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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

J Status Issues

General rules of the UH Exchange Visitor Program

Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S.

Occasional/short-term work authorization

Change of J-1 category


General rules of the UH Exchange Visitor Program [top]

UH sponsoring units, J-1 exchange visitors (EVs), and J-2 dependents must follow these rules:

  • Comply with UH policies, rules and procedures and applicable state and federal laws.
  • EVs must conduct the program activities specified on their invitation letter and authorized by Form DS-2019.
  • EVs and J-2s must not engage in unauthorized employment. J-1 professors and research scholars may be eligible to receive payments for occasional lectures or short-term consultations outside the UH program if it is approved by FSIS first. J-2 dependents must receive USCIS work authorization before they can being working.
  • Provide complete and accurate immigration information to the UH sponsoring unit and to FSIS.
  • Notify FSIS and the UH sponsoring unit of any changes affecting program status, address and telephone number, or any other important information.
  • UH sponsoring units must request necessary J-1 and J-2 extensions in a timely manner. AOs/POs should submit extension requests to FSIS no later than 45 days before the DS-2019 end date.
  • EVs and J-2s must maintain valid passports during the entire UH program.
  • EVs and J-2s must maintain the required health insurance coverage. Before FSIS can issue an initial DS-2019, the UH sponsoring unit must have the EV and the appropriate UH unit personnel sign the Health Insurance Acknowledgment Form. Each time an EV renews/extends his/her health insurance plan, he/she must submit evidence of the new period of coverage to FSIS. If an EV willfully fails to provide evidence showing that he/she is maintaining the minimum insurance coverage for himself/herself and any J-2 dependents, UH will be required to terminate the EV’s program and report the termination to the U.S. Department of State. 
  • Notify FSIS and the UH unit of any changes in home address within 10 days of moving. FSIS will report the change by updating the EV’s record in SEVIS.

An EV's program may be terminated if he/she violates any of these rules. If an EV’s program is terminated, he/she and his/her J-2 dependents will lose their legal statuses and become subject to deportation and future inadmissibility to the U.S.

Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S. [top]

Before an exchange visitor (EV) leaves the U.S. to travel to another country, he/she must have an unexpired FSIS travel validation on his/her DS-2019. DS-2019 travel validations are good for one year or until the DS-2019 end date (whichever is earlier).

To obtain a DS-2019 travel validation from FSIS, at least 2 weeks before the EV leaves the U.S.:

  1. EV should obtain a short letter on UH letterhead from his/her faculty sponsor. The letter should be addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and include: (1) a statement that the EV is in good standing, (2) the country the EV will visit, (3) the reason the EV is traveling (e.g. business, vacation, etc.), (4) the dates the EV will be traveling. If J-2 dependents are traveling abroad, the EV or J-2 should write a short letter stating (1) the country they will visit, (2) the reason they are traveling, and (3) the dates of travel.
  2. The EV should keep the original faculty sponsor's letter to use for visa application and/or reentry to the U.S. and submit a copy of the letter and his/her original DS-2019 to the UH sponsoring unit's Administrative/Personnel Officer (AO/PO). If J-2 dependents are traveling abroad, they should submit a copy of their letter and their original DS-2019s to the AO/PO. The AO/PO should forward these documents to FSIS. 
  3. FSIS will validate the DS-2019(s) and provide a memo with further instructions. FSIS will return the validated DS-2019(s) to the AO/PO, who should forward the documents to the EV.

Out of country requests for J-1 research scholars & professors

If a J-1 research scholar/professor will conduct UH J-1 program activities outside the U.S. for more than 30 days and wishes to remain active in his/her UH J-1 program, he/she must also submit a completed and signed Out of Country Request Form to FSIS. Submission of this form will enable us to keep the J-1's SEVIS record active while the scholar is abroad. The scholar can resume his/her J-1 program upon return to UH after the approved period abroad.

If the EV is traveling only to Canada, Mexico, or a qualifying adjacent Caribbean island, special travel and reentry procedures may apply.

