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Maintaining J-1 Scholar/Professor Status at ACU

Maintaining J-1 Scholar/Professor Status at ACU

The Responsible Officer (RO) in the Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars (OISVS) is available to advise you on immigration issues related to your J-1 Exchange Visitor status.  However, it is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules given by DHS and the University.

Listed below are a number of important things for you to do after you arrive as a J-1 scholar or professor in the U.S.  You will be asked to sign this document once you arrive.

Check-In with the Responsible Officer (RO) in the Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars (OISVS) at ACU

All new international J-1 visa holders must be physically present in the OISVS within the first 10 days of arriving at ACU. The OISVS is located in room 124 of the Hardin Administration Building. You will need to bring the following items with you:

  • Valid DS-2019 from ACU
  • Valid I-94 card as proof of a legal entry into the U.S. (assistance can be given to print it out)
  • Valid passport with J-1 visa
  • Your Abilene address, phone number and ACU email address

The OISVS is required to report your arrival and current immigration information in SEVIS. You may lose your immigration status if you have not brought the information mentioned above to our office.

Attend an International Scholar Orientation. Done on an appointment basis, this Department of State- required meeting will introduce you to some of the essential information you will need for your program in the U.S.  You will learn more about the immigration regulations, health insurance, US culture, and various resources. To schedule an appointment, contact Lucy Dawson, at  This should be completed as soon as possible after your arrival.

Maintaining Your Immigration Status

Maintaining your immigration status allows you the right to immigration benefits during and after your time at the university. The date on your visa or DS-2019 does not guarantee that you are able to stay in the U.S. for the amount of time noted on your document. This right may be lost if your status is not maintained.

To maintain your status, you must: (please initial)

____ Maintain continuous insurance coverage for yourself and any dependents.
Principal J-1s are billed through the university each long semester, unless other arrangements are made. Speak with the RO on options for dependent coverage. Failure to maintain health insurance will cause a scholar and/or any dependents to lose J status and not be eligible for a reinstatement.

____  Participate in the program at ACU as documented
Each program for exchange visitor scholars, professors or researchers is described in detail when documents are approved, and exchange visitors are expected to participate as planned. Please contact Lucy Dawson if there are any changes to your program, including faculty contact, location, job description or focus.

____  Notify the RO of activities at other sites outside of ACU. 

____  Maintain a valid DS-2019, I-94, and passport at all times.
Your passport should be valid for 6 months into the future.

____  Check your personal ACU email account often. The regulations and federal guidance changes frequently. The OISVS will update you and generally make requests through ACU email only.

____  Contact the Responsible Officer with any change of your local physical address and phone number within 10 days of any change.
The Department of State requires a valid, physical addresses to be recorded in SEVIS at all times. Violations can cause an exchange visitor to lose his/her J status and not be eligible for a reinstatement.

____  Request employment authorization from the RO for every outside engagement before the event.  See 22 C.F.R. § 62.20(g)for the specific regulations. For specific procedures or to submit a request, request the “Outside Engagement Form” from the RO.

____  Complete your course of study on or before the completion date on your DS-2019.
If you need an extension, check with the RO to see if an extension is possible.

____  Complete official immigration transfer with your RO/ARO beforechanging universities.
See document on J-1 transfer.

____  Discuss any international short-term travel and request a travel signature with the RO or ARO in the OISVS.
With permission from the program director or faculty contact, short-term travel during outside the US during the period of the program is allowed.  However, a re-entry travel signature is necessary from the OISVS to facilitate your reentry to the U.S.

Grace Periods for Remaining in the U.S. – “Grace period” refers to the amount of time you are legally allowed to remain in the U.S. after completing your program of study. You are not allowed to work on or off-campus during the grace periods.

Immigration Status Academic Program Status Grace Period
J-1 Complete the Program 30 days after completion
J-1 Withdraw or cease to participate in program WITH prior permission from the Responsible Officer 15 days
J-1 Withdraw or cease to participate  WITHOUT prior permission from Responsible Officer NO GRACE PERIOD

What could cause my visa status to be terminated?

  • Failing to participate in the program.
  • Failing to maintain appropriate health insurance.
  • Failing to maintain current immigration documents.
  • Working off-campus without proper authorization.
  • Continuing your program past the completion date on your DS-2019.

What happens if I lose my immigration status?

If you lose your status, you may be able to apply for reinstatement to be put back into lawful status. Please consult with the RO/ARO in the OISVS and see information for reinstatement procedures. It is a serious violation to be out of status, and there is no guarantee that DHS will approve reinstating you back to active status. If you are denied reinstatement, you will be required to leave the U.S. immediately.

By singing below, I agree to comply with the US federal regulations for my status.  I also acknowledge that ACU is required by law to terminate a J-1 visa holder if compliance requirements are violated.

J research scholars and professors only:
_____I acknowledge that once my program is completed, I will be subject to the 24-month barfrom repeat participation.


Name (print clearly)                           Signature                                                         Date

The information provided to you in this document is a courtesy to you. The OISVS makes every attempt to provide accurate immigration advice for J-1 scholars and professors. The information in this document is general and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact an immigration attorney if legal advice is needed. It is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules given by DHS and the University.

Information for J-1 scholar status signing copy   Updated 12 2019

Download, Print and sign the J-1 Scholar/Professor Maintaining Status document: