The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was developed by the Department of State to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges”. Through this program – foreign nationals may visit the U.S. temporarily to teach, lecture, study, observe, conduct research, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Clarkson University has been designated to facilitate the entry of foreign national to the U.S. for any of the activities listed above.

The International Center staff welcomes you to Clarkson University. We hope your stay will be both pleasant and rewarding. The ISSS staff  is here to assist you with your immigration responsibilities and we hope you will use the Center as a resource of information as you navigate challenging and rewarding experiences.


The federal government defines an employee as "an individual who provides services or labor for an employer for wages or other remuneration." 8 CFR 274a.1(f). Therefore - I you receive any compensation (examples include: paycheck, meal voucher, stipend) you are considered an employee and therefore should ensure you have authorization to engage in that employment.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 exchange visitors in the Professor, Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar categories are permitted may only engage in the activities outlined on the DS-2019. Employment is both job-specific and site-specific and any changes or additions to the activity on your DS-2019 must be authorized by ISSS.

Off-Campus Employment

Occasional off-campus consultations & lectures

Exchange Visitors that are invited to speak and/or participate in short-term consultations as long as this is approved by ISSS. This activity must be incidental to your primary program and be authorized in advance by International Student & Scholar Services.

Criteria for consultation or lecture activity:

  • Be directly related to the objectives noted on your DS-2019
  • Be incidental to your primary program activity as noted on your DS-2019
  • The consultation or lecture activity must not delay the completion of your exchange program activity

ISSS Authorization Process

To receive authorization from ISSS – the following documents are required before work begins

  • Letter from the offer or of the lecture or consultation setting forth the terms & conditions  of the offer including:
    • Duration
    • Number of hours
    • Field or subject
    • Amount of compensation (if applicable) and description of such activity
  • Letter from your department head or faculty supervisor to include the following:
    • Confirming the proposed activity is directly related to your principle activity – is incidental – and – will not delay your program at CU
    • Explaining how the proposed activity would enhance your exchange visitor program – and –
    • Recommending approval of the activity

If approved, ISSS will email you the approval and provide you an authorization letter.

Immigration Status

The term immigration status refers to the non-immigrant classification granted to you by the United States and includes compliance with the terms & conditions of the classification you were allowed to enter the United States (J-1).

Some key maintenance status steps are:

  • Complying with deadlines & reporting requirements
  • Engaging in the activity according to your classification (i.e. research, teaching, short-term activity)
  • Avoiding prohibited activity

Your immigration status is stamped on your I-94 card. This document may be electronic or paper depending on if you entered the country by air or through a land port of entry.

Tips to Maintaining Status

The U.S. Government places the responsibility for maintaining your legal ‘status’ on the student or scholar. Understanding and reviewing the regulations that govern your ‘immigration status’ is essential. Failure to comply with these regulations could jeopardize your legal ‘status’ and have negative consequences for future U.S. immigration related applications.

The following are the minimum status requirements:

  • Always have a valid passport with at least 6-months validity
  • Always have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 (check travel signatures from ISSS)
  • Engage in appropriate activity according to your F-1 / J-1 classification
  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment

Maintaining J-1 Scholar Status

It is strongly recommended to carry your immigration documents at all times – even short trips within the U.S.

  • Maintain a valid passport DS-2019 at all times
  • Passport cannot expire and must have at least 6-months validity when traveling
  • DS-2019 travel signature - your forms must have a valid travel signature every year. This can only be signed by a designated official in ISSS office
  • Visa Stamp - this does not need to remain valid while in the U.S. as this is a travel document only
  • Engage in appropriate activities as noted on your DS-2019
  • Each category has a definition and expectations for the activities of the exchange visitor. Item 4 on your DS-2019 form.
    • Professor / Research Scholar - Individuals whose primary duties are teaching – lecturing – observing – conducting research – observing or consulting in connection with a research or teaching project. These categories co-mingle.
    • Short-Term Scholar - A Professor, research scholar or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the US on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing – observing – training – or demonstrating special skills.
    • Student Intern - Student pursuing a degree outside the US where the US internship is ‘full-filling the educational objective for his/her degree program at home institution’.
  • Be employed with authorization – unauthorized employment is a violation of program status and subject to SEVIS termination
  • Carry Health Insurance that meets the minimum requirements specified under the J Exchange Visitor Program. This insurance must be maintained during the entire period of your program
  • Report any address/contact information changes to ISSS within 10 days
  • Timely file any request for program extensions or transfers

Edits & Updates to Immigration Status

Changing Immigration Status

A change of status is a change of one’s primary purpose for being in the United States. Those presently in the United States in a non-immigrant status in good standing may apply to change to any other non-immigrant status for which they qualify.

There are two options to change status:

  1. Travel – exit the U.S. with an initial entry DS-2019 and apply to a U.S. Consulate/Embassy to obtain the proper visa – then – re-enter the U.S. using the new J1 visa status.
  2. USCIS Application – for non-immigrants currently residing in the U.S. can apply to USCIS (US Customs & Immigration Services) for a change of status to J-1.
    • Note – Any benefits of J-1 status are not available until the change of status application is approved by USCIS
    • A change of status application to USCIS can be a lengthy process – please anticipate at least 6-months processing time. Applicants must be in status and eligible for J classification at the time you apply – and – also be eligible at the time of adjudication.
    • Your current non-immigrant status must still be valid at least 30-days prior to your requested J program start
    • Important Note – USCIS does not issue visa stamps (travel documents) and if approved you will need to obtain a visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or
    • Embassy if you plan to travel out of the country
    • J-2 dependents subject to 212(e) home resident requirement are not eligible to change status in the U.S.

