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Maintaining your J-1 Status

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Checklist for Maintaining Your J-1 Status 

To maintain J-1 status, you must do the following:

☐ Check in online with the OISS through iGlobal within 30 days of starting a new program of study.

☐ Register for and attend a full course load of classes each fall and spring semester until you complete your program. Undergraduates must take a minimum of 12 credit hours, and graduate students must take a minimum of 9 credit hours. Your program may require more credit hours than these minimums. Graduate students in dissertation or research, or working as teaching assistants or research assistants are exempt from these required credit hours but must have their status reflected in their academic record and register for the appropriate dissertation or research course. Some exceptions exist to these minimums and are listed on the Underenrollment Status Report but you must get signed approval from your advisor or department and submit this form the OISS before you drop below full enrollment.

☐ No online classes may count toward your full course load. Once you have reached the required minimum credit hours in in-person classes, you may enroll in additional credits in online classes.

☐ Report a change of address or contact information to OISS within 10 days of the change. Use the iGlobal Address Update form.

☐ Report a legal name change to OISS within 10 days of the change.

☐ Do not work or intern on or off campus without advanced authorization from the OISS.

☐ Have health insurance provided through Tulane or which has been granted a waiver through the Tulane waiver process. Your health insurance must cover you for the entire duration of your J-1 program.

☐ If you are unable to complete your course of study by the program end date on your DS-2019, you must apply for a program extension at least 30 days before the program end date. Contact the OISS to schedule an appointment for your extension.

☐ If you are planning to transfer to another J-1 program or school, contact the OISS at least 30 days before the program end date on your DS-2019.

☐ Abide by the 30-day grace period rules: do not stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days after your program end date, and do not work or study after your program end date. Any transfer, change of immigration status or application for Academic Training must be submitted and approved BEFORE the grace period begins (i.e. before the end date of the program of study).

☐ Maintain a valid, unexpired passport for the duration of your program, even if you are not traveling outside the U.S. If your passport needs to be renewed, start the process as soon as possible. If you need to renew it within the U.S., contact your country’s embassy or consulate for the proper procedures and application materials.

☐ Be aware of the 212 (E) - Two Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement: After departing the US, some J-1 students may be required to physically reside within their last country of legal permanent residence for two years before they may return to the U.S. under certain immigration statuses. More information is available here.

☐ Be aware that the J-1 is a non-immigrant visa: You must show that your stay in the U.S. is temporary and that you intend to return to your home country at the end of your program. If your current J-1 visa expires and you apply for a new J-1 visa, you must show strong financial, family, and/or employment ties to your home country to receive the new J-1 visa. If you do anything that indicates an intent to immigrate, such as marrying a U.S. Citizen, it could be difficult for you to renew your J-1 visa. Seek immigration counsel anytime that you are concerned about jeopardizing your “non-immigrant” status in the US.

☐ Avoid criminal activity, especially related to illegal drugs and drinking and driving. Any arrest, even if you are not convicted of a crime, can have serious immigration consequences. If you have been arrested, immediately contact the OISS and/or the Tulane Legal Assistance Program (TULAP) immigration attorney. Even if you have criminal legal defense, you must receive additional legal advice from an immigration attorney, as these are separate areas of the law.

☐ Accepting government aid for yourself or any J-2 dependents could create problems for your immigration status. If you have a U.S. citizen child, consult this fact sheet, but keep in mind that regulations about government aid may be changing in the near future.  We recommend contacting TULAP with any questions about government aid for yourself or any dependents

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Students with On-Campus Work Authorization or authorized pre-completion Academic Training

In addition to all of the student requirements above, when you are engaged in authorized on-campus employment you must do the following:

☐ Do not work before or after the approved dates for your work authorization. Work authorization can only be granted for a maximum of one year, so if you have ongoing employment, make an appointment with the OISS to renew your work authorization before the current authorization expires.

☐ Only work for the specific employer(s) at the specific location(s) approved in your work authorization

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Students with authorized post-completion Academic Training

Students engaged in post-completion Academic Training are subject to the following requirements:

☐ Report a change of address or contact information to OISS within 10 days of the change. Use the iGlobal Address Update form.

