We hope you make the most out of your experience as a J-1 exchange visitor at Augusta University! Below are some resources to help you navigate your time in the U.S.
Whether you're here to conduct research, study or teach, there are certain rules and procedures that you are required to follow. Please read each of the sections below. If you have any questions, please email our office at IPSO@augusta.edu. You can also request an appointment.
In addition to advancing your career or studies, you are encouraged to have enriching cross-cultural experiences. IPSO sends out a newsletter to J-1s and their J-2 dependents with information about community and university events. You may also want to browse the Augusta University calendar.
Welcome to Augusta University!
I’m Beverly Tarver, the Responsible Officer for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program at Augusta University. I look forward to meeting with you personally after your arrival. Immediately upon your arrival at Augusta University please contact the International and Postdoctoral Services office at 706-721-0670 to schedule an appointment. The office is located on the second floor of the Kelly Administration Building (AA 2013).
** Failure to report to International and Postdoctoral Services Office within 30 days of your program begin date at Augusta University may result in automatic cancellation of your J-1 program by SEVIS and further action by United States Department of Homeland Security. Cancellation of your J-1 program may make you ineligible to participate in your stated J-1 program activities (including Augusta University employment) until your J-1 program is re-instated. **
If possible, you should wait until your application for a J-1 visa is approved before making travel plans. Travel arrangements and payment for travel arrangements are the responsibility of the J-1 visitor.
The Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field is located 7 miles from downtown Augusta on Doug Barnard Parkway (56 spur) south of Bobby Jones Expressway (I-520). You will probably fly into Augusta from Atlanta, Georgia, or Charlotte, North Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina, another airline hub, is approximately 1.5 hours west of Augusta.
If you will not arrive at Augusta University and report to the International and Postdoctoral Services Office for program validation within 30 days before or after the date listed on your Form DS-2019, please notify the research or academic department and International and Postdoctoral Services as soon as possible. The Augusta University research or academic unit requesting the DS-2019 must determine if it is appropriate to request a change of your arrival date in SEVIS. If the research or academic unit determines that it is appropriate, the department should request that change at least 7 days before the original arrival date. If the department does not request a change of the arrival date and the J-1 visitor arrives in the U.S. more than 30 days after the SEVIS current program begin date (may be different on the Form DS-2019), SEVIS will automatically invalidate the Exchange Visitor’s record. The United States Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry may not allow the visitor to enter the U.S. on the Augusta University DS-2019.
What is the SEVIS fee?
This SEVIS fee is required of all foreign nationals who come to the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study in institutions such as colleges, universities and language training programs. It is payable one time for each single educational program in which a J-1 participates, extending from the time the exchange visitor is granted J-1 status to the time the exchange visitor falls out of status, changes status or departs the U.S. for an extended period of time.
This fee went into effect September 1, 2004. SEVIS fee payments are used by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. This program makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the United States. The fee also funds the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a computer system employed to track international students and exchange visitors during their stays in the United States.
Which Exchange Visitors Must Pay the SEVIS Fee?
When do exchange visitors pay the SEVIS fee?
When must continuing exchange visitors pay the SEVIS fee?
Continuing exchange visitors (J-1 non-immigrants who have begun, but not finished a program) must pay the SEVIS fee before:
How does one pay the fee?
The SEVIS fee is U.S. $180 for J-1 Exchange Visitors. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. The SEVIS fee can be paid online. It cannot be paid at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and it cannot be paid at a port of entry.
To pay online
1. To pay the fee, visit the SEVIS I-901 Fee website.
2. Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your Form DS-2019.
3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
4. Be sure to make copies of your receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
(NOTE: A third party such as a friend, family member, or other interested party can pay the fee on your behalf through the same means described above.
When is the payment processed and verified?
When you pay the SEVIS fee online, your payment is processed immediately and you can print a receipt directly from your computer. This receipt can be used – and may be required – at an embassy, consular post or port of entry to verify you have paid the fee.
