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Maintaining Status


Immigration Requirements

You must meet certain obligations in order to maintain your lawful status, including:

  • Obtain and maintain health insurance that meets the minimum requirements as defined by the U.S. Department of State (DOS.)  (Also see our Insurance section.)
  • Engage only in the specific activities as described in your DS-2019 Request Form submitted to OIS.
  • Refrain from unauthorized employment or other academic or professional activities without first consulting OIS. Including accepting payments from UIC if not officially funded by UIC.
  • Work only as approved on your DS-2019 and have a valid, unexpired Form DS-2019 at all times.
  • Report changes in local residential address
    • If you move, you MUST report your change of address to OIS within 10 days of moving
    • Failure to report change of address will make you ineligible for “Reinstatement”
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times.


J-1 Regulations and Processes

  • You are required to discuss any possible changes to your J-1 program with OIS in advance.
  • The Exchange Visitor program does not allow immigrant intent; i.e. you may not apply for Permanent Residency.
  • Grace Period: As long as J-1 status is maintained, Exchange Visitors may remain in the U.S. up to 30 days past the program end date noted on DS-2019 to prepare for departure. Note: this does not permit work authorization or continuation of J-1 program activity. No grace period for early termination.
  • Incidental Employment: The Exchange Visitor must request and receive written permission from OIS for incidental employment related to program activities prior to the dates of employment.
  • Transfers: May be possible to transfer to another program sponsor if you are released first by UIC and will continue to work toward your program objectives in the same category at the new institution. If you are thinking of transferring please make an appointment with the faculty/staff advisor to discuss the procedure at least 2-3 weeks in advance of your proposed transfer date.
  • Change of Status: Notify OIS if you would like to change your immigration status. Only possible if you are not subject to 212(e), the “Two-Year Home Residency Requirement.”
  • Change of Category: Possible in exceptional circumstances. Please set up an appointment at OIS if you are thinking about changing your category.
  • 24-Month Bar: If you are in the “Research Scholar” or “Professor” category you are discouraged from repeat program participation.  You may be eligible to transfer your J-1 program to another U.S. institution, however, once your academic program ends as a J-1 Research Scholar/Professor, you may not be in the Research Scholar/Professor category for 24 months following your program end date. You may be eligible to change to a different J-1 category or another immigration status during the 24-month period. (Please consult an advisor before considering a change in category.) You are not required to spend the 24 months in your home country, unlike the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement.
  • Two-Year Home Residency Requirement: You may be subject to this rule based upon a “Skills List” for your country, or if you receive governmental funding.
    • Check your DS-2019 and entry visa for an indication as to whether you are “Subject” or “Not subject” to this rule.
    • Once a waiver of the two-year rule is granted, extensions of program are not possible.
  • 12-Month Bar: Exchange Visitors or dependents who were in J status for more than 6 months in a category other than Short-Term Scholar, must have a break of one year to be eligible to begin a new program as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor.
  • Extensions: Your department must request an extension of your J-1 status (if you are eligible and if the department is interested in continuing your association with the University) at least 2 months prior to the expiration of your current DS-2019. You must provide updated funding information, and current proof of insurance that meets the J-1 requirements.
  • Time limits: Maximum allowable time in J status is dependent on your category and if your department would like to continue to sponsor you:
    5 years
    :           Research Scholar or Professor
    6 months
    :        Short-Term Scholar (no extensions possible)
    1 year
    :             Student Interns and Specialists (no extensions beyond the one year are possible)


J-2 Dependent Information

  • J-2 Work Authorization: Dependents may be eligible to work in the United States, if granted work authorization by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS.) In order to obtain employment the dependent must apply for work permission from the USCIS and must not use the revenue to support the J-1 exchange visitor. The J-2 dependent can only work once work permission is granted by the USCIS and only for the period authorized. (See OIS Application Procedures for Work Permission for J-2 Dependents for more information.)
  • Study: J-2 dependents may study full or part-time.
  • Adding dependents: If you need to add a J-2 dependent that did not originally enter the U.S. with you, it is possible to invite them as J-2s at a later date. Please submit a Request for Family Members Form to our office with a copy of the dependent’s passport for us to process a DS-2019 for them.


Departure Procedures

  • You must notify OIS when you complete your program (or if you leave your program early.) You must complete the Departure Verification Form available on our website or in our office. Failure to do so could result in future immigration complications!
  • You have 30 days from the date your program ends in which to depart the U.S. regardless of if your DS-2019 has a future end date.
  • Please be aware that you could acquire “visa overstay” or “unlawful presence” if you fail to depart the U.S. in a timely manner. These situations occur if a) an immigration judge finds that you have violated your status, or b) that the Department of Homeland Security determines that there has been a status violation. Consequences for unlawful presence include a 3-year bar from reentering the U.S. for remaining unlawfully in the US for 180 days or more, and a 10-year bar for remaining unlawfully in the U.S. for 365 days or more.