J-1 Scholars/Employees: Maintaining/Extending Status

J-1 Scholars/Employees Maintaining/Extending Status

It is important that you maintain your immigration status while you are in the United States and at UMass Amherst. Please contact the International Programs Office (IPO) if you have any questions or concerns. We can guide you to help ensure compliance with the regulations.

If any of the information below changes during your J-1 program, please contact the IPO.

  • Plans to travel outside the United States. Always check with the IPO several weeks before traveling to make sure you have all necessary documents and signatures.
  • Change of residential address within 10 days 
  • Change of UMass Amherst department, lab, or center 
  • Change in funding (source and/or amount) 
  • Change of appointment percentage or title 
  • Change in work location or additional work location 
  • Leave of absence 
  • Leaving the U.S. for an extended period (more than 30 days) that is not vacation
    • If you are leaving for more than 30 days, you will need your department to process the Out of Country paperwork for IPO authorization. See the J-1 Travel website for more information.
  • Early termination of appointment

Always pursue your teaching and/or research activities. Do not engage in activities not authorized under your nonimmigrant visa program. If you are not sure if an activity would be permitted, check with the IPO in advance. 

Failure to maintain your J status could result in termination of your immigration record and your departure from the U.S.

Early Departure or Change in Plans

The IPO is required to report to SEVIS if you do not come to UMass Amherst or if you leave before the end date on your DS-2019. Please tell us when you intend to leave UMass Amherst, if you cancel your plans to come to UMass Amherst, or if your start date will be delayed.

Regulations require action on a SEVIS record if the end of appointment/visit is more than 15 days before the original end date listed on the most recent DS-2019.

Extending Your Stay, Changing Status, and Future Appointments

Some scholars* may extend their permission to stay and work at UMass Amherst. Your DS-2019 must be extended BEFORE the end date expires; once the end date has passed, we cannot extend your DS-2019. You are permitted to remain in the United States until 30 days after the end date shown on your immigration document (such as the Form DS-2019) not your visa (the visa is only an entry document).

If you seek an affiliation with UMass longer than what is listed on your DS-2019, discuss this with your supervisor or department several months in advance. It is ultimately your department’s decision to determine if they want to extend your appointment. J-1 Scholars and their department are sent a reminder in advance of the DS-2019’s expiration and this should be submitted far enough in advance for us to process the extension.

Pre-Baccalaureate student scholars are only eligible for Short Term scholar category (maximum 6-month appointment).

*Short-term Scholars cannot be extended beyond a maximum of 6 months in the U.S.

How to Extend your J-1 Status

Your department/lab/center will need to initiate when you receive the notice that your DS-2019 is ending soon so please start the conversation early. The IPO takes approximately 10 business days to issue a new DS-2019. Departments will need to refer to the instructions provided on the IPO webpage to complete the extension request. If you think you may wish to remain on appointment at UMass Amherst for longer than the limit that is allowed in your current nonimmigrant status, it is crucial for you to talk with an IPO advisor well before your authorized stay expires.

Mandatory Medical Insurance   

Mandatory Medical Insurance is required for those visiting on a J-1/J-2 visa. Those visiting on other visa classifications will need to verify with their sponsoring agency on Medical Insurance requirements. Please note Massachusetts Health Insurance requirements for residents of Massachusetts. 

The U.S. State Department has mandated via federal regulations that all Exchange Visitors holding a J-1 visa maintain medical coverage for themselves and their J-2 dependents. Maintaining medical coverage is a condition of your J-1 visa status. The coverage must meet the U.S. State Department guidelines. If UMass or your sponsoring agency is not providing medical coverage, you must purchase your own. You may select the medical insurance that is best for you and any family; however, there are minimum coverages that must be met:

  • $100,000 per accident or illness
  • A deductible of no more than $500 per illness
  • Medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000
  • Repatriation coverage for up to $25,000