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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


J-1 Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: Who should I contact to get information about starting a J-1 program?

Q2: How long does it take to get the initial DS-2019 from FSIS?

Q3: When should a prospective exchange visitor make his/her visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy?

Q4: What should a prospective exchange visitor do with the original DS-2019 if he/she is denied a visa or decides not to start his/her program?

Q5: Can a dependent enter the U.S. in J-2 status before the J-1 exchange visitor arrives to start his/her program?

Q6: How important is the I-94 card?

Q7: Why do J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents need to register with FSIS?

Q8: If an exchange visitor is traveling outside of the U.S, what should he/she do before departing?

Q9: If there is an emergency and an exchange visitor has to return to his/her home country right away, but his/her DS-2019 is not validated for travel, what should he/she do?

Q10: Upon departing the U.S., what if an exchange visitor or his/her dependent forgot to return his/her I-94 at the port of exit?

Q11: Can a J-2 dependent work in the U.S.?

Q12: Can a J-2 dependent study in the U.S.?


Q1: Who should I contact to get information about starting a J-1 program? [top]

A1: Check with the administrative or personnel officer for the sponsoring college/school or unit. J-1 requests may come to FSIS only through designated individuals in each sponsoring unit.


Q2: How long does it take to get the initial DS-2019 from FSIS? [top]

A2: It depends. If all DS-2019 request requirements are met and assuming our workload isn’t unusually heavy, we should be able to issue the DS-2019 within one week. Significant delays can most commonly be attributed to incomplete and/or inaccurate requests.


Q3: When should a prospective exchange visitor make his/her visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate? [top]

A3: He/She should schedule the appointment after he/she receives the DS-2019 in the mail from his/her UH sponsoring unit.


Q4: What should a prospective exchange visitor do with the original DS-2019 if he/she is denied a visa or decides not to start his/her program? [top]

A4: He/She must return the original DS-2019 to FSIS by mail.


Q5: Can a dependent enter the U.S. in J-2 status before the J-1 exchange visitor arrives to start his/her program? [top]

A5: No. If the exchange visitor hasn’t yet arrived in J-1 status, his/her dependent is not yet eligible to enter the U.S. in J-2 status.


Q6: How important is the I-94 card? [top]

A6: Extremely important. This card serves as the main evidence of the person’s legal status in the U.S. and it is used to track the duration of the person’s presence in the U.S. When a J-1 holder enters the U.S. and receives a new I-94 card, he/she should always check to make sure the port of entry officer has written in “J-1” as his/her immigration status and “D/S” as the period of authorized stay. When he/she leaves the U.S., he/she should turn in the card to the airline representative (unless he/she is traveling to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent Caribbean island under the special travel procedures).


Q7: Why do J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents need to register with FSIS? [top]

A7: FSIS is required to provide orientation for UH exchange visitors. Orientation/registration appointments are necessary for us to effectively convey important information on immigration requirements to exchange visitors and their dependents. After the appointment is finished, we are then required to validate the exchange visitor’s program in SEVIS. This cannot be done unless we have registered the exchange visitor. If the person’s program is not validated in SEVIS on time, his/her status will automatically change to “No Show” and he/she may lose his/her legal status in the U.S.


Q8: If an exchange visitor is traveling outside of the U.S, what should he/she do before departing? [top]

A8: For general travel procedures, see the J-1 travel abroad and reentry information page on our website.


Q9: If there is an emergency and an exchange visitor has to return to his/her home country right away, but his/her DS-2019 is not validated for travel, what should he/she do? [top]

A9: In the case of an emergency, the exchange visitor should give his/her original DS-2019 to his/her supervisor and leave as soon as possible. The supervisor should write a short travel letter and provide the letter and the original DS-2019 to FSIS. We will issue the travel validation and return the appropriate documents to the sponsoring unit. The sponsoring unit should then mail the original DS-2019 and original travel letter to the exchange visitor so that he/she can use these documents to reenter the U.S. to resume his/her J-1 program.


Q10: Upon departing the U.S., what if an exchange visitor or his/her dependent forgot to return his/her I-94 at the port of exit? [top]

A10: Unless the exchange visitor is traveling to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent Caribbean island under the special travel procedures, he/she should always turn in the I-94 card upon leaving the U.S. If he/she has forgotten to turn in the I-94, his/her departure may not have been recorded properly, which could make it appear that he/she overstayed the visa. Therefore, the person should immediately mail his/her I-94 card along with a short letter explaining the circumstances and any documentation of departure (e.g. copy of air ticket/itinerary, entry stamp into another country, etc.) to the Department of Homeland Security at the following address:

DHS - CBP SBU
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

For more information, see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website explaining how to record departure from the U.S. after the fact.


Q11: Can a J-2 dependent work in the U.S.? [top]

A11: J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work authorization in the U.S. See the J-2 work authorization information page on our website for the application procedures. A J-2 dependent may begin employment after receiving USCIS approval of the work authorization application.


Q12: Can a J-2 dependent study in the U.S.? [top]

A12: A J-2 dependent may not undertake full-time study in the U.S. unless he/she is in a K-12 program. J-2 dependents who wish to study full-time will be required to change to F-1 or J-1 student status. It is expected that J-2s may study part-time while in the U.S.



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