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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

Maintaining J Status

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]

J-1 exchange visitors (EVs) and their 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 their Form DS-2019.
  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment. J-1 professors and research scholars may be eligible to receive payment for occasional lectures or short-term consultations outside their UH program if it is approved by FSIS first. J-2 dependents must receive USCIS work authorization before they can begin working.
  • Provide complete and accurate immigration information to the UH sponsoring unit and to FSIS.
  • Notify FSIS and your UH sponsoring unit of any changes affecting program status, address and telephone number, or any other important information.
  • Ensure the UH sponsoring unit obtains any necessary extensions of J-1 status (and dependents’ J-2 status) in a timely manner. Extension requests should be submitted by your unit's AO/PO to FSIS no later than 45 days before the DS-2019 end date.
  • Maintain a valid passport during the entire UH program.
  • Maintain the required health insurance coverage. Failure to maintain required insurance coverage or a material misrepresentation to UH concerning such coverage shall result in your termination from the program.
  • Notify FSIS and the UH sponsoring unit of any changes in home address within 10 days of moving. FSIS will report the change to the government by updating the EV’s record in SEVIS.

Your J-1 program may be terminated if you violate any of these rules. If your program is terminated, you and your dependents will lose your legal statuses and become subject to deportation and future inadmissibility to the U.S.

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

Before you leave the U.S. to travel to another country, you must have an unexpired travel validation on your DS-2019. DS-2019 travel validations are good for one year or until the DS-2019 end date (whichever is earlier).

Follow these procedures at least 2 weeks before you leave the U.S. to obtain a DS-2019 travel validation from FSIS:

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

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

If you are a J-1 research scholar/professor who will conduct UH J-1 program activities outside the U.S. for more than 30 days and you want to remain active in your UH J-1 program, you must also submit a completed and signed Out of Country Request Form to FSIS. Submission of this form will enable UH to keep your SEVIS record active while you are abroad. You can resume your J-1 program when you return to UH after the approved period abroad.

If you are traveling ONLY to Canada, Mexico, or a qualifying adjacent Caribbean island, special travel and reentry procedures may apply.

If you are traveling to a country OTHER THAN Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island or if you otherwise do not qualify for automatic visa revalidation, before you leave the U.S., be sure to check whether the country requires you to have a visa and/or immunizations. 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 you leave the U.S., turn in your paper I-94 card (if you have one) to the airline attendant. The airline will submit the I-94 card to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to record your exit from the U.S. If the airline does not collect your I-94 card and you are not planning to return to the U.S. right away, mail the card to CBP when you arrive in your home country to ensure that your departure was recorded. See CBP's website for more information on returning your I-94 by mail.

If you do not have a paper I-94 card, you do not need to turn anything in to the airline.

J-1 or J-2 visa

If your J-1 (or dependent’s J-2) entry visa will expire before you return to the U.S., you (or your dependent) will need to get a new valid visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad. For information on specific visa application procedures, see the DOS U.S. Embassies/Consulates website. You can also check the DOS Visa Wait Times website to see visa interview and processing times.

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

Reentering the U.S.

You and your J-2 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 (J-2 visa for dependents) in passport

At the U.S. port of entry, show the above items to the CBP officer. You may also be asked for evidence of financial support. The CBP officer should return these items to you once you are admitted.

Each time you 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 you were admitted properly at the port of entry:

  1. New I-94 cards or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  2. New J-1 or J-2 visas
  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.

If you are a J-1 professor or research scholar, you may engage in occasional lectures or short-term consultations outside UH as long as the criteria stated below will be met. If you will receive wages or other remuneration, you must act as an independent contractor. You must obtain authorization from FSIS before you 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 UH 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.