Scholar Status Basics

Please review the below information for details about maintaining your J-1 visa status as a USF visiting scholar.

Upon Arrival

Status Verification

Upon arrival in the U.S., all J-1 Scholars are REQUIRED to complete a Scholar Check-In/Status Verification process with the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office.  To begin this process, you must schedule a scholar check-in appointment with an ISSS advisor (who serves as a Responsible Officer [“RO”] for the USF Exchange Visitor Program) by contacting the ISSS office at (415) 422-2654 or You must bring the following items with you to the appointment:

  1. Your passport
  2. Your DS-2019 form (which has been stamped at by a U.S. customs officer at your port of entry)
  3. Your Form I-94 (a small, white card that will be issued to you at your U.S. port of entry)
  4. Your U.S. residential address information
  5. Evidence of medical insurance coverage for the duration of your exchange program that meets the U.S. Department of State’s insurance requirements for exchange visitors (see the “HEALTH INSURANCE” section below).

Note: This check-in/status verification process is required in order for USF to be able to validate your exchange program participation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a condition of maintaining your legal presence in the United States.

During Your Program at USF

Maintain Current Documents

  • J-1 Scholars and their dependents must have current passports at all times. If your passport expires while on your program at USF, you and your dependents will out of status.
  • You are required to have a valid and unexpired Form DS-2019. If your DS-2019 is close to expiring and you are interested in extending your stay in the U.S., you must make an appointment to see an ISSS advisor.
  • If you plan to travel outside of the United States during your program, you need to come to the ISSS office and have your DS-2019 signed. Signatures are valid for 6 months.
  • J-1 Scholars and their dependents need to immediately report any change of personal information to the ISSS office. Examples are a change of address or change of legal name.

Health Insurance

All J Visa Exchange visitors (including J-1 Scholars) are REQUIRED as a condition of maintaining their J-1 status in the United States to carry health insurance for themselves and their accompanying family members. Willful failure on your part to maintain the required insurance throughout your stay in the United States will result in the termination of your exchange program. By government regulation, minimum coverage must provide:

  • up to $50,000 per accident or illness
  • up to $7,500 for repatriation of remains
  • up to $10,000 for medical evacuation to the home country; and
  • a “deductible” not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

The company providing the insurance must have an A.A. Best rating of “A-” or higher, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-1” or higher, a Standard & Poor’s Claims-Paying Ability rating of “A-” or higher, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or higher.

J-1 Scholars who do not obtain their own insurance before arriving at USF should have the funds available to purchase it, for themselves and their dependents, no later than the day they arrive on campus.

In the United States certain kinds of elective medical care, such as eyeglasses or dentistry, are ordinarily not covered by insurance, and they are very expensive. To the extent possible, J-1 Scholars should take care of such needs before leaving home.

Please contact the ISSS office if you have any questions about purchasing health insurance.


J-1 Scholars are permitted to work at the site(s) of activity as described on their Form DS-2019. Accepting additional employment must be authorized by the USF in accordance with J-1 Scholar regulations. If additional employment is authorized by USF, additional sites of activity need to be added to your SEVIS record and a new DS-2019 will be printed reflecting the new J-1 Scholar site(s) of activity. Please see an ISSS advisor if you are considering accepting additional employment. Failure to obtain authorization for additional employment will result in the loss of your J-1 status.

At the End of Your Stay

Extending your Status

Your permission to stay in the United States ends on the date shown on your I-94 Departure Record card--unless the card is marked “Duration of Status” or “D/S.” In that case your permission to stay will expire 30 days after date shown in item three (3) of your Form DS-2019. If an extension is necessary, be sure to arrange it ahead of time by contacting the ISSS office at least two months before the expiration date shown on your Form DS-2019, in item three (3). Be aware that you must extend your stay before the program end date on your DS-2019. Once your program end date has passed, you may not extend your stay. Consult an ISSS advisor (Responsible Officer) for details.

Transferring to another J-1 Program:

A J-1 scholar who is planning to transfer to another J-1 program in the United States must make an appointment with an ISSS advisor at least 30 days before their program end date on their DS-2019. Since eligibility to transfer to a J-1 program at another institution involves many factors and close coordination between the two institutions, speaking with an ISSS advisor well before your program end date is critical. J-1 scholars may not transfer after their program end date has passed.