ISSS Check-in and Orientation

Exchange visitors are required to report to the ISSS office no later than 1 week after arrival for check in, orientation and SEVIS record validation. Federal regulations require program sponsors to validate a J-1’s SEVIS record. Failure to do so will result in termination of J-1 status. Exchange visitors must bring the following documents to check in and orientation:

  • DS-2019
  • Passport/visa
  • Proof of health insurance for themselves and all dependents
  • U.S. address and contact information

Health Insurance

All J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents are required by law to have health insurance that meets specific minimum requirements throughout the duration of their program. The minimum requirements can be found in the J-1 Insurance Requirements and Agreement. “Willful failure” on the part of a scholar/professor to maintain appropriate health insurance for either themselves or their dependents may result in termination of J-1 status.

Report Address Changes

All J-1 exchange visitors are required by law to report any change of address to the ISSS within 10 days of the change. The RO/AROs will then report the change in the SEVIS system. Exchange visitors may update their address either by e-mailing the ISSS advisor or by submitting a Change of Address Form to the ISSS.

Engage in Appropriate Activities

Exchange visitors may only participate in the activities/objectives for which they were authorized on the DS-2019. Failure to maintain the original program objective is a violation of program status and may result in termination of status. Additionally, exchange visitors are only authorized to engage in their program activities on Stevens’ campus. ISSS can authorize additional “sites of activity” if an exchange visitor needs to go to another location to conduct some of his/her program activities. Authorization must be granted in advance, so exchange visitors must contact their ISSS Advisor at least 2 weeks prior to beginning any activities at an off-campus location. Please refer to the “Additional Sites of Activity” page for more information.

Work Only as Authorized

Professors or Research Scholars are permitted to work only as described on the Form DS-2019 and their official invitation/offer letter issued by Human Resources. They may receive payment from Stevens for their designated program activities, but only if said payment is reflected on their DS-2019. If the sponsoring department decides to pay an exchange visitor for their work after their arrival at Stevens, the exchange visitor must request a revised offer letter confirming the terms and amount of the payment from Human Resources and submit it to the ISSS office. Regulations allow for professors and research scholars to participate in “occasional lectures and short-term consultations” at off-campus sites provided that they are directly related to the exchange visitor’s program objectives, are incidental to his/her primary program activities, do not delay the completion date of the visitor’s program, and are documented and approved by an RO/ARO (22 C.F.R. § 62.20(g)). Please refer to the “Additional Sites of Activity” page for additional information.

Maintain Required Documents

Exchange visitors are expected to maintain the following at all times:

  • Valid DS-2019 (Previously issued DS-2019 forms should also not be discarded.)
  • Valid passport with an I-94 stamp with J-1 D/S designation

Duration of Status

J-1 exchange visitors are admitted to the U.S. for “duration of status,” which refers to the period of time designated on the DS-2019 “plus an additional 30 days “grace period” to prepare to depart the U.S., or for recreational travel within the United States. Re-entry from abroad during the “grace period” will not be permitted.


Travel abroad by exchange visitors and their dependents is permitted as long as they reenter prior to their program end date. Before departing the U.S. for a trip abroad, DS-2019 forms must be signed for travel to allow reentry to the U.S. In order to request a travel signature, please come to the ISSS office with your DS-2019, passport, and a completed Travel Endorsement Request Form Monday through Friday before 3:00 PM. All travel signature requests are processed the same day and documents can be picked up from the ISSS office between 3:30 and 5:00 PM.

In order to reenter the U.S. after a trip abroad, the exchange visitor/dependent must present the following documents at the port of entry:

  • DS-2019 with a valid travel signature from ISSS on the 1st page. Travel signatures are valid for up to one year from the date of the signature or until the program end date, if program length is less than 1 year.
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of reentry.
  • Valid J-1/J-2 visa (unless eligible for “automatic visa revalidation;” please refer to the “Travel outside the U.S.” section of our website for more information on automatic visa revalidation.
  • Steven’s appointment/invitation letter is recommended, but not required.