J-1 Students


THE J EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM AT AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY

We are happy you have chosen to participate in the J Program hosted by AU. As an exchange visitor (EV), you must understand that by entering the U.S. in J status, you obligate yourself to comply with the terms and conditions pursuant to this status as stated on page 2 of your Form DS-2019.

The J Program at AU, program number P-1-01760, is officially described as follows:
The Exchange Visitor Program at Augusta University provides courses of study, lecturing and research opportunities in various fields of instruction and research conducted by Augusta University for qualified foreign research scholars and students to promote the general interests of international and educational cultural exchange.

FORM DS-2019 AND WHY YOU NEED ONE

The Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status is the basic document used in the administration of the J Program. Your AU host department will send your DS-2019 to your home country address. Review your Form DS-2019 for accuracy and report any errors to your AU host or department manager before scheduling your visa appointment. 

The DS-2019 permits you to seek an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States. 

PAYING THE SEVIS FEE

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a nationwide, internet based system that the
U.S. government uses to maintain accurate and current information on nonimmigrant students, EVs and their
dependents.

You are responsible for paying the I-901 SEVIS FMJ fee, and all visa processing fees. Before
scheduling your visa appointment, you must pay the SEVIS fee and print the SEVIS fee receipt.

APPLYING FOR A J-1 VISA

  • After you pay the SEVIS fee, locate the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule your visa appointment appointment.
  • Visit the U.S. Department of State’s (USDOS) webpage under J Visa for required documentation.

MAKING TRAVEL PLANS

  • When making your travel arrangements, we recommend that you do not finalize your travel plans until you have received your visa. If there is a problem with the visa application process, the costs spent on travel may not be recoverable.
  • You may arrive in the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the begin date in the SEVIS record.
  • 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.

BRINGING MONEY TO COVER EXPENSES

In addition to the mandatory financial requirements at AU, we strongly recommend that you bring an additional
$6,500 to $7,000 to cover immediate start-up expenses. Additional funds may be required if you are bringing J 2
dependents. It is advisable that you bring a credit card to cover immediate expenses such as insurance premiums.

If you are offered employment at AU, before you are placed on the AU payroll and begin your J Program, you
will be required to apply for and receive a social security number and card. If there is a delay in acquiring a social
security card, you will be required to cover all of your living expenses while the application is pending. These
costs are not reimbursable.

PREPARING TO TRAVEL

When you travel to the U.S. there are several documents that you will need to present to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officer once you arrive at a U.S. Port of Entry. You should hand-carry these documents. Do NOT pack these documents in your luggage that will be placed in the undercarriage of the plane. If your luggage is lost, you will not have the proper documentation needed to present to the USCBP officer and may be denied entry into the U.S.
The following documents should be hand-carried on your flight to the U.S.:

  • Valid passport with nonimmigrant visa (passport must be valid for at least 6 months after entering the U.S.)
  • SEVIS Form DS-2019
  • I-901 SEVIS FMJ fee receipt
  • Employment Offer or Invitation Letter from AU host
  • Evidence of sufficient financial resources
  • Name and contact information of the Responsible Officer (RO) at AU
  • Writing instrument (pen)

J-2 DEPENDENTS

J-2 dependents may enter separately from you. In fact, we recommend that you arrive in the U.S. prior to bringing
your J-2 dependents. This will allow you to navigate the new city, find housing and establish the necessary needs for living in a new country without the added worry of your dependents. It is also possible to add your  J-2 dependents after you have already begun your J Program. Contact IPSO for more information.

J-2 dependents are eligible to attend public or private schools at any level of study.  J-2 children may attend public/private, primary and secondary schools and may also study at a college or university.

HOUSING

On campus: AU housing is limited. However, you may contact Augusta University’s Residence Life Staff with your questions about living on campus.

Off campus: Your department manager or faculty host may have a list of realtors that will assist you in locating
a home or an apartment. You may also search online for apartments or houses for rent in the Augusta area.

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?

  • Those who are seeking a J-1 visa from a United States embassy or consulate for first-time participation in an initial J program. In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid at least three days before the visa appointment at the embassy or consulate.
  • Those who are in the United States and wish to change to exchange visitor (J-1) status from another non-immigrant status with a Form DS-2019. (For example, from B-2 to J-1 exchange visitor status.)
  • Those who hold a valid J-1 visa, have been absent from the United States for a period of more than 5 months (not working on your J program activities during this time with the prior approval of your program sponsor), and will re-enter the United States for a new program. In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE re-entry to the United States.
  • Residents of a contiguous territory or adjacent island who are exempt from the visa requirement (for example, citizens of Canada or Bermuda), and will apply for admission at a port of entry to begin an initial J program. In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE entry to the United States.

When do exchange visitors pay the SEVIS fee?

