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As a J-1 scholar, you are responsible for understanding how to maintain and, if necessary, extend your J-1 status. In addition, you are also required to understand the procedures and timelines for completing or ending your J-1 status. Failure to understand these rules may lead to a loss of valid status and termination of your eligibility to remain in the US. Contact the International Center if you have any questions.

Maintaining Valid Status

In order to maintain valid immigration status as a J-1 Scholar, you must meet the following requirements:

1. Pursue the J-1 program objectives indicated on your Form DS-2019

  • Your status as a J-1 scholar is valid only as long as you are pursuing your J-1 program objectives as outlined on your Form DS-2019

2. Maintain valid immigration documents while in the US

  • While in the US, make sure that your passport remains valid at least six months into the future at all times and your Form DS-2019 from Tufts remains unexpired
  • If you need additional time to complete your J-1 program, ask your department to request a J-1 extension at least 90 days before your current DS-2019 expires (see section below on extending J-1 status)

3. Update your US residential address and contact information with the International Center

  • Report any changes to your US residential address, telephone, and email to the International Center (send an email to within ten days

4. Maintain valid J-1 health insurance for yourself and any J-2 dependents

  • During your program in the US, you must have an insurance policy that meets all J-1 insurance requirements (see section on J-1 Health Insurance Requirements)
  • Any J-2 dependents accompanying you must also have health insurance that meets the J-1 visa requirements

5. Accept employment only after being authorized by the International Center

  • Do not accept payments for employment except those indicated on your Form DS-2019
  • Any other employment must be authorized in writing by the International Center and must meet J-1 employment requirements

6. TravelĀ  using your J-1 documents

  • During your J-1 program, travel using your J-1 documents, including your passport, DS-2019 with an updated travel signature, and J-1 visa

7. Report any changes to your program objectives, goals, and activities

  • Report any changes to your program activities to the International Center
  • Program changes may include changes to your site of teaching or research activity, changes to your program dates, leaves of absence or temporary or permanent departures

8. Depart the US within 30 days following the end of your J-1 program at Tufts

  • Once your program ends, you have a grace period of thirty (30) days after the expiration of your Form DS-2019 to depart the US (see section below on completing J-1 status)
  • If you complete your J-1 program more than fifteen (15) days before the expiration of your Form DS-2019, contact the International Center

Extending, Transferring, or Completing J-1 Scholar Status

Extending J-1 Status

If you are a J-1 scholar and need additional time to complete your program objectives, you may be eligible to request an extension of your J-1 status through the maximum duration of eligibility for your category. Extensions will not be granted if the expected time needed for your activities will take you beyond the maximum duration for your specific category (five years for J-1 research scholars and professors; six months for J-1 short-term scholars; 1 year for J-1 specialists). To request an extension, contact your department supervisor or manager at least three months before your DS-2019 expires. Your department will initiate the process with the International Center for obtaining a J-1 extension on your behalf.

Note: the International Center will not approve an extension if you are subject to Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act - also referred to as the two-year home residency requirement - but have received a favorable recommendation from the Department of State to have the requirement waived. Once the Department of State recommends a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement, you may continue to participate in your current J-1 program through the expiration date indicated on your current DS-2019. However, you are not eligible for further extensions beyond the existing DS-2019 expiration date.

The International Center will accept an extension request for a J-1 scholar who is considering and/or in the process of applying for US permanent residence. However, we strongly encourage anyone in this situation to consult with an immigration attorney, especially on matters concerning international travel and visa renewals. Because the J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, taking steps toward obtaining US permanent residence may be viewed as immigrant intent and the basis for denying a J-1 visa application and refusing entry to the US.

Transferring J-1 Status

If you are a J-1 scholar and plan to discontinue or complete your program at Tufts, but intend to continue a similar program of research and/or teaching at another institution, you may be eligible to request a transfer of your J-1 sponsorship. The transfer must be coordinated between Tufts and your new institution. Your new institution must provide a letter indicating (a) that they are willing to assume sponsorship of your J-1 program immediately following the end of your program at Tufts; and (b) that your new program objectives are consistent with and help to fulfill the original objectives you pursued at Tufts. Please contact the International Center if you plan to transfer your J-1 sponsorship to a new institution, so that we can provide more detailed instructions regarding the timing and steps required to complete the transfer.

If you intend to transfer your J-1 sponsorship, you are still limited to the maximum duration of eligibility for your category. For example, if you were at Tufts as a J-1 research scholar for a period of three years, and plan to continue your research scholar program at another institution, your new institution can sponsor you only for a maximum of two years since the maximum eligibility for a J-1 research scholar is five years.

Your J-1 scholar status ends when your DS-2019 expires or when you complete your program objectives, whichever comes first. If you complete your program objectives more than fifteen days before the expiration of your DS-2019, contact the International Center. The International Center will need to update your J-1 SEVIS record and issue a new DS-2019 with an updated program end date.

Once your program ends, you have a 'grace period' of thirty days to prepare for departure from the US. The grace period ends automatically once you leave, or at the end of the 30th day, whichever comes first.

Early Completion Due to Unforeseen Circumstances

If you need to end your program due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, personal / family issues in your home country, loss of financial support, or other reasons, please notify the International Center of your situation so that you can be advised about appropriate steps to end your J-1 program.