Having a Visa
A visa is a sticker stamped on a page in your passport by a consular officer. Once you have a visa stamped in your passport, you are a visa holder. You need that stamp to enter the U.S. and the dates on the visa determine when it may be used. A visa is like a key that opens a door for a defined period of time. If you leave the U.S. and then wish to return later, you must have a valid, unexpired visa in your passport to reenter the United States. If your visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. consular office abroad before returning to the U.S.
Nonimmigrant J-1 status indicates a legal condition granted to a visa holder by an immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry. J-1 visa holders maintain this status by following DHS and State Department regulations that detail the responsibilities of J-1 status. The immigration document (Form DS-2019) issued to you first establishes your eligibility to apply for a U.S. visa and then serves as proof of of your J-1 status while you are in the U.S.
After arriving at CWRU, there are some steps to ensure that you get off to a smooth start. These steps are mandatory in order to properly maintain your J-1 student visa status, so be certain to review them all carefully.
J-1 Student Status
J-1 students will be issued a Form DS-2019, either from CWRU or their sponsor, depending on the terms of their exchange program.
Whether the Form DS-2019 is issued by CWRU or a sponsor, a J-1 student is considered to be maintaining status if they:
- are properly registered in SEVIS
- are maintaining full-time enrollment status
- are making normal progress toward completing their course of study
- have not engaged in unauthorized employment
- maintain health insurance that meets the minimum requirements
- are not deportable on any grounds
Tips to maintain your status:
- Report your address to SIS at the beginning of every semester or whenever you move
- Keep your documents -- Form DS-2019 and passport -- current and valid at all times
- Enroll full-time every semester
- Work only with proper authorization
For students who are in possession of a Form DS-2019 issued by CWRU, the VISA Office will be responsible for certain tasks to help students maintain their visa status.
For students who are in possession of a Form DS-2019 issued by a sponsor other than CWRU, that sponsor will be responsible for helping students maintain their visa status. The VISA Office is happy to serve as a resource for all students; however, it will be necessary to consult with the sponsor on all matters pertaining to maintaining valid visa status, such as registration, work authorization, Form DS-2019 extensions, etc.