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FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin

UH J-1 Program Completion

J-1 completion verification

On-time vs. early completion

2-year foreign residence requirement

12-month & 24-month bars

Transferring to another program sponsor

J-1 completion verification [top]

At least 2 weeks before the exchange visitor's (EV's) UH program ends, the EV must submit a J-1 Completion Form and copies of departure tickets/itineraries for himself/herself and any J-2 dependents to his/her college/school/research unit's Administrative/Personnel Officer (AO/PO). The AO/PO should forward these items to FSIS to be reported in SEVIS.

On-time vs. early completion [top]

On-time completion

If the exchange visitor (EV) completes his/her program on the current DS-2019 end date, he/she will automatically be granted a 30-day travel status (“grace”) period. During the grace period, the EV may travel within the U.S. or prepare for his/her final departure from the U.S. The EV may not conduct any program activities during the 30-day grace period.

Early completion

If the EV will complete his/her program before the current DS-2019 end date, he/she will not be granted an automatic 30-day grace period and therefore must leave the U.S. no later than his/her program completion date. UH is required to report withdrawals and early program completions to SEVIS, so FSIS must be informed immediately if the EV will complete his/her program early. If necessary, it may be possible for FSIS to shorten the EV's program in SEVIS before he/she completes his/her program so that he/she can utilize the 30-day grace period.

Visa overstay

If the EV remains in the U.S. even one day beyond his/her period of authorized stay, he/she will be considered a "visa overstay." Under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), a visa overstay must apply for future U.S. visas only in his/her country of citizenship or country of legal permanent residence.


2-year foreign residence requirement (sec. 212(e)) [top]

Exchange visitors who are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement must return with their dependents to their home country for a minimum of 2 years after finishing their programs before they can return to U.S. with an H or L nonimmigrant work visa or an immigrant visa. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the home country benefits from the exchange visitor's experiences in the U.S. Those who are subject to this requirement cannot change to another visa status (except "A" or "G") while in the U.S. nor can they obtain lawful permanent residence until they either fulfill the 2 year requirement or obtain a waiver of the requirement.

The U.S. DOS Waiver Review Division has the final authority to determine whether the individual is subject to this requirement. When UH issues Form DS-2019, when a U.S. Embassy/Consulate issues a visa, and when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer admits the exchange visitor at a port of entry, preliminary determinations are made on whether he/she are subject to the requirement. If he/she disagrees with any of these preliminary determinations, he/she may write to the DOS Waiver Review Division to request an advisory opinion on whether he/she is subject to the requirement. See the DOS Waiver Review Division website for more information.
If UH did not issue the person's DS-2019, he/she must contact the issuing organization (his/herJ-1 program sponsor) for information on how to apply for an advisory opinion or a waiver. FSIS cannot advise non-UH J-1 scholars on Sec. 212(e) issues.

The J-2 dependents of exchange visitors who are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement are also subject to the requirement.

12-month & 24-month bars [top]

Depending on the individual's J-1 category or the length of his/her J-1 program, the exchange visitor and his/her J-2 dependents may be subject to a 12-month or 24-month bar on repeat participation as a J-1 research scholar or professor. See the 12-Month and 24-Month Bars Chart for more information.


Transferring to another program sponsor [top]

UH cannot sponsor an exchange visitor (EV) after the completion of his/her UH program and strongly encourages participants to return home to fulfill the exchange purpose. FSIS may consider a request to transfer program sponsorship to another sponsor only under the following circumstances:

  • The transfer is necessary to enable the EV to meet his/her original program objectives.
  • The UH program cannot meet these objectives and the program at the new institution will provide the EV with the opportunity to meet these objectives.
  • The EV is not changing his/her field of study or research. 
  • The total period of time in all exchange programs does not exceed the limit for the EV’s exchange visitor category.
  • The EV will transfer to an institution that has agreed to issue him/her a DS-2019 for transfer of program sponsorship.
  • The EV’s UH J-1 program has not ended. No transfers can be processed after the end date on the current UH-issued DS-2019.

If the transfer request meets the above requirements, these procedures must be followed to complete the transfer:

  1. The EV should complete and submit a Request for Transfer J-1 Exchange Visitor to Another Program Sponsor to the UH unit’s Administrative/Personnel Officer to be forwarded to FSIS.
  2. The UH sponsoring unit must submit the transfer request to FSIS at least 45 days before the new program begins.
  3. If the transfer request is approved, FSIS will process a “transfer out” in SEVIS to the new sponsoring institution.
  4. After the new sponsoring institution validates the SEVIS transfer, the new institution will issue the EV a new DS-2019. The transfer of sponsorship is not valid without the completion of the transfer process in SEVIS.