Changing to a different J category

A change of category represents a change in objective. The U.S. Department of State must approve the change in category before an updated DS-2019 is issued. “Any change in category must be clearly consistent with and closely related to the participant’s original exchange objective and necessary due to unusual or exceptional circumstances”. (22 CFR 62.41(a))

Check with ISSS on the procedures for requesting a change of category.

Continuing J Program Out of Country

Exchange Visitors in the 'Professor' or 'Research Scholar' category participating in his/her exchange program outside the United States for a schedule period of time may be eligible to keep their J-1 program 'active' while out the country. Approvals for 'out-of-country' requests is at the discretion of the International Student & Scholar Services office (ISSS). If J-1 program activities are not maintained during the absence - ISSS will terminate the professor/research scholar's SEVIS record (status) and in this case, the visitor may not return to the U.S. J-1 professor/research scholar status for 24-months.

When will you require ‘Out of Country’ Authorization?

Any J-1 professor/research scholar that will be out of the U.S. for more than 30 days but less than 1-year AND will continue to pursue the program objective noted on the DS-2019 can be authorized for 'Out-Of-Country' and maintain 'active' J-1 status.

When will you not require ‘Out of Country’ Authorization?

  • You are vacationing outside the U.S. for 30-days or less in agreement with the department and/or faculty advisor.
  • You are departing the U.S. and ending your J-1 program objective. Please be sure to notify ISSS of the date of your departure. An updated DS-2019 may need to be completed.
  • Alternate situations should be described by the department and/or faculty advisor and discussed with ISSS.

Procedures to obtain ‘Out-of-Country’ Authorization & continue your J-1 program:

  • Submit a J-1 Continuing Program Out of Country form, signed by both the J-1 professor/research scholar and the hosting department/faculty sponsor with supporting documentation.
  • Provide a letter on letterhead from the supervising faculty member explaining program activities while out of the country template.
  • Verify you have a current signature – less than 1-year old at the time of entry – on your DS-2019.

Responsibilities while Out-of-Country

For the Exchange Visitor

  • Continue to maintain all responsibilities under the J Exchange Visitor program
  • Report any changes in purpose, activity, or dates as indicated in the request form
  • Maintain a permanent (foreign) and current (last residential address in the U.S.) address with ISSS and update within 10 days any changes to your address
  • Maintain your health insurance – you are required to maintain insurance coverage for you and your dependents as long as the J-1 Exchange Visitor SEVIS record is active, whether or not you are physically present in the U.S.
  • Failure to maintain status will result in status termination in SEVIS

For the Department / Faculty Advisor

  • Continue to supervise the J-1 professor / research scholar while he/she is out of the country
  • Notify ISSS if there is any change in the purpose, activities, or dates of the EV’s ‘out-of-country’ purpose
  • In the event of the J-1 professor/research scholar will not return to CU after his/her absence – notify ISSS so the J-1 status and SEVIS record can be updated to reflect the change.

Program Completion

Exchange Visitors who complete their program by the date on their DS-2019 form may ‘prepare’ for departure from the U.S. During any applicable grace period – you are not able to engage in your exchange activity or be employed. If applicable – please be sure any extensions or transfers are completed prior to the program end on your DS-2019.

An Exchange Visitor in J-1 scholar status who completes their program objective more than 30-days early than the program end date on the DS-2019 will be eligible for to shorten their program. Please contact ISSS with any updates to your program completion.

Program Extensions

An Exchange Visitor in J-1 scholar status who is maintaining J-1 program status and will not exceed any regulatory limits for the category may be eligible to continue in the same exchange visitor program.

Qualifications for J-1 Scholar Extensions

  • You are currently maintaining valid J-1 status
  • You have not exceeded the maximum duration of your J category
  • You have not applied for and received a waiver of the 2-year home residency rule (212.e)
  • You will continue the program objective noted on your DS-2019 and
  • You will have sufficient support for the extension period

How to apply for J-1 Scholar Extension

  • Complete the ‘J-1 Scholar Extension’ form and have this signed by your department tor faculty sponsor
  • Submit the supporting financial documentation for the extension period
  • Submit proof of insurance for the extension period
  • Important Note – any extension request must be submitted prior to your current end date noted on your DS-2019.

ISSS will review your eligibility and if approved will notify you by email to pick-up your updated DS-2019.

Program Transfers

A J-1 exchange visitor in any category may transfer from one exchange program to another if –

  • The purpose of the transfer is to complete or continue the exchange activity you were admitted for.
  • You remain in the same category (i.e. Professor – Research Scholar)
  • You have not reached the maximum stay limit in your current J-1 category and
  • You have not obtained a waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement (212.e)

Transferring from CU

To transfer out of Clarkson University to another exchange program in the U.S., you will need to complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer Release form. You and your department/faculty sponsor and the responsible/alternate officer at your new exchange program, will complete this form.

Submit his form to ISSS with a copy of your offer letter/letter of invitation – information provided from these documents will allow the ISSS to complete your SEVIS transfer.

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