requirement and cover the entire period of the DS-2019 requested for the exchange visitor, and his/her dependents if applicable.

General institutional support should not be considered government financing unless it was specifically designated for an international educational exchange program. Government funds made available for a specific research goal or to the principal research investigator and not for the use of supporting an individual exchange visitor or an exchange program, should be designated as ‘funds from UNK.’ If the exchange visitor will receive a salary from funds granted to UNK (but not specifically granted to the exchange visitor) to support research projects, check UNK as the funding source and list the total amount for the entire period of the Form DS-2019 requested. If the exchange visitor is not financially supported by UNK funding, a copy of financial documentation (such as a personal bank statement, on-line banking statement, award letter) must be submitted. The document must meet the following criteria:

The document contains the prospective exchange visitor’s full name;The document is no more than 6 months old at the time a Form DS-2019 is requested;The document must be written in English or have been translated into English;The document must specify the amount.The amount is in U.S. currency or has been converted into U.S. currency (http://www.xe.com).

4.  Documentation required from Departments:
Departments must submit the following to ISS:

Form DS-2019 requestCopies of all required documentsA letter written by the J-1 exchange visitor’s supervisor stating that the extension is needed for the purpose of completing a specific project or research activity. The letter must be printed on the department’s letterhead.

5. Request for extensions beyond the maximum duration of participation:
Please note, if the exchange visitor is subject to 212(e), according to the DOS, once an exchange visitor program receives notification of the DOS recommendation for a waiver, the exchange visitor is no longer eligible for further extension of stay, although he/she may continue in the current J program for the remainder of time on the current DS- 2019.

Since DOS must receive the request from ISS at least 60 days prior to the end of the 3-year maximum period, departments must submit the followings to ISS at least 90 days prior to the end of the 3-year maximum period:

Form DS-2019 requestCopies of all required documentsA letter written by the J-1 exchange visitor’s supervisor justifying the extension and explaining the exceptional or unusual circumstances which make the extension necessary for the exchange visitor to complete a specific project or research activity. The letter should also include information regarding the current research project the exchange visitor is conducting, the roles he/she plays in the project, and the contribution he/she may make to the project if extension is granted.


All exchange visitors who are issued Form DS-2019s for the purpose of either “ begin a new program” or “ transfer” are required to check-in at ISS in order to fully comply with DOS and SEVIS requirements.


It is important that departments communicate with the exchange visitor often and inform ISS immediately if the exchange visitor’s arrival will be delayed and the begin date of the Form DS-2019 needs to be amended. ISS is required by DOS and SEVIS to validate the exchange visitor’s arrival within 30 days of the program start date on the Form DS-2019. This only applies to exchange visitors who are issued Form DS-2019s for the purpose of either “ begin a new program” or “ transfer.” If the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record is not validated within these 30 days, it will automatically become “inactive.” In this case, the exchange visitor will be considered in violation of program status by the DOS, and may be considered in violation of his/her nonimmigrant status by DHS. The exchange visitor will need to leave the U.S. immediately and make a new entry provided he/she is eligible to return. Validation of the SEVIS record is done by ISS after the exchange visitor attends the mandatory check-in program.


If the exchange visitor discontinues his/her J-1 program with a department, the department must notify ISS because ISS is required to report the event to SEVIS.

In addition, departments need to notify ISS if an exchange visitor leaves the J-1 program more than 30 days before the end date on the Form DS-2019.


Upon successful completion of the J-1 program, the exchange visitor will have an additional 30 days to remain in the U.S. though he/she may not be employed during this 30-day grace period. The 30-day grace period is intended for purposes of traveling within the U.S., packing, and preparing to depart the U.S.


Dependents are defined as the spouse and minor children under 21 years old of the J-1 exchange visitor. Dependent spouses and children of J-1 visitors usually enter the U.S. on J-2 visas. Each dependent will need to use his/her own Form DS-2019 in order to obtain a J-2 visas at the American embassy/consulate and to enter the United States. If it is known to the department that dependent(s) of the prospective J-1 exchange visitor will accompany the J-1, please complete the dependent data section on the Form DS-2019 request so ISS can prepare Form DS-2019(s) for dependent(s) as well.

Having J-2 status does not inherently give the J-2 the permission to work, but it gives the person the right to apply for work authorization from the USCIS. The J-2 does not have legal permission to work until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is approved. Under the current rules, there is no restriction on study for J-2 dependents.

A J-2 dependent’s status terminates in the U.S. when that of the J-1 participant terminates.