If the EV is traveling to a country other than Canada or Mexico or if the EV otherwise does not qualify for automatic visa revalidation, before he/she leaves the U.S., he/she should check whether the country requires a visa and/or immunizations. The EV should check the DOS Foreign Consular Offices website or the Electronic Embassy website for more information on other countries’ immigration requirements.

Departing the U.S.

When the EV leaves the U.S., he/she should turn in his/her paper I-94 card (if received) to the airline attendant. The airline will submit the I-94 card to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to record his/her exit from the U.S. If the airline does not collect the I-94 card and the EV is not planning to return to the U.S. right away, he/she should mail the card to CBP when he/she arrives in his/her home country to ensure that the departure
was recorded. See CBP's website for more information on returning an I-94 by mail.

If the EV does not have a paper I-94 card, he/she does not need to turn anything in to the airline.

J-1 or J-2 visa

If the J-1 (or dependent’s J-2) entry visa will expire before he/she returns to the U.S., the EV (or J-2 dependent) will need to get a new visa stamp from a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. For information on specific visa application procedures, the EV should check the DOS "Apply for a U.S. Visa" website and the DOS Visa Wait Times website to see visa interview and processing times.

If the visa application is denied, the EV should provide the following information to the UH unit’s AO/PO and FSIS: 1) location of the U.S. consulate/embassy; 2) date the visa application was submitted; 3) details of the problem and/or reason given for visa denial; and 4) phone/fax number and/or e-mail address where the EV can be reached.

Reentering the U.S.

EVs and their dependents must have these items to reenter the U.S.:

  1. A passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your DS-2019 end date.
  2. A DS-2019 with an unexpired travel validation.
  3. Valid J-1 visa (or J-2 visa for dependents) in the passport.

Each time EVs and J-2 dependents travel abroad and reenter the U.S., FSIS must receive copies of the following items so we can update our records and check that they were admitted properly at the port of entry:

  1. New I-94 cards or I-94 printouts from CBP's I-94 website
  2. New J-1 or J-2 visa stamps
  3. New admission stamps with notations in passports
  4. New/Renewed passport biodata/expiration pages


Occasional/short-term work authorization [top]

UH exchange visitors (EVs) should primarily conduct their exchange activities at UH. EVs may receive compensation from the sponsor or designee for employment when such activities are part of the EV’s program.

J-1 professors or research scholars may engage in occasional lectures or short-term consultations outside UH as long as the criteria stated below will be met. If the EV will receive wages or other remuneration, he/she must act as an independent contractor. EVs must obtain authorization from FSIS before they can conduct these types of activities. An exchange visitor who engages in unauthorized employment is considered in violation of his/her status and is subject to termination as a participant in an exchange visitor program (22 CFR 62.20(g)).

The occasional lecture or short-term consultation must:

  • Be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor’s program;
  • Be incidental to the exchange visitor’s primary program activities; and
  • Not delay the completion date of the exchange visitor’s program.


  1. Before participating in an occasional lecture or short-term consultation, the exchange visitor must submit these items to FSIS for authorization:
    • A letter from the prospective employer which states the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult, including the duration, number of hours, subject matter, amount of compensation, and description of the activity AND
    • A letter from the exchange visitor’s UH faculty sponsor or department chair recommending such activity, how it meets the above criteria, and explaining how it would enhance the exchange visitor’s program.
  2. FSIS will review the letters to determine whether the outside activity may be authorized.
  3. Upon approval, FSIS will authorize the exchange visitor to participate in the activity in writing.


Change of J-1 category [top]

A request for a change of exchange visitor category (e.g. from Research Scholar to Student) must be submitted by the Responsible Officer for the UH Exchange Visitor Program to the U.S. Department of State for approval. The DOS rarely approves such requests. The request must provide documentation showing that the change is clearly consistent with and closely related to the exchange visitor’s original exchange program objective and is necessary due to unusual or exceptional circumstances. Category changes to Professor or Research Scholar from any exchange visitor category are not permitted.