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Maintaining J-1 Scholar Immigration Status

Important: Failure to follow these rules could result in serious consequences, including the loss of your visa status.  Please review the information on this page carefully. We recommend you come back and review this page regularly to ensure that you maintain your status while you are with us.   

Roles & Responsibilities

  • You are 100% responsible for your immigration status and following the rules of your status.
  • SUNY Plattsburgh is 100% responsible for reporting in SEVIS whether or not you are maintaining your status.


Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security built a database to monitor and report on the activities of F, M, and J students/scholars and their schools.


Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer. A RO or ARO helps you understand the rules of your status and reports whether or not you are maintaining your status in SEVIS. This person is specifically trained in U.S. immigration regulations regarding J-1 students. At SUNY Plattsburgh, your primary AROs are the Associate Director of Enrollment Management and the International Student Advisor in GEO.


Permission to be in the United States for a period of time for a specific activity. You were given your status by the Customs and Border Protection inspector either in your passport or on your Form I-94A (the white card for those arriving by land). Your passport or Form I-94A should have a stamp notated “J-1 D/S”. You are in the US for the purpose of international exchange and to pursue a full course of study for a specific time as long as you obey the rules.


Form DS-2019 certifies that a specific sponsor has brought you to the U.S. for a specific field of study.

By signing your Form DS-2019 on Page 1, you agree to obey the rules of J-1 status.

Rules of J-1 Status (How to Maintain Your Status)

  1. Report to the Global Education Office with your travel documents as soon as possible. Your program will be validated soon after.
  2. You must engage in the activity that you were brought to the United States to do (for example, if you are in the U.S. to teach and research, you are expected to teach classes and do research.).
  3. Maintain your required documents. Keep your DS-2019, passport, and I-94A or stamp in your passport valid.
  4. You need your RO/ARO’s permission BEFORE you extend your program.
  5. You must get advanced authorization from your RO/ARO BEFORE you accept any employment in the United States. An exchange visitor’s participation is subject to termination when he or she engages in unauthorized employment.
  6. You are required to carry the appropriate health insurance for the entire length of your program.
  7. You must report any change to your local address within 10 days.
  8. Before you travel, be sure to check that your travel endorsement (signature) is valid and obtain a new signature from your RO/ARO every year. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your RO/ARO.
  9. You must have approval from your RO/ARO BEFORE you withdraw from your program.
  10. You need to obtain permission from your RO/ARO for a SEVIS transfer BEFORE transferring to another US school.
  11. File a federal income tax form every year you are in the U.S. even if you did not work.
  12. After your completion of your program, you have a 30 day grace period.

If you obey these rules outlined above, you are “maintaining your status.”

Please consult with your RO/ARO should you ever have questions regarding your J-1 status.

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