Skip to the content


Follow us

Student Going Global

Current J-1 Scholars


Mandatory Check-in with International Office

You are required to check-in with the International Office within 30-days of your entry into the U.S. Failure to check-in will result in the termination of your J-1 status.

Valid DS-2019 Form

The DS-2019 must be valid at all times. If you plan on extending your stay, you must apply for an extension of stay at least 15 days prior to the expiration date of your current DS-2019. For more detailed information on the extension process, please contact the J-1 Scholar Advisor.

Valid Passport

Passport must be valid during your entire stay in the U.S. Please contact your embassy or consulate on instructions and procedures on extending the passport.

Health Insurance

It is required of all J-1 and J-2 visa holders to have health insurance during their program in the U.S. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the termination of the J status. J-1 Exchange Visitors, during the check-in with the J-1 Scholar Advisor, will be required to sign an agreement that sates he/she will maintain proper health insurance for him/herself and dependents.

Address Reporting

In compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you are required to have a valid address during your studies/research, and provide such information to the International Office. DHS may terminate your immigration status automatically if you do not maintain your address information with the International Office.

You may submit a change of address via the internet at (Change of Address Form).


Employment for J-1 Exchange Visitors is limited to occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to the exchange visitorís primary program activity. Employment authorization must be issued by International Office prior to the start of the employment. To request employment authorization, the Scholar must bring a letter from the sponsoring professor explaining how this employment meets the following criteria:

  • Be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitorís program;
  • Be incidental to the exchange visitorís primary program activities; and
  • Not delay the completion date of the exchange visitorís program.

Acceptance of employment with an organization or institution other than the visa sponsor without written authorization is a violation the J-1 regulations and can result in the termination of the Scholarís participation in the J program. Please contact the J-1 Scholar Advisor for more information.



If you have maintained a valid J-1 status during your stay at Cal State L.A., you can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter the U.S. If you have violated one of the J-1 regulatory requirements, such as working without authorization, failing to extend your DS-2019 timely, etc., you may have to apply for reinstatement with the U.S. Department of State prior to your travels, or apply for a new J-1 visa stamp with a new DS-2019.

To re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence, Scholars must carry the following documents:

  • Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of the re-entry into the U.S.);
  • Valid J-1 visa in passport (unless qualify under the automatic revalidation); and
  • DS-2019 with a valid travel authorization from J-1 Scholar Advisor.

The travel authorization on page 1 of the DS-2019 confirms that you are in valid status and is eligible to return to Cal State L.A. to continue with your program.

To request a travel authorization, you or your dependent(s) submit the DS-2019 to the International Office with the completed Travel Authorization Request. After verifying your records, the counselor will sign the DS-2019. You are advised to bring the DS-2019 at least TWO WEEKS prior to the departure date. Travel authorization requests are signed on a first-come-first-served basis.

The travel authorization is valid for six (6) months from the date it is signed, or until the expiration date of the DS-2019, whichever comes first. The travel authorization can be used multiple times during its period of validity, so long as the visa in the passport is valid.

Scholarsí absence from the U.S. for more than 30 days must meet with the J-1 Scholar Advisor.



J-1 visa holders are authorized to continue to stay in the U.S. with an expired visa while maintaining their nonimmigrant status. If you travel outside the U.S. and the J-1 visa had expired, you MUST apply for a new J-1 visa stamp to re-enter the U.S. The documentation needed to apply for a visa stamp includes, but not limited to:

DS-2019 with a valid travel authorization from the International Office;
A current passport valid for at least six months at the time of entry; and
Proof of financial support.

Although the J-1 visa holder may apply for the visa at any U.S. Embassy/Consulate, it is advisable for you to apply at your country of citizenship or permanent residence. For more guidelines about visa applications at the U.S. Consulate, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.

A U.S. visa cannot be applied from within the U.S. It must be at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in another country.



Automatic Revalidation allows a J-1 exchange visitor with an expired visa stamp to travel to Canada, Mexico, or one of the adjacent islands for less than thirty (30) days and re-enter the U.S. with a DS-2019 containing a valid travel authorization and un-expired I-94 card.

At the point of departure from the U.S., do not submit your I-94 card. The automatic revalidation works only with your current I-94 card.

Automatic revalidation will not apply if you:

  • Applied for a new visa and it has not been issued;
  • Applied for a new visa and was denied;
  • Has a terminated SEVIS record indicating the student was out of status;
  • Has been out of the U.S. for more than thirty days; or
  • Is a citizen of one of the following countries [8 CFR 214.1(b)(3)]: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria



You are eligible to apply for an extension of stay if your program cannot be completed with the stated time on the DS-2019. The request must be submitted to the International Office for processing no more than three months and no less than TWO WEEKS prior to the DS-2019 expiration date.

