Mantaining your status is your responsibility! The Office for International Students and Scholars is here to help advise you, but it is up to you to keep up-to-date on your records. Here are some tips from OISS on how to stay legal, and be a responsible visa holder:
The DS-2019 maintains your legal status in the U.S. You may only perform research or work within the authorized start and end dates on the form. If you plan on extending your program in the U.S., please submit a DS-2019 Visiting Scholar Extension Request Form. Please include payment for the International Service fee with your request, as well as an updated offer letter from your host department with your new program dates.
As long as the DS-2019 is current, an expired visa does not affect your status. You only need a valid visa (valid full-page sticker in your passport) to enter the U.S., not to stay. Once you leave the U.S., you will need a valid visa to come back.
If you have lost your passport or need to extend your passport, you must contact your country's embassy or consulate. Unlike visas, passports can usually be extended while you are in the U.S. Most countries have consulates in Washington D.C. or New York City. Specific information on this can be found on the website of your country's embassy or consulate.
All exchange visitors (both J-1 principals and J-2 dependents) are required by federal regulations to have sickness and accident insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation insurance in effect for the duration of their exchange visitor program. In addition to being required by law, this requirement protects you and your dependents from unanticipated medical expenses.
For information on J-1 Health Insurance Requirements, please visit:
To request a travel signature, please fill out the Scholar Travel Signature Request online and then come to OISS with your DS-2019 at least two weeks before your planned travel date. Travel signatures are valid for 12 months for J-1 “Research Scholars” and “Professors” and 6 months for J-1 “Short-term Scholars.” Dependents must also have a valid travel signature to re-enter the U.S. after trips abroad.
You are required to update your contact information with OISS within 10 days of any change. To inform OISS of any changes, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
It is your responsibility to update your information within 10 days of the change.
Scholars must contact OISS before accepting any type of outside employment or short-term consultation, including unpaid activities, as it may affect their legal status. A scholar may participate in some outside activities, but there are limits.
Scholars can only participate in occasional short-term consultations or lectures if the activities meet all of the following requirements:
Before participating in such outside activities, the exchange visitor must provide OISS with an invitation letter from the institution and obtain written permission from his supervisor at UD. In turn, OISS will issue a letter granting permission for this activity. OISS must also report this activity in SEVIS.
If you or your dependents receive any type of public assistance you may have violated your scholar status. In the U.S., citizens and permanent residents are sometimes eligible for government assistance such as subsidized health insurance, food stamps, welfare or subsidize childcare. As a non-immigrant, you are not eligible to apply for or receive these benefits. If you are having trouble supporting yourself or your family, please contact OISS and we will be happy to help you look for lawful options.
J visiting scholars are permitted to remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days after the end of their program, but no longer. This time is a grace period intended for you to prepare to depart from the US. You are not permitted to use this time to perform more work or research.