Graduate Studies

J-1 Scholar Responsibilities


  • You must check in with the Immigration Advisor as soon as possible upon arrival so that your SEVIS record may be activated.  If your SEVIS record is not activated within 30 days of the program start date, you are out of status and must leave the country. This start date is found on your form DS-2019.
  • Note: If you are unable to make the arrival date listed on your DS-2019, the host department must contact the Immigration Specialist so that your entry date can be deferred in the SEVIS system. If this is not done, and you check in beyond the 30 day grace period, there will be no way to activate your record in SEVIS. It is, therefore, critical for you to be in contact with your host department to confirm your arrival date.
  • To check in, please schedule an appointment with the Immigration Specialist by emailing  Please bring your DS-2019 and passport.  Upon check in, you must provide your U.S. address. This address must describe a residence. It cannot be a P.O Box or an office address. It can be a “care of” address.


While you are here

  • J-1 scholars, students, and dependents (J-2s) are required to have major medical insurance for the duration of the program.  See the “Exchange Visitor Brochure” for details.  It is also available online at
  • You and your dependents must have current passports at all times. An expired passport will mean you are out of status. If you as the J-1 are out of status, so are your J-2 dependents.
  • You must always be in possession of a valid DS-2019, which accurately reflects your purpose for being at WIU. If it is close to expiring, you should request an extension from your host department.
  • You must come to the School of Graduate Studies (Sherman Hall 116) to have your DS-2019 signed if you will travel outside the United States. Travel signatures are valid for 6 months.
  • You must also report any life event that may affect your immigration status such as birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce or death. This rule also extends to J-2 dependents.
  • You must report any change of address within 5 days.



  • When your program is finished you must notify the Immigration Specialist. Your program end date must be reported to the federal government. This could be the end date on your DS-2019 or it could be a prior date if you complete your program early.  It may not be after your program completion date.


Extension of stay

  • Your program must be extended before the end date on your current DS-2019. If the end date lapses, then no extension is possible and you must leave the United States.
  • To ensure that this process runs smoothly, have your host department contact the Immigration Specialist at least a month prior to the program end date. The Immigration Specialist will then verify that you are eligible for an extension and process the paperwork.


Transfer to another program

  • J-1 scholars who plan to transfer to another institution must inform the Immigration Specialist of their intent to do so prior to transferring so that this can be properly noted in the SEVIS system. Your WIU department supervisor will be contacted to confirm that your transfer is okay with the department.  You will also need to provide proof that you are accepted at the new institution, such as an acceptance letter.


Other issues of concern

  • Inappropriate advice given to the scholar by a faculty member, academic adviser or international adviser that results in loss of legal status is not accepted by USCIS as grounds to reinstate the scholar to legal status.
  • Reinstatement to legal status will rarely, if ever, be granted in the U.S. to scholars who lose their status. If you are out of status, you must return home with no guarantee of being issued a visa to return.
  • J-2 dependents may request work permission (from the Immigration Advisor) or attend school while they are in the United States.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. You should contact the Immigration Specialist at (309) 298-1806 to arrange an appointment to discuss any changes in your program or questions or concerns related to your legal status in the United States.