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Maintaining Your Immigration Status

It is important that J-1 scholars understand their immigration responsibilities in order to maintain their status. Please read carefully; these rules are simple, but extremely important. Any violation of these regulations could result in the termination of your immigration record and thus impacting your ability to remain in the U.S. as a J-1 scholar.

  1. Keep your passport, DS-2019, and I-94 valid at all times. If one of them will expire during your stay in the U.S., you must contact the Reves Center at least 30 days before the expiration date.
  2. Always continue the activities related to your J-1 program. Your J-1 sponsorship was for a specific purpose (e.g. research on US law, teach as a visiting professor, etc.). Thus, to maintain status, you must be engaged in activities pursuant to that purpose.
  3. Obtain a travel signature on your DS-2019 prior to leaving the U.S.  You will need this to return to the U.S. on your J-1 visa. Any family members traveling in J-2 status will also need travel signatures.
  4. Do not work without authorization. You can work for your W&M department. If another university or organization asks you to give a lecture or presentation, or to consult, you must first contact Reves Center for a special authorization letter before you give the lecture. No additional work is possible.  "Self-employment" is not possible. Engaging in unauthorized employment may result in the termination of your SEVIS record and you will be required to leave the U.S. In addition, your future ability to return to the U.S. may also be impacted.
  5. Update your address within 10 days of moving. Contact the Reves Center with any address updates. 
  6. Notify the Reves Center to update your DS-2019 and SEVIS Record of any changes to your program or plans.  You must obtain permission from the Reves Center in advance if you need to 1) extend your DS-2019, or 2) wish to obtain work authorization.  You must notify the Reves Center immediately of 1.) changes of related to your program or funding, or 2.) plans to transfer to a different school or institution. The Reves Center must update your SEVIS Record (sometimes in advance) in order for these changes to be allowed.
  7. Do not engage in illegal activity. Conviction of certain crimes can negatively impact your immigration status, and put you at risk of deportation. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, notify the Reves Center immediately so that we can refer you to an immigration attorney.
  8. Always have health insurance that meets the minimum requirements. You and your J-2 dependents must have health insurance during your stay in the U.S. The following are the minimum coverage requirements: $100,000 for each accident or illness, $50,000 for medical evacuation, $25,000 for repatriation, and a per incident deductible of $500 or less. This is federal law.
  9. Contact the Reves Center if you have any major difficulties, such as illness, arrest, or other issues. We are here to help!
  10. If you have any questions about your immigration status, always contact the Reves Center. We are here to help!