The official document that an exchange visitor uses to obtain a J-1 visa for entry into the United States is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, commonly referred to as Form DS-2019. The Form DS-2019 is generated via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a national computerized database of information that is used to maintain data on international students (F-1, J-1 classifications) and scholars (J-1 classification), and their dependents (F-2, J-2 classifications).
UMMC departments that wish to sponsor a prospective J-1 exchange visitor should follow these steps:
A J-1 exchange visitor should arrive in the United States on or before the program start date entered on the Form DS-2019; but the visitor cannot be admitted earlier than 30 days before the beginning date of the program. When the J-1 exchange visitor arrives in the United States and reports to his/her department sponsor, it is imperative that the sponsor notify the Responsible Officer as soon as possible.
The J-1 visitor must be “validated” in SEVIS within 30 days of arrival. Validation is accomplished by entering the exchange visitor’s U.S. address in SEVIS. If the exchange visitor is not validated within the allotted time period, his/her information will be automatically deleted from SEVIS and his/her program will be canceled.
If a sponsoring department knows that an exchange visitor will be unable to arrive on or before the date entered on the Form DS-2019, the Office of International Services should be notified immediately so that a determination can be made as to whether or not an updated Form DS-2019 must be issued.
Exchange visitors are always at risk for security/background investigations by a U.S. consulate or embassy. These investigations can delay the issuance of a J-1 visa by a few weeks or up to several months depending upon the circumstances. Sponsoring departments should be aware of this possibility and plan accordingly.
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