J-1 Non Degree Students
Immigration Information for J-1 Non Degree Students
This page contains visa and immigration information for J-1 Non-Degree students at the University of Delaware. For ELI students who have a J-1 visa, please refer to the information page for ELI students.
Maintaining Your Immigration Status
International Student Advisors
Maintaining 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 your records up to date. Here are some tips from OISS on how to stay legal and be a responsible visa holder:
- Always keep your DS-2019 current
You must always have a valid DS-2019 while you are studying in the U.S. If your DS-2019 is expiring and you need to extend it (make it longer), please contact OISS.
- Register as a full-time student every session
J-1 non-degree students must be enrolled full time in their program every session to remain in status. If you withdraw from a class and it puts you below full-time status, you will be out of J-1 status.
- Make sure your passport is valid at all times
If you have lost or need to extend your passport, you will need to contact the embassy or consulate of your home country in the U.S.
- Report any changes of address to the OISS within 10 days
If you have changed your address, you must report this to OISS within 10 days of moving. OISS must report the most current U.S. address for all international students to the U.S. government.
- Make sure you have valid Health Insurance at all times
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. Read about J-1 health insurance requirements.
- Talk to OISS before you accept any type of employment, even volunteer opportunities
J-1 non-degree students may be eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the session. All J-1 student employment must be reported to SEVIS before you are eligible to start working. Learn more about employment on the webpage about Employment below.
- Obtain a travel signature on your DS-2019 BEFORE you travel abroad
J-1 non-degree students must receive a travel signature on DS-2019 from OISS BEFORE leaving the U.S.
- Programs with K-12 sites of activity
J-1 Non-Degree Students may not be eligible to participate in programs with K-12 sites of activity. Some programs may allow K-12 locations but typically for observational purposes only and are required to be updated in SEVIS as a site of activity. For more information on sites of activity and K-12 locations, please contact OISS.
- Do not overstay past your status date
If you have been in the U.S. illegally (past your end date or authorized 30-day grace period) you may be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar from returning to the U.S. If you need to extend your DS-2019, you must contact OISS BEFORE the DS-2019 end date.
- Do not accept public assistance
For questions about how to maintain your immigration status or avoid visa violations, please contact OISS or an International Student Advisor at OISS.
If you receive any type of public assistance, you have violated your J-1 status. In the U.S., citizens and permanent residents are sometimes eligible for social benefits such as subsidized care and government assistance, such as food stamps, welfare or childcare subsidies. Non-immigrants are typically not eligible for these benefits. If you are having trouble supporting yourself or your family, or finding care, please contact OISS and we will be happy to help you look for legal options.
The Office for International Students and Scholars is the designated office on campus to provide immigration advising for international students, including English language students. The office has dedicated International Student Advisors to advise J-1 non-degree students at the University of Delaware. See the list of all advisors and staff at OISS.
If you have any questions about your DS-2019, J-1 visa, immigration status, SEVIS, transferring out, extending your DS-2019, travel signature, or any other changes/issues that may affect your visa status, please contact one of your International Student Advisors at OISS. You can email OISS or call at 302-831-2115 to make an appointment with them. OISS is at 26 E. Main Street, Newark, DE 19716.
Remember, only OISS International Student Advisors can give you the most up-to-date and accurate information about YOUR immigration status. What may work for your friend or classmate may not work for you. Be sure to ask your International Student Advisors with any questions or doubts.
If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., please submit a Travel Request form. After you have submitted the Travel Request, come to OISS to get a travel signature on your DS-2019. If your J2 dependents are traveling with you, you should also bring their DS-2019s with you. The travel signature indicates that OISS certifies you are maintaining legal status at the time of your travel and you are expected to come back to continue your studies at UD.
Always check with OISS before you travel to make sure your visa status is currently valid before travelling and when you return.
What to bring with you for re-entry into the U.S.:
- Valid DS-2019 with a travel signature from OISS
- Passport valid for six months into the future
- Valid F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport
- Financial information showing proof of funds
If your J-1 visa has expired, be sure to check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying to find out which items are required. Please visit www.usembassy.gov
for more information.
End of Program Information
It is important to remember that the U.S. government defines “work” as any activity that someone would normally be paid to perform. Even if you are not being paid, you still may need authorization. Always check with OISS before accepting any position, even if it is unpaid or “volunteer”. We will help you meet your goals in a legal way.
- As a J-1 Student Non Degree you may be eligible for on-campus employment. On-campus employment can include work conducted at on-campus facilities, such as the dining hall, library, or offices on campus, as well as with associated businesses on campus, such as the Barnes and Noble Bookstore.