  • Applicants needing a visa to enter the United States should pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 business days before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interview.
  • Applicants who are citizens of Canada or Bermuda or residents of certain other islands described in 8CFR 212.1a wishing to apply for J-1 status should pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 business days before entering the United States at a port of entry.
  • Non-immigrants currently in the United States who apply for student or exchange visitor status must pay the fee prior to filing their change of status application.

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:

  • Filing a reinstatement application after a substantive violation after they have been out of status between 121 and 269 days.
  • Applying for a change of exchange visitor category, unless the new exchange visitor category is fee exempt (federally sponsored programs with program codes that start with G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-7). 

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.

For more information, visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

When you arrive, please contact your PI / host and department manager. They will contact our office to schedule your J-1 validation appointment. Failure to report to the 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. 

Please bring the following to your appointment for yourself and any accompanying J-2 dependents

At the close of the validation appointment, the RO will schedule an orientation appointment and provide you with clear instructions on when and where to apply for the social security number. The RO will also go over the required health insurance.

Augusta University, as your sponsor is encouraged to provide you with an orientation that includes:

  • the Exchange Visitor Program Participant Welcome Brochure
  • life and customs in the United States;
  • local community resources (e.g., public transportation, medical centers, schools, libraries, recreation centers, and banks), to the fullest extent possible;
  • available healthcare, emergency assistance, and health insurance coverage;
  • description of your J-1 program, such as information on the length and location of the program and a summary of the significant components of the program;
  • rules that you are required to follow while participating in your J exchange visitor program;
  • the name and address of the IPSO office to include the name, email address, and telephone number of the Responsible Officer and Alternate Responsible Officer(s);
  • the IPSO office address, telephone number, facsimile number, website and email address;
  • links to J program regulations 22 CFR 62:
    Rules and Infractions
    Adjustments and Extensions
  • other Department of State materials as appropriate or required;
  • Wilberforce Pamphlet on the Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers;
  • the requirement that you must report to the Responsible Officer within ten (10) calendar days any changes in your telephone number, email address, actual and current U.S. address (i.e., physical residence), as well as any changes to your program to include leaving your J program.

J Program Description

The Exchange Visitor Program No. P.1.01760 at Augusta University provides courses of study, lecturing and research opportunities in the various fields of instruction and research conducted by Augusta University. Under the sponsorship of Augusta University, qualified foreign students and research scholars promote interchange of knowledge and skills, mutual enrichment and stronger links between research and educational institutions in U.Sand foreign countries.

The exchange visitor is required to be fully engaged in the activities described on the DS-2019 and for the length of time indicated.

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.

Documentation

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:

  • Passport (Issued by: Your Country of Citizenship)
    • Make sure to renew passports (including those of dependents) at the earliest opportunity
  • Visa (Issued by: United States Department of the State)
    • Your visa is your “ticket” into the United States. It does not grant you valid status in the country. The expiration of your visa does not necessarily mean your status in the U.S. has expired. You do, however, need a valid visa to re-enter the U.S. after any international travel.
  • I-94 (Issued by: United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or USCIS)
    • As of May 2013, I-94 records are now created electronically upon entry into the U.S. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in their passport. To retrieve and/or print your I-94, please visit the Customs and Border Protection website.
    • Your I-94 will list an “Admit Until Date” of “D/S” for “duration of status.” The “D/S” correlates to the program completion date on your Form DS-2019.
    • Customs and Border Protection will still issue a paper Form I-94 to exchange visitors who enter the U.S. at a land border port of entry. In some other cases, CBP may also issue a paper Form I-94.
    • The CBP Arrival / Departure Record is also now recorded electronically. This record can also be accessed on the Customs and Border Protection website. The old paper forms used to be attached to your passport by a CBP officer upon entering the United States, with an expiration date stamped on the form.
  • Form DS-2019 (Issued by Augusta University, J program sponsor)
    • The basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program which permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.
    • The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program. For more information, read the detailed description of the DS-2019.

Please notify our office of any change in your address by filling out the Information Change Request Form

Also, all non-U.S. citizens in the United States are required by regulation (8 CFR 265) to notify USCIS of any change in their address within 10 days of the change by filing Form AR-11 with the USCIS. Notifying the USCIS of any address change is a condition of a non-U.S. citizen’s stay in the United States. Failure to comply could result in removal from the United States.

There are two ways to complete Form AR-11.

  1. You may complete and submit Form AR-11 online (recommended) at uscis.gov/coa/displayCOAForm.do. Print the receipt for your records.

 OR

  1. You may download the PDF version of the form online at uscis.gov/ar-11 and mail it to the address indicated on the bottom of the form. Make a copy for your records noting the mail date and address. 

 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:

  • If your financial support is from sources other than Augusta University, gather updated original financial documents
  • Bring all of the above forms and/or documents to your appointment

J-1 students should contact the International and Postdoctoral Services Office at 706-721-0670 for information on obtaining the required permission for employment.


