The United States has various laws governing foreign nationals residing
within its borders. Being aware of and having a clear understanding
of those laws is essential to remaining lawfully in the U.S. Due
to recent changes in immigration law, being in violation of status
may carry severe penalties and have a negative effect on your ability
to complete your program objectives in the U.S. Therefore, it is
essential for all Exchange Visitor's to comply with such laws and
regulations and to consult with International Services whenever a question arises.
In order to maintain your status legal, you should:
your passport valid at all times.
sure you understand exactly how long you are allowed to stay in
the U.S. based on your visa documents, or if you need an extension,
to apply in a timely manner.
International Services of any changes in your your local address, name, or work location
International Services if you terminate your employment or your affiliation with
RBHS earlier than the date indicated on your DS-2019
with International Services before you travel to make sure your documents are
not work at other institutions unless authorized by the OIS or
the USCIS as required
annual income tax returns.
with International Services, not your friends, department, or colleagues for immigration
ACTIVITIES AS A J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR
The U.S. State Department expects you to stay with your original
objective for coming to the United States. As an exchange visitor,
you are normally not allowed to change your category and you are
expected to carry out the activity described in Section 4 of your
DS-2019. All changes in category must be formally approved by the
Department of State. For more information on changes in category,
you must contact an RO/ARO in International Services.
It is sometimes possible to change to a different sponsoring department
if there is little or no change in the job description. The International Services
office would have to approve such a change. Please consult with International Services if you are considering any change in your original program
The DOS regulations mandate health insurance coverage for all J-1
Exchange Visitors and their dependents (J-2 Exchange Visitors).
This federal regulation allows for no exception and requires termination
of program participation for all J visa holders who do not obtain
and maintain the specified coverage outlined below
Federal Regulation Requirements:
A. Minimum Coverage – At a minimum, insurance
(1) medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident
(2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; and
(3) expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of
B. Additional Terms – A policy secured to
fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that
exceeds $500 per accident or illness, and must meet other standards
specified in the regulations.
C. Maintenance of Insurance – Exchange Visitors
must maintain the required insurance for the duration of the program.
D. Acceptable Insurance Broker Ratings –
In addition to coverage standards, the regulations also set forth
rating requirements for acceptable policies. Such policies must
be underwritten by a company rated A by Best or ISI; AA by S&P;
or B+ by Weiss. Coverage backed up by the Exchange Visitor’s
home country government, public institution wishing to self-insure,
and private programs approved by the DOS for self-insurance are
exempt from the rating requirement.
In some cases, funding for such coverage for the J-1 Exchange Visitor
may be provided by the home government/affiliation or by the current
institution/employer. In other cases, it may be provided by the
RBHS sponsoring department/supervisor or purchased directly by
the exchange visitor.
You are expected to conduct your exchange activity at the location(s)
listed in your form DS-2019. Exceptions to this rule are only allowed
if the activity performed constitutes an occasional lecture or consultation
and you have obtained prior authorization from the OIS.
Length of Stay
Each Exchange Visitor category has its own guidelines
regarding the minimum and maximum period of time a
J-1 visitor is allowed to remain in the U.S. under
that status. The minimum period of stay for professors
and research scholars is three weeks with a maximum
stay of 5 years, including any previous continuous
time spent at other institutions. All exchange
visitors are allowed to stay 30 days longer than the
DS-2019 indicates. This is called a “grace period”
and is to allow you to prepare to return home, sightsee,
etc. You may not be employed during this period.
Staying in the U.S. for even one day longer than you are authorized
can carry serious consequences. Be sure to leave before your status
expires, unless you have another application pending with the USCIS
which allows you remain legally in the United States.