To request an extension, the following documents must be submitted:

DS-2019 Request Form;
Proof of financial support;
Letter from sponsoring professor providing a brief of explanation for the delay and expected completion date of program;
Copy of passport (biographical page) (dependents if eligible); and
Copy of I-94 card (front and back).

NOTE, however, that a Visiting Scholar cannot apply for an extension if:

  • Waiver of the 2-year home residency has been filed;
  • An application for permanent resident has been filed;
  • A petition for H-1B visa has been filed; or
  • Maximum duration of stay has been reached in the category.



Upon completing your J-1 program, you and your dependents have a 30-day grace period to prepare for departure. During this grace period, no employment or study is permitted. Once you leave the country within these 30 days your visa automatically expires and you will not be able to re-enter the country to reclaim the rest of your grace period time.

The completion of program is indicated as follows:

  • Program End Date: The expiration date listed on the DS-2019
  • Effective Completion Date: Exchange Visitor may complete program prior to the Program End Date listed on the DS-2019

Prior to your departure, you must submit the online Departure Form to notify the International Office of your program completion date and planned departure date.



As J-1 Exchange Visitors you are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number. You can go to the Social Security Administration website ( for local offices and submit an application. You must do this in person with your original immigration documents. Normal processing takes approximately two weeks.



To obtain a California driverís license, application is submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (

To apply for an original driver license if you are over 18, you will need to do the following:

You will then be issued a permit if you have never been licensed before. When you practice, you must have an accompanying adult who is 18 years of age or older, with a valid California license. This person must be close enough to you to take control of the vehicle if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone. If you have a license from another country, you will be required to take a driving test. If you have a license from another state, the driving test can be waived.

To take your driving test, you will need to:

  • Make a driving test Appointment(s) . (Driving tests are not given without an appointment.) You may also call 1-800-777-0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, to make a driving test appointment.
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility
  • California Insurance Requirements

You have three chances to pass the driving test. If you fail, you may practice for a while, then make another appointment.



Accompanying dependents (spouse and unmarried children of 21 years of age or younger) is eligible for the J-2 visa status. Their DS-2019s can be requested during the initial request for the J-1, or anytime during the J-1ís program at Cal State L.A. Proof of relationship, such as copy of marriage certificate and birth certificate (with English translation if necessary), and additional funding will be required to issue the DS-2019s.

J-2 dependentsí (spouse and children under age 21) travel requirements are the same as you under the J-1 principals.

Dependents do not need to travel with the principal J-1. Dependents are issued their own DS-2019.

Because the dependentsí status is tied to the principalís status, the individual holding the J-1 status must be in valid status. Dependents should not travel if the J-1 visa holder is out of status. Individuals who are out of status should consult with an International Office counselor prior to making any travel plans.



In some cases, this visa carries with it a (212(e)) ďtwo-year home country residence requirement,Ē which obliges the Exchange Visitor to return to his/her home country for two years before being eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant H or L visa. This restriction applies to those financially supported by the U.S. government or their home governments during part or all of the stay in the U.S. In addition, the two-year home country residence requirement is imposed on those whose skills are needed in the home countries as registered on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.



J-1 visa holders under the Professor and Research Scholar categories may remain in the U.S. for up to five years on an Exchange Visitor visa. Upon completion of the Exchange Visitorís program, the individual is barred from the Professor or Research Scholar categories for two years. This 24 month bar is different from the 212(e) discussed above. The 212(e) requires the individual to return to his/her country of permanent residence/citizenship. This 24 month bar only requires that the individual not be under the J visa category for that 24 month period. The 24 month bar still applies even if the Professor or Research Scholar completes the program in less than 6 months.

The completion of the program is indicated as follows:

  • Program End Date : The expiration date listed on the DS-2019
  • Effective Completion Date : Exchange Visitor may complete program prior to the Program End Date listed on the DS-2019



J-1 visa holders in Professor and Research Scholar categories are subject to a 12-month bar on repeat participation. The 12-month bar prohibits foreign nationals from beginning a new program in the Research Scholar or Professor category if they are in the U.S. on a J visa (this bar includes J-2 dependents) for all, or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of the new programís commencement, unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

  • The 12-month bar is not applicable to exchange participants who are currently participants as a Professor or Research Scholar and are transferring to another institution in the U.S. to continue their current J-1 program;
  • An exchange visitor participant whose prior J status was of less than 6 months duration (physical presence in the U.S.) is exempt from the 12-month bar; or
  • Participants in the short-term scholar category are exempt from the 12-month bar.


5151 State University Drive . Los Angeles . CA 90032 . (323) 343-3000
© 2013 Trustees of the California State University

Last Update: 03/4/2014