UConn & Immigration Requirements

Welcome, international scholars!

We are excited to have you here at UConn. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is here to support you during your stay with matters related to your immigration status and to help you transition to life in the United States. The following information pertains to exchange visitors with J-1 visas in the Research Scholar, Professor, Short Term Scholar, Specialist and Student Intern categories.

Check In

All international scholars are required to check in at the ISSS office upon your arrival to UConn. Please bring your Form DS-2019, passport, health insurance card and a print out of your I-94 Arrival record to check in.  Also bring the same documents for any family members with J-2 status. You can print out your I-94 Arrival Record at www.cbp.gov . You can also print out the I-94 in our office when you check in. You will need to complete the International Student and Scholar Check In Form.

Scholars who are based at UConn regional campuses may either travel to Storrs campus to check in, or should contact international@uconn.edu for instructions on how to check in and attend orientation.

Orientation

All new visiting scholars are required to attend an orientation provided by ISSS to learn more about your exchange program and immigration requirements during your stay. Orientation is held on the first Friday of each month at 1:00 pm. When you check in at ISSS, we will also register you for the mandatory orientation session.

Immigration Documents

Your Form DS-2019, passport and I-94 are all important immigration documents needed for you to maintain your legal visa status while in the United States. Please keep them safe. Contact ISSS if any documents are missing. If information on your Form DS-2019 changes, contact ISSS to get a new form. You must keep your passport valid at least 6 months into the future. Print a new Form I-94 at www.cbp.gov each time you travel to the United States after a trip outside the United States during your J-1 exchange program.

Length of Stay

Visiting scholars may stay for the length of their program dates listed on the Form DS-2019, plus for up to 30 days after the program end date. The 30 day period after your program end date is called your “Grace Period” and is a time that can be used to prepare for your departure and conduct any personal travel within the United States. You should not be conducting your scholarly activity at UConn during your grace period. Once you leave the U.S. during your grace period, you may not reenter the United States using your J-1 visa. If you end your program at UConn early, then you may not stay for the full dates listed on your Form DS-2019, and you must contact ISSS for further guidance.

J-1 Visa Categories

Your J-1 visa program Category defines the maximum length of your program and the permitted activity during your stay. Your category is listed on the Form DS-2019.

Research Scholar: For research activity up to 5 years program length. Subject to 24 month bar.

Professor: For teaching activity up to 5 years program length. Subject to 24 month bar.

Short Term Scholar: For teaching/research/observing, up to 6 months.

Specialist: For observing/training/consulting in areas that require advanced specialized knowledge, up to 1 year.

Student Intern: To do an internship for your home country degree for up to 1 year.

12/24 Month Bar

If you are a J-1 exchange visitor in the Research Scholar or Professor category, you must wait 24 months after completing your current program before returning to the U.S. to conduct another Research Scholar or Professor J-1 exchange program. In addition, a 12-month bar applies to nearly all J-1/J-2 visitors on future visits in the Research Scholar or Professor category: you will not be eligible for either category of J-1 visa if you have been in the United States with any J visa type in the 12 months prior to the Research Scholar/Professor program start date. An exception to this rule is for those who were in the Short Term Scholar category, or whose total J program duration was 6 months or less.

212(e) Two Year Home Residency Requirement

Some J-1 visiting scholars are subject to the 212(e) two-year home residency requirement, which requires you to live in your country of legal permanent residence for cumulative two years after you complete your J-1 exchange program to fulfill your obligation under this requirement. This is different than the 24-month bar described above. You will be subject to this rule if you receive government funding to conduct your exchange program, or if your home country maintains a list of skills that are in high demand in your home country, and your subject of scholarly activity is in one of those designated skills. The effect of this rule is that you will not be eligible to have an immigrant visa to the U.S. until you have lived in your home country for a cumulative period of two years. If you have not yet lived at home for two years, you may still obtain a new nonimmigrant visa to the U.S., but you must apply for that visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the United States (you are not eligible to change visa types within the U.S). For more questions about your 212(e) status, please contact ISSS.

Working and Taking Classes

J-1 visiting scholars are not permitted to work while in the United States, except under the terms of their J-1 exchange program (for example, if you are receiving payment for your visit to UConn, and this is recorded on your Form DS-2019, this is OK employment). Visiting scholars may only take classes incidental to status, meaning this should be done in your free time outside of your regular scholarly activity only.

