University of Massachusetts Amherst

Immigration

Applying for a Visa Stamp

To enter the United States as a J-1 scholar under UMass's sponsorship, you must have a valid J-1 stamp in your passport endorsed with our name or J-1 program number. To apply for a J-1 visa stamp, take the Form DS2019 and your passport, and those of your dependents (if they will accompany you to the U.S.) to the United States Consulate. The Visa Officer may ask you to document funding (with such items as a bank statement, proof of income, etc.) Your dependents will need J-2 visas, and you should be prepared to show proof of marriage and parenthood of each child.

Note: Canadian citizens do not need passports or visa stamps to enter the U.S. but have to show Form DS2019 at the port of entry to obtain status as a J-1 scholar. Dependents of Canadian citizens who are, themselves, NOT Canadian citizens must follow the visa procedure described above.

Entering U.S.

When you arrive in the U.S. an Immigration Officer will give you two important documents: an I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Document) and your Form DS2019 with entry stamp. Keep these two documents in your passport. They are the only proof of your J-1 status.

Short Trips Out of The U.S.

Before leaving the U.S. be sure to have the Form DS2019 signed by an advisor at the International Programs Office or your sponsoring agency. The signature assures the immigration inspector of your current affiliation with UMass. If you will be leaving North America, you will need a valid J-1 visa stamp to reenter the U.S. If your visa has expired, you will have to apply for a new one at a United States Consulate abroad. If you plan to travel to Canada, Mexico, or islands adjacent to the U.S. please consult the IPO for advice.

Extension of Stay

Your permission to stay in the U.S. ends on the date shown on your I-94 card. If the card is marked "D/S" (duration of status) your permission to stay will expire 30 days after the date shown in item #3 of your Form DS2019. If an extension is necessary, contact your department 30-60 days prior to the expiration date. Extensions of your program are processed through IPO at the department's request.

The Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Many Exchange Visitors are bound by this requirement. The purpose of it is to have the home country benefit from the Visitor's experience in the U.S. The terms of the requirement are listed on page 2 of the DS2019. If you have questions about this, please ask the Consular Officer when you apply for your visa.

Five year time limit

Exchange visitors are limited to a maximum five-year stay in the professor or research category. The DS-2019 can be transferred to another J program at another university or research institution with permission from the International Programs Office.