Ending J-1 Sponsorship

Final departure from the U.S.
Transfer to a new institution
Two-year home country residence requirement
12-month & 24-month bars
Visa overstay & unlawful presence


Final departure from the U.S.

The exchange visitor (EV) should submit a J-1 Completion Form to FSIS at least two weeks before the program completion date. Copies of the departure air tickets or itinerary should be attached to the form as proof of departure from the U.S. J-2 dependents must leave the U.S. before or at the same time as the EV since their J-2 status is contingent upon the EV maintaining J-1 status.

On-time completion

EVs who complete their programs on or within 15 days before their DS-2019 end date will automatically receive a 30-day travel status (“grace”) period. During the grace period, an EV may stay in and travel throughout the U.S., but may not continue to conduct program activities.

Early completion

EVs who will complete their programs more than 15 days before their DS-2019 end date should notify FSIS immediately so we can report the earlier end date in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). If we are notified about the early completion before an EV ceases program activities, we will be able to update SEVIS and the EV will receive the 30-day grace period from the new end date of the shortened program.

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Transfer to a new institution

UH departments may request a transfer of an exchange visitor’s (EV’s) ongoing program to another institution only under the following circumstances:

  • The transfer is necessary for the EV to meet the original program objectives;
  • The UH program can no longer enable the EV to meet these objectives;
  • The new institution will provide an opportunity for the EV to meet these objectives;
  • The field of study or research will remain the same;
  • The time to be spent at the new institution will fall within the maximum limit for the EV category;
  • The new institution has agreed to issue the EV a DS-2019 to transfer sponsorship; and
  • The EV’s UH DS-2019 has not yet expired.

If the above requirements are met, the EV and department should follow these procedures no later than 45 days prior to the intended transfer effective date:

1 The EV and UH faculty sponsor complete the transfer request and submit it to FSIS via the HR specialist.

The EV and faculty sponsor complete a Request to Transfer J-1 Exchange Visitor to Another Program Sponsor, attach a copy of the new institution’s invitation letter, and submit both documents to the college/school/unit’s HR specialist.

The HR specialist takes note of the transfer request and sends the request to an International Scholar Specialist at FSIS, PSB 102-106.

2 FSIS reviews the request and initiates a transfer in SEVIS.

After receiving the transfer request, FSIS reviews it to ensure a transfer is appropriate. If the transfer can be granted, FSIS will process a “transfer out” to the new institution in SEVIS.

3 The new institution accepts the transfer, validates the program, and issues a DS-2019.

On or within 30 days after the transfer’s effective date, the new sponsoring institution accepts the transfer and validates the program in SEVIS and issues the EV a new DS-2019 in accordance with the institution’s internal policies.

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Two-year home country residence requirement (sec. 212(e))

Exchange visitors (EVs) may be subject to the two-year home country residence requirement because they receive government funding for their programs or because their fields and home countries are on the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Skills List. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the home country benefits from the EV’s experiences, knowledge, and skills gained in the U.S. To fulfill this requirement, the EV and J-2 dependents, to whom the requirement also attaches, must return to their home country for at least two years after completing the program before they can come back to U.S. on an H or L nonimmigrant work visa or an immigrant visa (permanent residence). Those who are subject to this requirement are not eligible for changes of status (the exceptions are A or G visa statuses) in the U.S., nor can they obtain U.S. permanent residence until they fulfill the requirement.

In rare cases, an EV may receive a waiver of the residence requirement. The DOS Waiver Review Division has the final authority to determine first, whether the individual is subject to this requirement and second, whether the individual may receive a waiver of the requirement. If an EV disagrees with a preliminary finding of being subject to the requirement, they may choose to request an advisory opinion from the Waiver Review Division. For more information about receiving a waiver of the residence requirement, the EV should follow the Waiver Review Division’s instructions on applying for a waiver. Since the DOS’s expectation is for program sponsors to encourage EVs’ returns to their home countries, FSIS cannot advise on and assist with advisory opinion and waiver applications. Both of these applications must be done independently by EVs.

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12-month & 24-month bars

Exchange visitors (EVs) may be subject to 12- and/or 24-month bars on repeat participation in the J-1 professor or research scholar categories. These bars are entirely separate from the two-year home country residence requirement discussed above.

If the program duration is longer than six months, the EV will not be able to return to the U.S. as a J-1 research scholar or professor for at least 12 months following completion of the program. EVs who were in the research scholar or professor category may not return to the U.S. in either of those categories for at least 24 months following completion of the program. Review this chart for more information.

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Visa overstay & unlawful presence

An EV who remains in the U.S. even one day beyond the 30-day grace period and has no legal basis to do so will be considered a “visa overstay.” Visa overstays must apply for future U.S. visas only in their country of citizenship or country of legal permanent residence and may have problems obtaining U.S. visas and entering the U.S. in the future.

Any individual who is found unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days but less than one year can be barred from entering the U.S. for three years if they leaves and tries to reenter the U.S. If someone is unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than one year, they can be barred from entering the U.S. for 10 years.

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