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 OIS should be notified immediately so that a determination can 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.