- J-1 Students: All on-campus employment must be approved in advance and in writing by OISS. In order to request on-campus employment, you must submit an On-Campus Employment (J) Application through your Terra Dotta Student Portal before the start of employment to OISS. On-campus employment may be granted for up to 12 months at a time. If your on-campus employment will last more than 12 months, you are required to submit an updated offer letter every year.
- If you require a social security number, or if your potential employer requires verification that you are eligible to work, you should complete and submit the On-Campus Employment Eligibility Form.
Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
When you have reached the end of your studies at UD, this will impact your immigration status.
J-1 students: Your DS-2019 program end date will reflect the last date of your studies at the UD. You have a 30-day grace period to prepare to leave the U.S. If you wish to attend a new school, please contact OISS or an International Student Advisor before the end date on your DS-2019 to discuss transfer eligibility. J-1 students CANNOT request a transfer to a new school or matriculate to UD during the 30-day grace period.
During your grace period, you should not continue to attend classes or continue to work.
If you remain in the U.S. after your grace period, you will begin to accrue days of unlawful presence. This means that you are out of status (do not have legal immigration status in the U.S.). If you remain in the U.S. after you no longer have valid status, you may be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar from returning to the U.S.
Help/questions: If you have any questions about your grace period, please contact OISS or an International Student Advisor at OISS.
Host Department Requirements
J-1 exchange visitors may be subject to the 2-year home residence requirement based on the “exchange visitor skills list” or because they received government funding. This requirement impacts future eligibility for certain immigration benefits. If a J-1 is subject to the 2-year home residence requirement, the requirement also applies to his/her dependents.
Exchange visitors can meet the requirement in two different ways:
(a) returning to his/her home country for an aggregate of 2 years, or
(b) obtaining a waiver of the requirement from USCIS.
Even if the residency requirement is fulfilled or waived, if the visiting scholar enters the U.S. on another J-1, he/she may be subject to the 2-year home residence requirement again. For example, an exchange visitor comes to the U.S. as a J-1 Short Term Scholar in 2014 and then returns for a second program as a Short Term Scholar in 2015. They may now be subject to the two-year rule twice.
Note regarding current J status holders: Current J status holders who plan to seek a waiver must contact the OISS in regards to their visa status before beginning the waiver process, as it could impact their eligibility for J-status extensions.
Contact OISS before you start the waiver process. Information on how to apply for a waiver of the 2-year home residence requirement can be found on the Department of State’s website.
Each immigration situation is different. These rules do not apply to everyone in the same ways. When and how the two-year rule applies varies by case. For more information about how the rule applies to your case, contact OISS.
Requirement to inform OISS of changes: The information regarding a J-1 Non Degree Student Program must be kept up to date. OISS needs to know if anything about the program changes, including, site(s) of activity, funding or program dates. Failure to inform OISS of changes could result in sanctions for the University and violation of immigration regulations for the Exchange Visitor (EV).
Host Department Requirements:
- English Proficiency: Per US Department of State federal regulations, the University of Delaware is required to verify that each prospective exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to "successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis” before issuing a Form DS-2019.
The host department can verify an applicant’s English language proficiency:
• through a recognized English language test (like TOEFL or IELTS)
• by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or
• a documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
As evidence of proficiency, along with the completed DS-2019 Request, the host department should submit to OISS one of the following forms of documentation:
(1) the exchange visitor’s score report from a recognized English language test,
(2) signed documentation from an academic institution or English Language School confirming their participation a program that would confirm English Proficiency (e.g. taught in English), or
(3) the results of an evaluation interview confirming the exchange visitor meets English Proficiency requirements for the program
- Report any changes in site(s) of activity: An EV is only allowed to study at the site(s) of activity indicated on the DS-2019 request. An EV cannot study, work or perform research in a different location, unless pre-authorized and approved by OISS.
- Report any changes in research or employment: The host department is required to notify OISS of any such changes before they occur. J-1 Non Degree Students are not authorized for any type of employment, internship or other training opportunity without prior authorization from OISS.
- Report any changes in program dates or student enrollment: Notify OISS if the EV leaves, drops below full course load or is removed from the program before the program end date.
- Report any changes in funding: If payment from the University of Delaware or other sources needs to be added or removed from the DS-2019 form, contact OISS before the changes occur. Funding information must be reported in the SEVIS system.
- Report any serious incident involving an EV: departments are required by federal regulations to report any serious incident or allegation involving a J-1 Exchange Visitor the same day the incident or allegation occurs. Incidents are defined as situations that have or could endanger the health, safety, or welfare of an exchange visitor or otherwise could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or University of Delaware’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute. Examples of reportable incidents include, but are not limited to the EV suffering serious injury, death, missing, litigation, incident involving the criminal justice system, sexually-related incidents or abuse, negative press, etc.