J-1 Immigration Information for Students
Most J-1 Exchange Visitors at UNC are exchange students, but some of our J-1 students are degree seekers, and the information may vary slightly from category to category.
- Maintaining Status
Maintaining your J status means following the rules of the J-1 visa category (and helping any J-2 dependents follow the urles of the J-2 category).
- Keep your Documents Valid
Maintain a valid passport at all times while you are inside the United States.
Make sure your DS-2019 is accurate and up to date at all times. Make sure to get a signature to travel outside the U.S. if you are planning to return to complete your program at UNC.
- Expectations of a J-1 Exchange Visitor
- Enroll full time, in face to face classes every term. At least 12 credits for undergraduate students
- Request a reduced course load from UNC Global if you are ill or need academic assistance
- Maintain health insurance the ENTIRE TIME you are in the US
Participate in Cultural Activities and report in UNC Global
Any kind of employment -- on campus, off campus, internships, and training -- requires authorization from your J-1 Program Sponsor (the organization that issued your DS-2019)
- Cultural Engagement Requirement
Voluntary participation for the purpose of sharing the language, culture, or history of your home country with Americans, and learning about American culture are a critical feature of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program. We are required to report participation in these activities to the Department of State.
We report on our Exchange Visitor engagement at UNC, and ask that you plan to attend at least a couple of UNC events each semester. Some options include:
- UNC Cultural Exchange/CIE Events
- Arts and Culture (theater, art exhibit, dance performance, music concert)
- Sports and Leisure
- Academic Scholarship and Research
- Share your culture and speak at various UNC events, or organize an event with a student club or organization or with CIE
We ask that you report events you attended in UNC Global (Exchange Visitor Cultural Activity Report). Photos, testimonials, comments and suggestions are welcome!
- 212(e) - Two Year Home Residency
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries. Depending on our home country or country of most recent residence and whether or not you receive government funding for your program, you may be subject to a requirement to spend at least two years in your home country before returning to the U.S. in an immigrant status.
The information should appear on both your DS-2019 (the one from your visa appointment) and/or on your J-1 visa. Keep in mind that they may have different information on the two documents. CIE can help you determine if you are subject or not, but so can reading the Skills List for your home country (or country of most recent residence): https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2009/04/30/E9-9657/2009-revised-exchange-visitor-skills-list
Notify CIE of any planned travel outside of Colorado during your program
Within the US, you should carry copies of your passport, I-94, and DS-2019 to prove legal presence.
If you're traveling outside the US with intention to return in same visa category and complete your program, bring (and carry in your hand luggage -- not your checked bags!): valid passport, valid visa for your destination (if required for you) and valid visa for U.S. return in correct category, DS-2019 with valid travel signature (request via UNC Global if you need a signature). We also recommend bringing proof of financial support, and other documents that show financial support and engagement in your classes (transcript or schedule, for instance).
- Incident Reporting
As a a J-1 Program Sponsor, UNC is required to report specific kinds of incidents involving -1 exchange visitors to the Department of State.
- Situations endangering health, safety or welfare
- Death, missing person, severe injury or illness
- Litigation (law suits)
- Arrest, charges, law enforcement issues
- Sexually-related incidents or abuse
- Negative press
- Foreign government involvement
- Natural disasters, civil unrest, violence, etc.
If you experience or are part of an incident that might fit into one of these categories (or something similar), please reach out to CIE right away. This is to protect the program and our Exchange Visitor participants, NOT to get you in trouble.
- End of Program
When you complete your program (usually the last day of classes in your last term, but may include Academic Training activities), you have a 30 day "grace period" to pack up, travel within the U.S., and depart the United States. If you depart the U.S. during your grace period, your J-1 program is over, and you cannot re-enter in the same category.
- Training and Employment (Academic Training)