Important Information for J-1 Scholars

About J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

  • Your hosting department will be your point of contact to provide assistance during your time at Michigan Tech. International Program and Services (IPS), will support your department during your stay.
  • The purpose of the J‐1 Exchange Visitor Program is to foster the mutual exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts. The exchange of research scholars and professors promotes interchange, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and those of other countries. If you have any questions about the J‐1 Program, please feel free to contact your hosting department.

Arrival Information

  • All incoming non-student exchange visitors must report their arrival to IPS and complete the mandatory physical check-in that are held every Wednesday from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Call IPS to make an appointment for mandatory check-in.
  • For the physical check in please bring your passport, DS‐2019, visa and your local address. If you have brought dependents with you, please bring all of their documents as well. Once you have completed the mandatory orientation, your SEVIS record will be validated within three days.
  • If you fail to report to IPS, your SEVIS record will automatically be invalidated by the SEVIS system. This means that you will not be allowed to continue your program at the University and must return home.
  • Print and carry your Arrival Record, Form I‐94 through The I‐94 form is the most important document indicating your lawful entry to the U.S. and is required for your legal stay in this country.

Maintaining Legal J-1 Status

  • Attend full program (refer to program start and end dates on DS‐2019).
  • Have a valid DS‐2019.
  • Have valid passport for at least 6 months into the future.
  • Engage in authorized employment only.
  • Report early departure from your program to IPS.
  • File timely and appropriate extension notifications.
  • Report early departure from your program to IPS.
  • If you decide to depart the United States more than 30 days prior to the completion date of your program (as indicated on your DS‐2019), you must notify your department and IPS. Correctly recording your program completion date is important because it can affect the date on which you can return to the United States on a new J‐1 program, or in another visa status.
  • Maintain required health insurance coverage.
  • Update your current and permanent address information within 10 days of moving.

Health Insurance Requirement

    • U.S. Department of State regulations require all J‐1 Exchange Visitors to have medical evacuation and repatriation insurance for themselves and any accompanying J‐2 dependents for the entire duration of the J‐1 program (as indicated on the DS‐2019).
    • Fulfilling this requirement is essential, not only because medical treatment in the United States is very expensive, but also because you and your family members are considered to be in violation of J‐1/J‐2 status if you do not have sufficient insurance. IPS is not able to provide J‐1 program benefits such as work authorization, travel signatures and extensions to anyone who is not maintaining valid status.
    • It is your responsibility to notify IPS of dependents who are currently in the United States or who arrive subsequently and present evidence of appropriate insurance coverage for them.

Travel Information

Travel within the US:

  • Every time you leave your Houghton home, you should carry copies of your passport expiration page, visa DS‐2019 and I‐94 card. If you are traveling outside the U.S., you should take your original passport, DS‐2019 and I‐94 card.

Travel outside the US & Entering the US after a temporary trip abroad, you will need your:

  • Passport (valid for 6 months or longer upon entry).
  • Valid visa (Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement).
  • Travel signature less than 6 months old on DS-2019.
  • If you are traveling to a country that is not your country of citizenship, please consult that country’s consulate to determine if you require an entry visa. List of foreign consulates in the United States.
  • For more information, please refer to Travel Information


  • Visiting scholars, post‐doctoral researchers and international faculty in J‐1 visa status are permitted to work as described on the Form DS‐2019 and may accept additional employment as authorized by the sponsor. Unauthorized employment may result in the loss of valid J‐1 status.
  • Please consult IPS regarding accepting employment, any changes in your official title, salary or department to be certain that you are authorized to engage in such employment under your current J‐1 status.

J-2 Dependent Employment:

  • J‐2 dependents may apply for employment authorization through U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) after arriving in the United States. Applications require a fee and take approximately 90 days to be processed by USCIS. For application procedures, please visit IPS for assistance of your J‐2 dependent application procedure.
  • For more information, refer to Rules for J-2 Dependents

Tax Information

  • If you are in the U.S. for even a day in J1/J2 status, you will have tax filing responsibilities during the tax filing season (January through April). If you did not have any tax obligations you are still required to complete and mail Form 8843.
  • For more information, refer to Tax Assistance

Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement (212(e))

  • The 2-year home residency requirement is termed "212(e)" and it applies to some J-1 exchange visitors (EV). If you are subject to this requirement, it should be noted on your visa or at the bottom of your DS-2019.
  • For more information, refer to Home Residency Requirement

Grace Period

  • Upon completion of your program, you and your J‐2 dependents are allowed a 30‐day grace period to depart the United States. It is critical that you depart the United States on time, prior to the end of your grace period. You are not authorized to work during the grace period.

Post Doc J1 Employment Steps:

Scholars on a J1 visa may request an extension on their visa up to the time limit available for their scholar type.  Scholars may submit DS-2019 Program Extension form to IPS. The scholar must provide a letter from the department indicating the proposed start and end dates, along with documentation verifying financial support ($14,000/year minimum). Additional information and support is available from IPS. For approved extensions, the department may change the end date for the postdoc using a Status Change form. HR will verify that the postdoctoral scholar has not exceeded the six year limit (total) for appointments.

If the postdoc does not qualify for an extension, the postdoc may pursue changing to an H1-B visa at Michigan Tech with Immigration and Visa Services in HR.