Is the SEVIS fee transferable in the case of a new exchange visitor applying to more than one school?
Yes. The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that fee payment made on one SEVIS ID number (Form DS-2019) can be applied to another SEVIS ID number issued to the same individual.
Is the SEVIS fee refundable if I am denied a visa?
Once paid, the SEVIS fee is non-refundable, unless paid by mistake, even if your visa is denied or, after the visa is issued, you choose not to come to the United States. If you applied for a J-1 visa and paid the SEVIS fee within the last year but were denied a visa, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee again as long as you re-apply for the same kind of program within 12 months of the initial denial.
“Frequently Asked Questions About the SEVIS Fee. (n.d.)”Resource Library. NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Retrieved from www.nafsa.org/Find_Resources/Supporting_International_Students_And_Scholars/Network_Resources/International_Student_and_Scholar_Services/SEVIS_Fee_for_F-1_Students/.
MAINTAINING YOUR J-1 STATUS
Regardless of nonimmigrant status, the documentation secured for your participation in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program at Augusta University and your stay in the United States is only valid while you are participating in your Augusta University-hosted Exchange Visitor Program. IPSO must be notified of any plans for change to your Exchange Visitor Program to avoid being considered out of status. Failure to notify IPSO can result in the termination of your Exchange Visitor program and can negatively impact future petitions for nonimmigrant status and/or permanent residency.
All documents issued by the U.S. government or your home country in connection with your immigration status should be kept in a safe place, as they may be required for future immigration processing, travel, visa applications, work authorization and/or related matters. Replacement of documents is the responsibility of the exchange visitor. These documents include:
EXTENDING YOUR J-1 STATUS
Processing for the extension of your J-1 status may begin up to six months prior to expiration of your most recent Form DS-2019. It is your responsibility to notify your college or department of your pending expiration. However, it is the college or department's decision whether or not to extend sponsorship of your status. If your department agrees to extend your J-1 status and you have time available to extend in your current J-1 category, you can move forward with the extension process as follows:
Students should contact the International and Postdoctoral Services Office at 706-721-0670 for information on obtaining the required permission for employment.
The regulation (Title 22, Section 62.16) states the following:
(a) An exchange visitor may receive compensation from the sponsor or the sponsor’s appropriate designee for employment when such activities are part of the exchange visitor’s program.
(b) An exchange visitor who engages in unauthorized employment shall be deemed to be in violation of his or her program status and is subject to termination as a participant in an exchange visitor program.
(c) The acceptance of employment by an accompanying spouse or minor child of an exchange visitor is governed by Immigration and Naturalization Service regulations.
Exchange visitors who wish to work for any employer other than the school named on the Form DS-2019 must first obtain written approval from their Responsible Officer. The employment must be evaluated by the Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer in terms of the program objectives and individual circumstances to determine whether it is appropriate. The proposed employment must be:
The exchange visitor must submit certain documentation in support of this request (please contact the International and Postdoctoral Services Office). If the employment is an occasional lecture of short-term consultation without a regular salary, the SEVIS record will be updated with permission from the Responsible Officer. If the individual will be teaching a course at another school, for example, and receiving an ongoing salary, a new Form DS-2019 that reflects this situation must be issued and the U.S. Department of State notified. Casual part-time work unrelated to the exchange visitor’s program is not allowed.
If you are planning to travel outside of the United States (for less than five months*) and return to the U.S. then you must, at a minimum, have the following documents with you when you return to the US:
Before you leave the U.S., you should:
1. Advise your PI and/or department manager of:
2. Request a letter from your department or college signed by your PI or department manager. The letter should:
J-1 students only: The letter should come from your college (i.e. Hull College of Business) or from academic advising. For J-1 students in The Graduate School, the letter should come from the dean or the dean's representative.
J-1 students should also request a copy of your academic transcript from the registrar’s office and have the document available for review if requested when they return at the port of entry.
