J-1 FAQ

  1. Who should I contact to get information about sponsoring an exchange visitor at UH?
  2. Why can’t I hire someone into a tenure-track, indefinitely-renewable, or APT position using J-1 sponsorship?
  3. How long does it take to get the initial DS-2019 from FSIS?
  4. When should a prospective exchange visitor make a visa interview appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate?
  5. What should a prospective exchange visitor do with the original DS-2019 if the visa is denied or the program is canceled?
  6. Can a dependent enter the U.S. in J-2 status before the J-1 exchange visitor arrives to start the program?
  7. How important is the I-94 record?
  8. Why do J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents need to register with FSIS?
  9. If an exchange visitor or J-2 dependent will travel out of the U.S. temporarily, what should they do before departing?
  10. If an exchange visitor or J-2 dependent must return to the home country due to an emergency, but the DS-2019 is not validated for travel, what should they do?
  11. Can a J-2 dependent work in the U.S.?
  12. Can a J-2 dependent study in the U.S.?

1. Who should I contact to get information about sponsoring an exchange visitor at UH?

Departments should first check with the HR specialist for the college/school unit regarding the specific policies for hosting exchange visitors. For information about immigration requirements, departments may contact an FSIS International Scholar Specialist (Janet or Pei-Chin).

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2. Why can’t I hire someone into a tenure-track, indefinitely-renewable, or APT position using J-1 sponsorship?

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has made it clear that the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is intended strictly for temporary educational and cultural exchange activities and not for regular employment. It is therefore not an option for APT and most faculty (BU 7) positions. UH units must request E-3, H-1B, or O-1, classification for tenure-track positions and E-3, H-1B, O-1, or TN classification for APT positions and for non-tenure track faculty positions that are renewable annually on an indefinite basis. J-1 sponsorship cannot be used as an initial screening mechanism to determine whether to hire an individual into an indefinite regular employment position at a later date.

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3. How long does it take to get the initial DS-2019 from FSIS?

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

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4. When should a prospective exchange visitor make a visa interview appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate?

The individual should schedule the appointment as soon as possible after receiving the DS-2019 from the UH sponsoring unit and paying the SEVIS I-901 fee.

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5. What should a prospective exchange visitor do with the original DS-2019 if the visa is denied or the program is canceled?

The individual must mail the original DS-2019 back to FSIS at:

University of Hawaiʻi
Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services
Attn: International Scholar Specialist
2565 McCarthy Mall, PSB 102-106
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA

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6. Can a dependent enter the U.S. in J-2 status before the J-1 exchange visitor arrives to start the program?

No. If the exchange visitor hasn’t yet arrived in J-1 status, the dependent may not enter the U.S. in J-2 status. J-2 status is contingent upon the exchange visitor being in J-1 status.

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7. How important is the I-94 record?

Extremely important. The I-94 record 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 record, the I-94 should always show “J-1” as the immigration status and “D/S” as the period of authorized stay. J-1 scholars may access their I-94 records on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s I-94 website.

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

U.S. Department of State regulations requires UH as a program sponsor to provide orientation for our exchange visitors. Orientation/registration appointments are necessary for FSIS to effectively convey important information to exchange visitors and their dependents. After the appointment is finished, we can then validate the exchange visitor’s program in SEVIS. Program validation cannot be done unless we have met with the exchange visitor. If the person’s program is not validated on time, their status will automatically change to “No Show” and they may lose their legal status in the U.S.

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9. If an exchange visitor or J-2 dependent will travel out of the U.S. temporarily, what should they do before departing?

See the travel abroad and reentry procedures.

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10. If an exchange visitor or J-2 dependent must return to the home country due to an emergency, but the DS-2019 is not validated for travel, what should they do?

See the “travel emergencies” section of the travel abroad and reentry procedures.

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

Yes, as long as the J-2 dependent is authorized to work and their income will not support the exchange visitor.

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

Yes.

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