J-1 Arrival and Departure
Scholars are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the appropriate visa. Failure to do so will violate the scholar’s legal status in the U.S.
Your responsibilities include but may not be limited to the following:
Schedule an Orientation Appointment – Contact International Scholar Services so that we may validate your arrival into the SEVIS system. Complying with this obligation is crucial to your legal stay in the U.S.
Plan your arrival – J-1 regulations require that you arrive in the U.S. within 30 days of the start date shown on your DS-2019. Notify us if your arrival will be more than 30 days after the start date so that we may mail you a new DS-2019.
Carry your documents by hand – Do not place the following documents in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.
- Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay and, if re-entering the United States, the DS-2019.
- Evidence of financial resources
- Letter of acceptance as a participant in the Exchange Visitor Program
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-901
- Name and contact information for your sponsoring organization, including a 24-hour emergency contact number
If arriving by air – Go to the Immigration port of entry kiosk upon arrival and register your arrival.
If arriving by land or sea – The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be filled out upon your arrival.
Report to International Scholar Services for your mandatory orientation appointment. If you did not make an appointment prior to your arrival to the U.S., you must contact International Scholar Services to make an appointment immediately upon arrival. The orientation is required so that we may validate your arrival into the SEVIS system.
Bring the following items with you to your orientation appointment:
- I-94 (arrival / departure document)
If you do not have a U.S. address by the time of the orientation, please make sure you notify us of your address as soon as you have it.
All J-1 scholars are required to report an address change within 10 days of any move to International Scholar Services.
Scholar Services must have your exact residential address even if you choose to receive mail at a Post Office box.
Scholars must notify International Scholar Services whenever there is a change in your academic program or program dates.
Keep International Scholar Services informed if dependent family members arrive in the U.S. We must enter their information into SEVIS.
Scholars should not depart the U.S. for more than one month during their period of stay with dependents present in the U.S.
J-1 scholars must maintain required health insurance (includes Basic Medical Health Insurance, Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance) for yourselves and any dependents in J-2 status throughout your stay in the U.S.
Passports must be valid at all times.
Scholars may conduct research or teach only at UTSA unless specifically authorized ahead of time by International Scholar Services to give a lecture or consult at another institution.
Scholars must contact International Scholar Services if invited to speak or consult at another institution.
Scholars must apply for a program extension before their current DS-2019 expires if they will not be able to complete their program at UTSA by the end date on their DS-2019.
The maximum stay for scholars in the Research Scholar or Professor categories currently is five years. The maximum stay for short-term scholars is six months.
Scholars must receive authorization from International Scholar Services before leaving UTSA in order to transfer to another institution.
Report any and all departure dates and the reason for departure to International Scholar Services. This includes travel, change of program, or leaving the U.S. to return home.
Scholars should obtain the International Scholar Advisor’s signature on their DS-2019 prior to traveling outside the U.S. for temporary absences (including traveling to Canada and Mexico ) to facilitate your re-entry to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar.
It is recommended that scholar’s request a travel signature a month in advance of their travel.
Scholars must depart the U.S. within 30 days of the DS-2019 expiration date or program end date, whichever is earlier unless you have applied for a change of status with USCIS.