3. Request a travel endorsement appointment with IPSO and bring the following to your appointment:
Dependent family members (J-2s) who travel (with or without their J-1), must also request a travel endorsement on each of their DS-2019s. Each family member must present their current DS-2019, their current passport, their current visa stamp and their current Form I-94 to IPSO for review prior to receiving a travel endorsement.
When appropriate, IPSO will generate new DS-2019s for the J-1 and dependent(s). NOTE: The J-1 must sign any new Form DS-2019 issued on their behalf or on behalf of their dependent(s) under 14 years old. Dependents (J-2s) over 14 years old must sign their own DS-2019s.
If you plan to travel to a country other than your home country or country of legal residence, contact the consulate or embassy for the country you plan to visit to determine the entry and exit documents required. Travel may include flight connections, layovers and stopovers due to airline scheduling.
*Absence from the US for more than five months may automatically end your current J program under immigration services regulations. Contact IPSO as soon as possible if this is your intent or circumstance.
**All travelers. If your visa has expired, you have used all of your allowable entries, you were approved for a change of status in the U.S. or for any reason you do not have a valid visa stamp in your passport for your current status and you travel outside of the United States, you must renew or apply for and secure a new visa outside of the U.S. before attempting to re-enter the U.S. You should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country that you will visit for information on visa renewal or application procedures. If you will not visit your home country, you should seek information on third party country visas for the country that you will visit. See the U.S. Department of State website for U.S. embassy and consulate information.
*****All travelers upon return must report to the International and Postdoctoral Services Office with passport, visa and current Form DS-2019.
Individuals in J-1 status are required to resume their research and/or pursue a full course of study as required by their program immediately after re-entering the U.S.
The J Exchange Visitor Program requirement for insurance states that J Program sponsors must notify their exchange visitors (EVs) of the insurance regulation (22 CFR Part 62.14). All exchange visitors and their accompanying J-2 dependents must have health and accident insurance coverage that meets the minimum requirements established by the United States Department of States (USDOS) for the duration of the J Program (even if the EV or dependents exit the U.S. for periods of time during his/her J Program).
Augusta University, as a J Program sponsor, has determined the following meet the USDOS requirements:
During your first check-in appointment with our office, the AU Responsible Officer will review the procedures to purchase the insurance. Within one business day, you will be required to purchase and show proof of insurance to the Responsible Officer in our office. You will also be required to sign a statement certifying that you understand and are in compliance with this requirement.
As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you understand that failure to comply with the USDOS and Augusta University requirements for insurance may result in termination of your J Program. Please also note that you may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
CHANGING TO H-1B STATUS
Due to personnel limitations, IPSO can only correspond with applicants for whom we have received a Processing Request Form from the hosting/hiring unit. Please start any change of status process through your college/unit administrator.
Some important points to keep in mind about any change of immigration status:
NOTE: Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement
Section 212 (e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and PL-94-184 as amended
Exchange visitors whose programs are financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by either their government or by the U.S. Government are required to reside in their home country for two years following completion of their program before they are eligible for immigrant status temporary worker (H) status or intra-company transferee (L) status. Likewise, exchange visitors who are acquiring a skill which is in short supply in their home country will be subject to the same two-year home-country residence requirement. These skills appear on the “Exchange Visitor Skills List.”
The U.S. Department of State reserves the right to make the final determination regarding 212(e). Note that marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident or birth of a child in the United States does not remove this requirement. The requirement also applies to the J-2 dependent(s) of exchange visitors who are subject.
Some but not all exchange visitors are subject to the two-year home residence rule. The purpose of this requirement is to have the home country benefit from the exchange visitor's experience in the U.S. Exchange visitors come to the U.S. for a specific objective such as program of study or a research project. The requirement is intended to prevent a participant from staying longer than necessary for the objective and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the U.S. for a long term stay.