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 U.S.: 

  • An unexpired passport that is valid for at least six months after your return to the U.S. 
  • A valid, unexpired visa on the day you re-enter the U.S. 
  • A valid Form I-94 that shows that you have not overstayed.  NOTE:  (J visitors should have a “D/S” for “duration of status” on their Form I-94.)
  • All current and expired Forms DS-2019 or IAP-66
  • Proof of your current financial support 
  • A valid Form DS-2019 endorsed for travel  

Before you leave the U.S., you should:

1. Advise your college, academic advising, PI and/or department manager of:

  • your intention to travel outside of the U.S.
  • your dates of travel
  • your travel itinerary
  • your contact information while you are away 
  • your family members who will accompany you

2. Request a letter signed by the dean or dean's representative for your college (i.e. Hull College of Business or The Graduate School) or academic advising. The letter should:

  • be addressed to “to whom it may concern:” 
  • state that your Augusta University mentor, department manager and/or college administrator has been advised of your travel plans; 
  • include your expected departure and return dates 
  • state that you are a student and/or employee in good standing and expected to return to continue your program.

3. Print a copy of your academic transcript from Pounce and have the document available for review if requested when you return at the port of entry.

3. Request a travel endorsement appointment with IPSO and bring the following to your appointment:

  • the original signed letter from you college/department
  • your passport (with current visa stamp)
  • current DS-2019
  • current Form I-94 (printed from the Customs and Border Protection website)

NOTES

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:

  • If you are a J-1 who is employed at Augusta University in a benefits-eligible position, then the employee insurance plans offered through AU are acceptable, as long as the deductible is not higher than $500. In addition, you will be required to purchase repatriation and medical evacuation insurance offered through an AU student/scholar policy to fully meet the J Program requirements, since this insurance is not included in the employee insurance plans.
  • If you are a J-1 who is not employed at AU or is in a position that is not benefits-eligible, then you will be required to purchase the insurance offered to AU students/scholars. This insurance includes repatriation and medical evacuation coverage.
  • As a J-1, insurance provided through your sponsor may be accepted, but it must be reviewed and approved by the Augusta University J Program Responsible Officer (RO).

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.

Before producing a Form DS-2019 for an exchange visitor in the category of either Professor or Research Scholar, it must be determined that the individual is eligible to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar. An individual may be selected for participation subject to the following conditions:

1. Non-tenure track position. 
The exchange visitor must not be a candidate for a tenure track position (see 22 CFR 62.20 (d)(1)).

2. 12-month bar against repeat participation. 
The exchange visitor has not been physically present in the United States as a non-immigrant pursuant to the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J) for all or part of the 12-month period immediately before the program begin date on his or her Form DS-2019 identified in SEVIS, unless (see 22 CFR 62.20 (d)(2)):

  • The exchange visitor is transferring to the sponsor's program pursuant to the provisions set forth in 22 CFR 62.42, Transfer of Program OR
  • The exchange visitor's presence in the United States was less than 6 months in length OR
  • The exchange visitor's presence in the United States was pursuant to a short-term scholar exchange activity as authorized by 22 CFR 62.21, Short-term Scholars.

General Disclaimer. The information contained in the International and Postdoctoral Services Office handouts or packets is for the use of the Augusta University community. Some of the information is very general and some is specific to Augusta University. Information contained herein should not be used as the sole source of information for making decisions that may affect one’s legal status in the U.S. or one’s right to study, teach, conduct research, or work.

Certain exchange visitors (J-1) are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement that requires them to return to their home country for at least two years at the end of their exchange visitor program. This is also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e). If you are unable to return to your home country to fulfill the two-year requirement, you must obtain a waiver approved by the Department of Homeland Security prior to changing status in the United States or being issued a visa in certain categories for travel to the United States.   

See the  United States Department of State’s website for more information. 

You are subject to the requirement if: 

  • Your J-1 participation is or was funded in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange, by your home government or by the United States government;  
  • As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are acquiring a skill that is in short supply in your home country, according to the United States government’s Exchange Visitor Master Skills List;
  • You have participated as a J-1 in a graduate medical education or training program (i.e. a residency, internship, or fellowship) sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates;
  • You are the J-2 dependent of a J-1 Exchange Visitor who is subject to the requirement; and/or
  • You have ever been subject to the requirement in the past, and have neither obtained a waiver nor fulfilled it by spending two years in your home country or country of last legal permanent residence. The foreign residency requirement still holds, even if a more current Form DS-2019 reflects no basis for such a requirement 

Waivers of the Requirement  

See the U.S. Department of State Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement for additional information. 

Due to personnel limitations, IPSO can only correspond with applicants for whom we have received a processing request form from the hosting/hiring unit or from admissions.