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Information for J-1 Visa Holders: Extension of Stay for Students in J-1 Status

CAUTION

Extension of your permission to stay is YOUR responsibility. If you forget the deadline and apply late, you risk denial. If you are employed and overlook the date, you will be working illegally. Since such mistakes can have serious consequences, you should make certain that you apply well in advance (one month is recommended) if you need to extend your stay.

When to Extend: Your permission to stay in the United States ends on the expiration date of your I-94 Departure Record card--unless the card is marked "Duration of Status" or "D/S." In that case your permission to stay will expire 30 days after the date shown in item #3 of your Form DS-2019, "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status."

Your J-1 Responsible Officer: To extend your permission to stay in the United States, you must first obtain a new Form DS-2019 from your J-1 Responsible Officer, who will need proof of your eligibility before issuing the Form. If your J-1 sponsor is your school, then your Responsible Officer is probably your international student/scholar advisor. If your J-1 sponsor is an agency, and if you are uncertain how to reach your Responsible Officer, your school's international advisor will help you find out.

Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for an extension of stay if you are:

  • either: studying full-time at the school named on your Form DS-2019 and making satisfactory academic progress and have adequate funding;
  • or: have completed your program of study and want to participate in "AcademicTraining;"
  • or: are participating in an authorized "Academic Training" program and, within the established time limits, need an extension to finish the program.

Government regulations do not limit the time you may take to finish your program as long as you are making academic progress, but may be subject to limitations imposed by your school on the time allowed to complete your degree, and by your J-1 sponsor (if your sponsor is not your school) on the number of years you may spend in the United States.

Procedures

  1. Before your permission to stay expires, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars about an extension. You will need the following document to be completed by your advisor, Recommendation for Extension Form.
  2. Document your full-time registration academic progress and adequate funding. You can obtain a copy of yopur transcript proving full-time registration, a letter from your faculty adviser confirming your continued academic prograss, and a letter of award, bank statement, or other appropriate proof of the availability of sufficient support. Take or send all materials to the Office of Interantional Students and Scholars, Coxe Hall, 32 Sayre Drive.
  3. The J-1 Responsible Officer will then update the SEVIS database with your new completion date and issue a new SEVIS DS-2019 to you.

After you have extended your stay, avoid a common mistake if you travel abroad. Do not assume that with an approved extension of stay you can reenter this country from another continent without an unexpired J-1 visa stamp in your passport (unless you are Canadian). If your J-1 visa stamp has expired, you will have to apply at a consulate for a new one in order to reenter the United Sates as a J-1 student.

CAUTION

Extension of your permission to stay is YOUR responsibility. If you forget the deadline and apply late, you risk being out of status. If you are employed and overlook the date, you will be working illegally. Since such mistakes can have serious consequences, you should make certain that you apply well in advance (one month is recommended) if you need to extend your stay.

Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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