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News:

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 signen@hawaii.edu 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


New J-1 & J-2 Requests




STEP 1: Determine J-1 eligibility & invite the individual to UH

STEP 2: Prepare DS-2019 initial request

STEP 3: DS-2019 issuance

STEP 4: Pay SEVIS fee

STEP 5: Visa application & entry to the U.S. OR change of status

STEP 6: Mandatory J-1 registration/orientation 



STEP 1: Determine J-1 eligibility & invite the individual to UH [top]

First, the UH sponsoring unit, particularly the principal investigator/faculty sponsor who will be responsible for the prospective exchange visitor (EV), should carefully assess whether it has the resources (time, space, etc.) to properly host a visiting scholar. Please review the Agreement to Oversee J-1 and J-2(s) for a list of oversight requirements the unit will need to fulfill for the duration of the EV's program.

If the unit and the PI/faculty sponsor conclude that hosting the EV is possible, they should then compare the EV's qualifications with the selection and eligibility criteria on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories chart to determine the appropriate EV category

Tenure-track positions: J-1 classification is not an option for tenure-track positions. For tenure-track positions, UH units must request H-1B, O-1, or E-3 classification.

Previous J-1 program participation: If the prospective exchange visitor was previously a J-1 exchange visitor anywhere in the U.S., he/she may be subject to the 12-month bar and/or 24-month bar on repeat participation as a J-1 research scholar or professor - that is, it may not be possible to immediately sponsor an EV in the J-1 research scholar or professor category. See the 12-Month and 24-Month Bars Chart for more information.

English proficiency: A prospective EV must be sufficiently proficient in English to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program.

Financial support: The EV must be able to show that he/she can meet the minimum requirements to financially support himself/herself and his/her J-2 dependents:

  • EV: At least $2000 per month
  • Spouse: Additional $700 per month
  • Child: Additional $500 per month per child

Inviting a prospective EV to UH

UH units should ensure they can provide an opportunity for a prospective EV to accomplish his/her program objectives. If this is the case, the faculty sponsor in the UH sponsoring unit must send the prospective EV a letter of invitation that includes the following information:

  • UH BOR position title (e.g. Visiting Colleague, Postdoctoral Fellow, etc.)
  • Exchange visitor category (i.e. Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Specialist, or Non-Degree Student)
  • Start and end dates of the program
  • Campus(es)/Location(s) where the program activities will take place
  • Brief description of the proposed activities

The UH unit will need to obtain a letter of acceptance from the EV to be included with the DS-2019 initial request.

 


STEP 2: Prepare DS-2019 initial request [top]

The J-1 exchange visitor (EV) and each accompanying J-2 dependent must have an FSIS-issued Form DS-2019 which is used for J-1 and J-2 visa application, entry to the U.S. in J-1 or J-2 status, and changes of nonimmigrant status.

UH sponsoring units should submit DS-2019 initial requests to FSIS via the college/school/unit’s Administrative or Personnel Officer (AO/PO) no later than 3 MONTHS prior to the requested start date. This time is necessary in case we need to clarify or obtain information to issue the DS-2019 and to ensure the EV has enough time to apply for his/her visa and enter the U.S.

UH sponsoring units should determine the type of DS-2019 initial request that is required and then follow the appropriate procedures below:

DS-2019 initial request for EV (& accompanying dependents)
DS-2019 request for J-2 dependents arriving separately DS-2019 initial request & change of status DS-2019 request for transfer of sponsorship to UH
CIRCUMSTANCES

Prospective EV is abroad & will enter the U.S. to begin a new UH J-1 program;

OR

EV is transferring to UH from another sponsoring institution (see rightmost column);

OR

EV is transferring internally from one UH department to another.

 

EV has begun UH program & family members are joining him/her as J-2 dependents. Prospective EV is in the U.S. in another valid status (e.g. F-1, H-1B) & needs to change status to J-1.

EV is in J-1 status at another sponsoring institution & will transfer the program to UH. Transfer requirements must be met before EV can transfer to UH.

PROCEDURES

1.  UH department prepares the DS-2019 Initial Request Form & all attachments.

2.  UH dept sends the request to the college/ school/ research unit's AO/PO.

3.  AO/PO reviews the packet & forwards the complete request to FSIS, Attn: Kathy, PSB 104 or Janet, PSB 106.

4.  FSIS issues a Form DS-2019 for the EV & each J-2 dependent.

1.  UH department prepares the DS-2019 Request Form for J-2s Arriving Separately & all attachments.

2.  UH dept sends the request to the college/ school/ research unit's AO/PO.

3.  AO/PO reviews the packet & forwards the complete request to FSIS, Attn: Kathy, PSB 104 or Janet, PSB 106.

4.  FSIS issues a Form DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent.

1.  UH department prepares the DS-2019 Initial Request Form & all attachments.

2.  UH dept sends the request to the college/ school/ research unit's AO/PO.

3.  AO/PO reviews the packet & forwards the complete request to FSIS, Attn: Kathy, PSB 104 or Janet, PSB 106.

4.  FSIS issues a Form DS-2019 for the EV & each J-2 dependent.

5.  EV prepares & submits a change of status application (Form I-539) to USCIS for himself/herself & any dependents.

1.  Current sponsor's Responsible Officer/Alt. Resp. Officer submits a Request to Transfer J-1 Exchange Visitor to UH to FSIS & processes “transfer out” in SEVIS.

