Immigration Regulations

It is important that all J-1 scholars understand and abide by the immigration regulations as outlined below.

Entering the United States

To enter the US you will need the following:

  • a valid passport
  • an EMU issued DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility. Scholars on a government-sponsored grant (for example, Fulbright) should have EMU listed as the primary site of activity on their DS-2019.
  • an I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • a valid J-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) issued by the US embassy/consulate overseas

Note: Canadian citizens do not need US visas.
Please be advised that you may not enter the US more than 30 days prior to the start date on the DS-2019.

When you enter the US, you will receive an I-94 card marked "J-1" and "D/S" (duration of status). Please enter your name on the I-94 card exactly as it appears on your US visa.

Mandatory Check-in

Check-in: All new scholars are required to check in with the OISS (240 Student Center) prior to the start date on your DS-2019 or within 5 business days of your arrival, as required by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Maintaining Legal J-1 Status

Maintaining status is necessary in order to receive the benefits of J-1 status such as employment and program extension. Failure to maintain your non-immigrant status can result in serious problems and could lead to deportation from the US.

There are several important things scholars must do to maintain their immigration status:

  1. Attend the university on whose DS-2019 you entered the US or complete the appropriate school transfer procedures
  2. Complete the mandatory Check-in Process
  3. Keep your passport valid at least 6 months into the future, at all times
  4. Notify OISS of any change in either your local or permanent address. All J-1 scholars must notify the OISS within 10 days of a change of address. The OISS will notify the Department of Homeland Security, through the SEVIS system, of your new address. If EMU did not issue your DS-2019, you are required to report any address changes to your sponsor (for example, IIE for Fulbrighters).
  5. Maintain a valid, unexpired DS-2019 at all times. 
    1. Extend your DS-2019 prior to its end date if you are unable to complete your research or lecturing by the original expiration date.
    2. Notify OISS of any changes on the DS-2019, such as name, funding, program information, etc.

Maintain Health Insurance Coverage

 All J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents are required to maintain health insurance coverage that meets the Department of State's standards. Information can be found on the Scholar Health Insurance page.

Dependents (J-2)

Dependents are defined as spouse and minor children less than 21 years of age.  Each dependent will have their own DS-2019, which will be used to obtain their J-2 visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate and for entry into the US. Persons in J-2 status are able to apply to the U.S. government for employment authorization and may engage in full-time study.  

Grace Period

When an J-1 scholar completes their program as outline on the DS-2019, they are allowed a 30-day grace period during which the J-1 and any J-2 dependents may stay within the US, but are not allowed to work or to re-enter the US in J status.


In general, J-1 scholars must file federal tax forms for every year they are inside the US, whether money was earned, or not. See the Taxes section of this website for more information.

212(e) - Home Country Residency Requirement

This requirement states that if you have received funding from your home government or the U.S. government, or you are from a country on the U.S. Department of State "skills list", you may be subject to the Foreign Residency Requirement. For the skills list, see If you are subject to the requirement, you are unable to change your visa status in the United States.  You are also unable to obtain an H, L, and K visa or Permanent Status until you have spent an aggregate of two years in your home country. The requirement, however, does not prevent you from reentering the US under other common visa categories, like F-student or B-tourist. For information on waiving this requirement, please see:

12-month bar

J-visa scholars in the Professor and Research categories may not be in the United States in J-visa status for any part of the 12-month period preceding the start date of their programs, indicated on their Form DS-2019. The 12-month bar is waived if the participant was present in the United States no more than six month

24-month bar

J-visa scholars in the Professor and Research categories are not eligible to return to the United States in the Professor or Research scholar category for a period of 24 months immediately following J program completion.