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J-1 Professor or Research Scholar Status and Form DS-2019 Instructions and Information

This information is designed for international scholars who have been invited to teach or do research for Lehigh University as J-1 Exchange Visitors. The Form DS-2019 is your certificate of eligibility for J-1 scholar status at this school. This sheet tells you how to proceed.

  • If you are not yet in the United States, Part 1 will tell you how to enter the country in J-1 status.
  • If you are already in the United States as a J-1 scholar affiliated with another school, and if that school issued your current Form DS-2019, then Part II will tell you how to transfer your J-1 sponsorship from that school to this one. However, if you hold J-1 documents from an agency, such as USAID or the Fulbright Commission, these instructions do not apply to you, and you should consult that agency's J-1 responsible Officer about changing schools.
  • If you are already in the United States as an Exchange Visitor in a subcategory other than “Professor, Research Scholar,” or if you hold a status other than J-1, please call the International Office.

The Five-year time limit: The total stay in the United States for Exchange Visitors in the “Professor and Research Scholar” category is limited to five years. Extensions beyond that time are not possible. If you are now in the United States in your fifth year in this category, or if in the last year you concluded a five-year period as a J-1 professor or scholar, please contact the International Students and Scholars Office.

The home-country physical presence requirement: The purpose of the requirement is to have the home country benefit from the Exchange Visitor's experience in the United States. Exchange Visitors come to this country for a specific objective such as a program of study or a research project. Not all Exchange Visitors are subject to the requirement, which is intended to prevent a participant who is subject from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay. If you have questions about the requirement, including whether or not you are or will become subject to it, please raise them with the Consular Officer when you apply for your visa, or direct them to the International Office.

Part I: If you are not yet in the United States

Visa stamp: To enter the United States as a J-1 professor/scholar under Lehigh's sponsorship, you must have a valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport. To apply for your visa, take Lehigh's Form DS-2019, Forms DS- 156, 157 and 158 or the new DS-160, the SEVIS Fee receipt, proof of returning to home country, financial support and your passport to a United States consulate. The Visa Officer will ask you to document funding (such items as a letter of award or support, a bank statement, proof of income, etc.). If your dependents will be accompanying you, they will need J-2 visas, and you should take their passports with you to the consulate and be prepared to show proof of marriage to your spouse and parenthood of each child.

Special note: Canadians do not need visa stamps to enter the United States, but they do have to show Form DS-2019 and passport at the port of entry to obtain status as a J-1 scholar.

I-94 Departure Record Card: When you arrive in the United States, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer will process and give you this document, which you should keep in your passport. This form is proof of your J-1 status, and you will need the form for such purposes as employment authorization and extending your permission to stay in the United States.

Part II: If you are already in the United States as a J-1 Scholar

You may change your J-1 sponsorship to this school by transferring to Lehigh - as long as you remain within the five-year limit.

Transferring programs: Visit the International Office at your present sponsor and tell them that you are planning to transfer out. Your present J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) will check to see if your transfer is within your original objective. The RO will then call the new school and request the J-1 Program number. Once the RO has the program number of the new school and all is OK to transfer, the RO at your present school will go into your SEVIS record and indicate in the record to transfer your record to the new school. Only at this point can the new school issue a new DS-2019. Once you arrive at the new school you will need to check in with the international office at the new school and finish the transfer procedure. This must be done immediately when you arrive on campus.

Part III: Later - Extending your permission to stay in the United States

Your permission to stay in the United States ends on the date shown on your DS-2019 plus 30 days and your I-94 Departure card - which normally is annotated with "Duration of Status" or "D/S." If an extension is necessary, be sure to arrange it ahead of time by contacting your J-1 Responsible Officer at least two months before the expiration date shown on your Form DS-2019.

Part IV: Later - Short Trips out of the United States

To come back into the United States in J-1 status, you will need to have your DS-2019 signed for travel (bottom right corner of the form). If you will be leaving North America, you will need a valid visa stamp to reenter this country. If your visa has expired, you will have to apply for a new one at the U.S. consulate abroad. You will need to present the Form DS-2019, signed for travel to a Visa Officer.

Part V: Change of Category

A change between the categories of professor and research scholar shall not extend an exchange visitor's permitted period of participation beyond five years. Change of Category to any other program category is usually not feasible unless there are extenuating circumstances and the individual can prove they are still pursuing their original objective. Please do check with the Responsible Officer in the International Students and Scholars Office.

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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