Even if a J-1 Exchange Visitor arrived in the U.S. in valid status, failure to comply with immigration laws and regulations while in the U.S. can result in a loss of the J-1 status and have very serious legal consequences. UC Merced is required to report to the federal government when a J-1 Exchange Visitor fails to maintain their legal status.
Below are key points to remember for maintaining your J-1 Status:
- The total period of J-1 authorization may not exceed five years — this includes any time previously spent in J-1 Status at another institution before transferring to UC Merced.
- OIA must be notified, in writing, of changes relating to work location, title, job duties, or research area before the change(s) taking place.
- OIA must be notified, in writing, of changes relating to the amount and source of the funding for the program or changes to the scholar’s address within 10 days of the change(s) taking place by contacting the International Scholar Advisor or emailing the International Office.
- J-1 EVs may not accept any employment, on or off campus, which is not listed on the form DS-2019 without first obtaining written authorization from a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) at UC Merced.
- J-1 EVs and any J-2 dependents must maintain sufficient health insurance coverage.
- Any intent to terminate a J-1 EV’s affiliation with UC Merced before the expiration date of the Form DS-2019 must be immediately reported to OIA.
- Before traveling outside the U.S. (with the intent to reenter under J-1 status), the EV’s DS-2019 must have a valid travel signature (this should be done no less than two weeks before departure).
- Requests to extend J-1 program or transfer to another sponsor should be submitted no less than two months before program end date on current DS-2019, or the date you would like to begin at the new sponsor.
- J-1 EVs forfeit their eligibility to transfer or extend their J-1 status if they receive a “no objection” letter from the Department of State or a waiver from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about 212(e) (2-year home country residence requirement).
- Requests to transfer a J-1 SEVIS record must be accompanied by an acceptance letter to an academic program or an offer of employment from a new institution.
- A J-2 dependent's status is contingent upon the continued validity of the primary EV’s J-1 status, and loss of legal status as a J-1 EV represents the automatic loss of legal J-2 status for dependents.
- If the J-1 EV is absent from the U.S. for an extended period of time, any J-2 dependents may not remain lawfully in the U.S.
- A J-1 EV’s passport must be valid at all times, for at least six months into the future.