Terminology & Concepts

Department of State (DOS)

Created and administers regulations and policies governing the Exchange Visitor Program. Issues J visas to exchange visitors and their dependents at U.S. consulates/embassies abroad.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Admits the alien into the U.S as a J of F-1, adjudicates certain immigration benefits, and manages SEVIS.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

DHS tracking system that requires all colleges and universities to report information about J-1 exchange visitors, their J-2 dependents F-1 exchange visitors, their F-2 dependents. The International Center is responsible for SEVIS reporting on behalf of the University of Michigan-Flint.

Alternate Responsible Office (ARO)

Individuals who have been appointed by an exchange visitor program sponsor and authorized by DOS to perform certain duties such as preparing and signing DS-2019 forms.

Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) or Designated School Official (DSO)

Individuals who have been appointed by the school and the Department of Homeland Security to perform certain duties such as preparing and signing I-20 forms

Port of Entry (POE)

Any location in the United States or its territories that is designated as a point of entry for aliens and U.S. citizens.  All district and files control offices are also considered ports, since tehy become locations of entry for aliens adjusting to immigrant status.

Twelve Month Bar

Time spent in the U.S. previously in J status may affect an alien's eligibility for participation as a professor or research scholar. An individual may not be eligible to begin a new program if he/she was physically present in any J status (including J-2 status) for 6 months or more during the immediately preceding 12 months from the date of program commencement set forth on the new Form DS-2019.

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

Under specific circumstances, the EV may incur a "two-year home physical presence requirement." This means that when an EV completes his/her J-1 program, he/she may not change immigration status to H-1, L-1 or Permanent Residency without first returning to his/her country for 2 years, or obtaining a waiver of this requirement. The J-2 dependents are subject to the HPPR if the J-1 principal participant is subject to that requirement. IF HPPR applies, change of status to another non-immigrant classification such as F-1 in the United States is prohibited.

Early Departure

If the exchange visitor discontinues his/her J-1 program with a department, the department must notify the IC because the IC is required to report the event to SEVIS. In addition, departments need to notify the IC if an exchange visitor leaves the J-1 program more than 30 days before the end date on the Form DS-2019. The J-1 exchange visitor early departure form is available on our web site.

30-Day Grace Period

Upon successful completion of the J-1 program, the exchange visitor will have an additional 30 days to remain in the U.S. though he/she may not be employed during this 30-day grace period. The 30-day grace period is intended for purposes of traveling within the U.S., packing, and preparing to depart the U.S.

I-20 Certification of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status
DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Exchange Visitor Status

  • Issued by the educational institution or organization after determining the exchange visitor (EV) meets eligibility requirements.  The individual must not be a candidate for a tenure-track position.  Departments request Forms DS-2019 through the International Center
  • EV uses the DS-2019 to obtain a J-1 visa at an  American Embassy or Consulate abroad to enter the U.S.
  • The DS-2019 should be endorsed by the Alternate Responsible Officer of the J-1 program before the exchange visitor travels outside of the U.S. for re-entry to the U.S.

Visa: Permission to Apply for Entry into U.S. at a Port of Entry

  • Issued by an American Embassy or Consulate abroad (Canadian citizens need an I-20/DS-2019 but do not need a visa)
  • Must be valid to enter / re-enter the U.S., except from Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands (with some restrictions)
  • As long as the F remains in the U.S. it does not matter if the visa has expired since it is a travel document, and not the permission to stay

I-94: Arrival - Departure Record

  • An electronic doucment issued to a non-immigrant alien by the Department of Homeland Security upon entry into the U.S. indicating legal entry, status at the U.S., and the permission to stay.  The I-94 can be printed here.
  • D/S - "Duration of Status" means the length of time necessary for the scholar/professor to complete a specific program or level (as indicated on the Form I-20 or DS-2019), plus a 60-day or 30-day grace period for F-1 or J-1 Status Respectively.


  • Issued by the home government
  • Required to enter the U.S.
  • Must be valid for at least 6 months after entry into the U.S.