We hope you make the most out of your experience as a J-1 student at Augusta University! Below are some resources to help you navigate your time in the U.S.
While you're here, 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.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
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
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
MAKING TRAVEL PLANS
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.:
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.
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?
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.
For more information, visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
AFTER YOU ARRIVE
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.
J PROGRAM ORIENTATION
Augusta University, as your sponsor is encouraged to provide you with an orientation that includes:
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.S. and 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.
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:
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
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.
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:
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.:
Before you leave the U.S., you should:
1. Advise your college, academic advising, PI and/or department manager of:
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:
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:
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.
12 MONTH BAR AGAINST REPEAT PARTICIPATION
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)):
212(E): TWO-YEAR HOME COUNTRY RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
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:
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.