☐ Report a legal name change to OISS within 10 days of the change.

☐ Have health insurance with minimum coverage amounts as required by the Department of State.

☐ Abide by the 30-day grace period rules: do not stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days after your Academic Training end date, and do not work after your Academic Training end date. Any transfer or change of immigration status must be submitted and approved BEFORE the grace period begins (i.e. before the Academic Training).

☐ Maintain a valid, unexpired passport for the duration of your Academic Training, even if you are not traveling outside the U.S. If your passport needs to be renewed, start the process as soon as possible. If you need to renew it within the U.S., contact your country’s embassy or consulate for the proper procedures and application materials.

☐ Only work for the specific employer(s) at the specific location(s) approved in your Academic Training

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J-2 Dependents

J-2 dependents are subject to the following requirements:

☐ A J-2 dependent's status is valid only if the J-1 principal continues to maintain J-1 status.

☐ J-2 dependents must maintain insurance coverage throughout their entire duration of stay in the U.S. and it must meet Tulane’s standard of coverage for J-2 dependents.

☐ J-2 dependents may study in the U.S. without restriction.

☐ J-2 dependents can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to be employed in the United States. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS. The J-2’s employment cannot be for the purpose of supporting the J-1. Contact OISS for assistance with applying for J-2 work authorization.

☐ If a J-2 dependent leaves the U.S. before the end of the J-1 principal’s program, and has no intention of returning to accompany the J-1 principal, they must inform the OISS of their departure.

☐ If a J-1 principal will be outside the U.S. for an extended period of time while the J-2 remains in the U.S., the J-2 may encounter issues maintaining their immigration status. Contact the OISS for guidance in these circumstances.

☐ If a J-2 dependent child reaches the age of 21 their J-2 status will automatically be terminated in SEVIS. Make arrangements in advance for a change of immigration status if the dependent child plans to stay in the U.S. Contact TULAP for more information about different immigration status options.

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Maintaining Status While Traveling Outside the US

J-1 students and J-2 dependents must maintain status while traveling:

Passport: Make sure your passport is valid for a least 6 months into the future. You can be denied entry to the U.S. if the expiration date on your passport is less than 6 months into the future.  If your passport needs to be renewed, start the process as soon as possible. If you need to renew it within the U.S., contact your country’s embassy or consulate for the proper procedures and application materials.

Visa: Make sure your J-1/J-2 visa is valid. If you need to renew your visa, the best place is generally your home country. If it is not feasible to travel to your home country to renew your visa, contact the OISS for guidance. (Not applicable to Canadian citizens, who do not receive a J-1/J-2 visa page in their passport.) Note: the J-1/J-2 visa only needs to be valid at the point of entry to the US. If your visa expires while you are in the US, you do not need to renew it unless you plan to leave the US and re-enter again in J-1/J-2 status.

DS-2019: Make sure your DS-2019 is signed for travel. The travel signature is in the lower right corner of the DS-2019. It is good for re-entry for one year after it is signed for Professors and Research Scholars, for six months for Short-Term Scholars, or until the end date of your program, whichever is sooner.

I-94: Your I-94 is the official record of your immigration status at the time you enter the U.S., and it must be correct. Every time you leave the U.S. and return, you should check your I-94 online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/ to make sure it shows your most recent date of entry, your class of admission as J-1 or J-2, and your admit until date as D/S for “Duration of Status”. If any of these are in error or if you have trouble retrieving your I-94 record, contact the OISS immediately to request help with correcting your I-94 record.

I-515A: If you enter the U.S. without proper documentation, you may receive a Form I-515A. You must resolve the issue(s) indicated on the I-515A within 30 days to maintain your J-1/J-2 status. Contact the OISS immediately so that we can assist with resolving the I-515A.

Travel tips: All travelers are subject to search when entering the U.S., including a search of your electronic devices like phones and laptops. To reduce the possibility of your electronics and social media being inspected when you enter the U.S., keep them in your luggage and present only your passport and paper copies of your I-20 and airplane tickets. Students on OPT should also present their EAD card and a paper copy of their proof of employment. For more information on your rights at the airport, visit the American Civil Liberties Union website.

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