Maintaining Status

Role and Responsibility of the International Scholar


  • You must check in with International Education Services (IES) within 5 business days of your program start date. This includes all J-1 scholars (paid or unpaid by the university). 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, you must contact the International Education Services at 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 the International Education Services Office of your arrival date.
  • To check in, come to the International Education Services Office at 2001 Hedgcock between 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00. Upon check in, you must provide IES with 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. Bring your DS-2019, emergency contact information (one domestic, one international), and your passport to check in.


  • 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 NMU. If it is close to expiring, you should request an extension from the International Programs Office.
  • You and your dependents must come to IES 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 to IES within 5 days.
  • If you are working at NMU you will need a social security number. If you do not have a social security number, come to International Education Services Offic for further information.


  • When your program is finished you must submit a Notice of Departure to IES. IES is required to report your program end date 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.
  • If your J-2 dependents will be departing the US prior to your program end date and prior to your arrival and not returning, they must submit a J-2 Notice of Departure to our office.


  • Request for extension must be made by your host department. This can be a letter stating the reason for the extension and the new end date.
  • 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 send IPO any extension paperwork at least two weeks prior to the program end date. IES will then verify that you are eligible for an extension and process the paperwork.
  • J-1 scholars, students, and dependents (J-2s) are required to have major medical insurance for the duration of the program.


  • J-1 scholars who plan to transfer to another institution must inform IES of their intent to do so prior to transferring so that this can be properly noted in the SEVIS system. They need to pick up and complete the transfer out form from IES. Under the SEVIS system, the current J program and the transferring J program will work together to complete the transfer process.


  • 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 USCIS or attend school while they are in the United States.
  • If you are being paid in the United States, you must file tax forms. Please contact the International Programs Office for more information.