J-1 program provisions
Learn more about how long you can remain in the country on a J-1 visa, program extensions and grace periods, bringing dependents and spouses to the U.S., home country residency requirements, maintaining legal status in the country and more.
Limitations of stay
The maximum program duration varies by category:
- Professors and research scholars: Five years
- Short-term scholars: Six months
- Specialists: Twelve months
If you need additional time to complete your research or teaching, subject to time limitations of your category, please apply for program extension at least one month prior to the expiration date of your DS-2019 form. To apply for extension, you must submit a Request for DS-2019 form signed by the Department Chairperson and your faculty supervisor and indicate your financial support for the requested period.
Notice of early completion
Notify OISS if you decide to complete your activity early, before the expiration date on your DS-2019 form.
Upon termination of your program you may remain in this country for up to 30 days but you cannot work during the grace period.
Maintaining legal status in U.S.
To remain legally in the U.S. you need to meet the following conditions:
- Maintain valid DS-2019 form. Please pay attention to the program end date. Apply for program extension one month prior to the expiration date of your DS-2019 form if you need additional time to complete your research or teaching.
- Keep your passport valid
- Maintain health insurance for yourself and dependents throughout the program
- Conduct activities consistent with your program category. Employment is allowed at the University of Nevada, Reno only. Please discuss with OISS if you are considering any other options
- Report address changes to OISS within 10 days of the move
Change of category
Once you have entered the country in a specific category, (e.g., short-term scholar), you cannot change to another category, i.e. professor/research scholar or student within the U.S. You would need to leave the U.S. and re-enter with a DS-2019 form issued specifically for a new program.
12- and 24-month bars (Research Scholar & Professor only)
These provisions only apply to Research Scholar/Professor category.
Applies to the exchange visitor who was in the U.S. in the preceding 12 months as a J-1 student or as a J-2 dependent. They are not eligible to begin a new program in a research scholar/ professor category until 12 months is completed. For example, someone who was in the U.S. as a J-1 student from January 2017 to December 2019, would need to wait till January 2020 before being eligible to return to the U.S. as a J-1 research scholar/ professor.
Applies in situations when someone who came as a Research Scholar/Professor to U.S. would like to return in the same category as Research Scholar/Professor. They would need to wait 24 months before being able to do so. As mentioned above these 12/24 months bars apply only to Research Scholar/Professor category; the person subject to bar could still return as a J-1 Short-term Scholar or J-1 Specialist or in other visa category such as H-1B, or B-1/B-2.
Program transfer to another institution
Transfer to another university may be possible if it's agreed upon between sponsors and meets certain conditions such as time limitations and category restrictions. Transfer must be approved and coordinated prior to the exchange visitor moving on to another institution.
Please contact OISS if you are considering to transfer to another school.
Two-year home country residency requirement
Some exchange visitors are subject to section 212(e) which requires them to return to their home country for two years upon completion of their program. In some circumstances it is possible to obtain a waiver from this requirement.
Dependents and spouses
Spouses and children of J-1 visitor are eligible for J-2 status. If you would like your dependents to come to the U.S. , please contact OISS about obtaining DS-2019 forms for your family members. J-2 dependents are eligible to work in the U.S. after securing permission from the Department of Homeland Security. J-2 holders are allowed to study either full-time or part-time without changing to student status (F-1 or J-1).