2.  UH dept prepares the DS-2019 Initial Request Form & all attachments.

3.  UH dept sends the request to the college/ school/ research unit's AO/PO.

4.  AO/PO reviews the packet & forwards the complete request to FSIS, Attn: Kathy, PSB 104 or Janet, PSB 106.

5.  FSIS issues a Form DS-2019 for the EV & each J-2 dependent.





STEP 3: DS-2019 issuance [top]

FSIS will generate a DS-2019 for the exchange visitor (EV) and/or each J-2 dependent after receiving a complete DS-2019 request from the UH sponsoring unit. We will attach pre-arrival information to the original DS-2019(s) and contact the AO/PO when the documents are ready to be picked up from our office. The EV will be required to download and read the
Pre-Arrival Information for J-1 Exchange Visitors booklet. If he/she does not have Internet access, the UH sponsoring unit must print a hard copy of the booklet and mail it to the EV. He/She will need all of the pre-arrival information and his/her DS-2019 (and any dependents’ DS-2019s) in order to apply for a J visa, enter the U.S., or apply for a change of status, so the UH sponsoring unit should transmit these documents to him/her as soon as possible.

DS-2019 signatures

The EV should sign his/her DS-2019 and print the location and date of signature. If a DS-2019 was issued for a J-2 spouse and/or child over 14 years of age, the spouse or child should sign his/her own DS-2019 and include the location and date of signature. If a DS-2019 was issued for a J-2 child under 14, the EV should complete this section of the J-2 child’s DS-2019.



STEP 4: Pay SEVIS fee [top]

Most new J-1 exchange visitors (EVs) must pay a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee of $180 after they receive their DS-2019.

If the EV is currently abroad and will be entering the U.S. to begin a new J-1 program, he/she should review the SEVIS Fee information in the J-1 entry procedures section.

If the EV is currently in the U.S. in a different nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, H-1B, etc.) and will be applying for a change of status to J-1, he/she should review the SEVIS Fee information in the change of status procedures section.

The SEVIS fee does NOT have to be paid by:

  • J-2 dependents
  • Individual who paid an initial SEVIS fee when seeking a J-1 visa from a U.S. embassy/consulate, was denied a visa, and is applying again for a visa in the same J-1 exchange visitor category within 12 months of the first visa denial
  • J-1 exchange visitor applying for a visa to return to the U.S. as a continuing participant of an exchange visitor program. This applies only to J-1s returning to the U.S. to resume participation in a program that began previously, in which he/she has maintained status, and which has not completed
  • J-1 exchange visitor transferring to UH in the same exchange visitor category, UNLESS he/she is transferring from a federal government-sponsored program (with G-1, G-2, or G-3 program codes)
  • J-1 exchange visitor requesting/applying for an extension of stay in the same program



STEP 5: Visa application & entry to the U.S. OR change of status [top]

NOTE: If the exchange visitor (EV) is unable to come to UH for any reason, he/she must return the DS-2019 to FSIS.


VISA APPLICATION & ENTRY TO THE U.S.

If the EV is currently abroad and will enter the U.S. to begin a new J-1 program, he/she and his/her J-2 dependents must enter the U.S. on or 30 days before their DS-2019 start date. If the EV cannot enter the U.S. within 30 days before the DS-2019 start date, please notify FSIS immediately.

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for J-1 or J-2 visas prior to entering the U.S. Instead, they may apply for admission at the U.S. port of entry by presenting the following items to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer:

  • Original DS-2019
  • Passport (which must be valid for at least 6 months after the DS-2019 end date)
  • SEVIS fee receipt

Citizens of all other countries must obtain a J-1 or J-2 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy/consulate before they can enter the U.S. Visa application requirements vary by consulate, so the EV should check with the specific consulate before his/her interview to be sure he/she has all the required documents. See the U.S. Department of State's "Apply for a U.S. Visa" website for links to the visa application requirements for all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

EVs and their dependents should apply for their visas as soon as possible because it may take awhile for consulates to issue visas. All visa applications undergo a security check and some may require a more extensive security clearance that may take several weeks.

The EV should review the J-1 entry procedures for more details on visa application and entry to the U.S.


CHANGE OF STATUS

If an EV is currently in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status and he/she has filed a Form I-539 application for a change of status, he/she may not receive UH payments or begin UH employment until USCIS approves his/her I-539. The EV may begin/continue UH employment while the I-539 is pending only if he/she has some other valid work authorization (e.g. F-1 OPT authorization that has not expired).

When USCIS approves the EV’s I-539 change of status application, he/she will receive an approval notice (Form I-797) in the mail. USCIS will also return the EV’s original DS-2019. The EV must provide copies of the approval notice and the returned DS-2019 (both sides of each form) to the UH sponsoring unit’s Administrative/Personnel Officer and to FSIS.

The EV should review the change of status procedures for more information.



STEP 6: Mandatory J-1 registration/orientation [top]

Prior to or within 10 business days of arrival in the U.S., J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents must contact an FSIS International Scholar Specialist to schedule a mandatory registration/orientation appointment. FSIS will not meet with an EV or his/her dependents if they do not have an appointment.

The EV and his/her J-2 dependents should bring these items to the appointment:

Registration normally takes 1 hour. An FSIS scholar specialist will review the EV’s immigration documents to check that he/she was properly admitted at the port of entry. FSIS will also give the EV an orientation packet containing information about the J-1 program rules, Social Security and other identification cards, and other materials to help the EV adjust to UH and the Hawaii community.

Once the EV and his/her J-2 dependents have completed the registration session, the FSIS scholar specialist will validate his/her J-1 program in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) as long as the EV has submitted all the required documents for registration.

If an EV does not register with FSIS and his/her program is not validated in SEVIS within 30 days of entering the U.S., the EV may be reported as a “No Show,” which will result in a violation of J-1 status. This will make the EV subject to deportation and future inadmissibility to the U.S.


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