Occasional Lectures and Short Term Consultations

Visiting scholars in the Research Scholar, Professor and Short Term scholar may be given permission to engage in occasional lectures or occasional consultations with outside institutions. You must have the support of your UConn academic hosting department, obtain prior permission from ISSS and the activity cannot interfere with the completion of your exchange program. Follow these application instructions with your hosting department and ISSS at least two weeks prior to any lecture or consultation engagement: J-1 Scholar Authorization for Off-Site Work.

Location of Program and Off Site Activity

You are expected to conduct your exchange program at UConn. Sometimes you are required or will have the opportunity to conduct your exchange program with UConn at a different location. Examples may include representing UConn at an academic conference, or conducting research for your UConn program at an off-campus laboratory. Such off-site activity must be authorized in advance and recorded in your SEVIS record. Complete the J-1 Scholar Authorization for Off-Site Activity and submit to ISSS at least two weeks before the proposed activity.

Changing Departments

Your J-1 visa is based on completion of scholarly work in a specific field or academic discipline. Therefore it is generally not possible to change your UConn hosting department after your arrival. Certain exceptions may be made when ISSS determines that your program objective will remain consistent when changing academic departments.

Insurance

All J-1 and J-2 visa holders must maintain insurance for the entirety of your J-1 program that meets the coverage and benefit requirements of the U.S. Department of State. You will be required to submit an Insurance Verification Form to our office at any time that you submit an application to ISSS. Please see the medical insurance page for further information.

Medical benefits $100,000
Repatriation of remains $25,000
Medical evacuation $50,000
Maximum Deductible per accident or illness $500

Additionally, all J exchange visitors, including J-2 spouses and dependent(s), may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  For more information on the Affordable Care Act, see http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/ andhttps://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained/the-aca-and-international-students.php (note that J-1 scholars and J-1 students have different exempt periods: 2 years vs. 5 years). Please see our insurance page for further information.

Update your address

All J-1 exchange visitors must update your address with ISSS within 10 days of moving. Please complete the Address Update Form on this page to update your address. If you do not yet have a Net ID, please email international@uconn.edu with your address change.

Dependents

Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to have J-2 status. Your J-2 dependent visa holders may attend school or University, and may apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for an Employment Authorization Document to legally work, IF the work is intended to enrich the cultural experience of the J-2 visa holder, and NOT to financially support the J-1 visa holder. An ISSS advisor can guide a J-2 visa holder on the EAD application. To request to add a dependent, please refer to the “Add Dependent” link on this page.

Extending your Exchange Program

If you are invited to stay longer than the program end date listed on your Form DS-2019, your UConn academic hosting department may request to extend your program. You will need to obtain a new Form DS-2019 listing your new program end dates. Your hosting department should submit the request to ISSS for an extension at least 30 days before your current program end date. Your Form DS-2019 program end date cannot be extended after the program end date. All extensions must be within the maximum program length permitted for each of the above categories.

Net ID/Email Address

Your hosting academic department should arrange for you to be assigned a University Net ID and email address. The Net ID is needed to gain access to the University computer network, and to gain access to a variety of University services. Your UConn email address will also be generated at the same time as your Net ID. It can take a long time for your Net ID to be generated; please be patient if you do not have one upon arrival.

UConn One Card

J-1 visa holders who have obtained a Net ID can also apply for a UConn ID card, known as the One Card. This card is useful to identify you as a UConn staff member for services such as the bus, or for using the Library. You may also load money onto your One Card to use at photo copy machines or to purchase food at the University dining service locations.

Departure Notice Form

When you complete your exchange program at UConn, you must submit a Departure Notice form to ISSS so that we can take proper care of your SEVIS immigration record. You must depart the U.S. within 30 days after your program end date. During your 30-day grace period you may travel within the United States, but if you leave the U.S. for a short trip (e.g. Canada) you will not be able to reenter using your J-1 visa.

Transfer to a Different Institution

In some cases, you may be able to transfer your visa sponsorship to another institution to conduct your J-1 exchange program. If you are invited to conduct your exchange program elsewhere, please contact ISSS to see if you are eligible for a SEVIS transfer. Your program objective and visa category must be consistent with your program at UConn, and there are special timing considerations.

Scholar Authorization for Off-Site Work