Services for International Students and Scholars

J-1 Scholars Exchange Visitors (EV)

Pre-arrival to the United States

J-1 Scholar Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have temporary academic appointment at Northeastern University (examples: postdoctoral research associate, research scientist, visiting scholar, etc.)
  • Must have at least a bachelor’s degree with appropriate experience in the field in which research/teaching is to be conducted.
  • Must have adequate financial support for all living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying dependents (family members).
  • Must maintain health insurance for illness or accidents while at Northeastern.
  • Must have sufficient English language ability to engage in J-1 program activities and function in daily life in the U.S.

DS-2019 Application Process

Your DS-2019 Form, also known as a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, indicates that Northeastern has invited you to perform scholarly activities and that we have created a record for you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). DS-2019 application process involves the following steps:

  • The host Northeastern department determines that you have the appropriate academic background, funding support, and English language proficiency and offers you an academic appointment with the university.
  • The Office of Global Services (OGS) contact (SEVIS Contact) for the college works with you and your host department at Northeastern via the e-form process to collect all the required paperwork for the OGS so that we can prepare your Form DS-2019.
  • When your Form DS-2019 is ready, your college mails it to you.
  • Once you receive your DS-2019, you may start the visa application process.

The DS-2019 includes dates and information about your intended scholar activities. You can find your unique SEVIS ID number in the upper-right corner of your Form DS-2019. If you have dependent family members (husband or wife, children under the age of 21) who will be traveling to the US with you, they will receive their own Form(s) DS-2019 to assist with their application(s) for J-2 visa(s).

If all the information on the form is correct, sign your name in the appropriate space on the form. If you have J-2 dependents, who are receiving their own DS-2019 forms, they must sign their own forms (except children under the age of 14; you must sign their DS-2019 forms for them).

Please present Form DS-2019 with other required documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply for your J-1 visa. You should also present these forms to the Immigration Inspector at the U.S. Port of Entry when you arrive in the U.S.

J-1 Visa Application Process

Step 1: Check your passport’s validity. It must be valid for at least six months after your arrival in the United States!
Step 2: SEVIS Fee: You must pay the SEVIS fee before your J-1 visa appointment (or before entering the U.S. if you are a Canadian citizen and do not require a visa). For complete and detailed information, please refer to the following website: gov/sevis/i901.

The SEVIS fee is required for prospective J-1 Scholars with “begin new program” indicated on their DS-2019 and who are applying for an initial J-1 visa from outside the U.S. The SEVIS fee is not required:

  • If you are currently in valid J-1 immigration status
  • If you are transferring to a new J-1 sponsor
  • For J-2 dependents
Step 3: Make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a visa interview. You must obtain your J-1 visa before coming to the U.S. to begin your program as a J-1 Scholar.* Entering with any other type of visa will invalidate your J-1 status. In anticipation of your visa appointment, please follow the instructions for obtaining your J-1 visa at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

*Canadian citizens are not required to obtain visas, but must carry and present all their J-1 documents when entering the U.S. to receive J-1 status.

  • Visa Application Fee: Check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the visa application fee and payment options. Visit the website of the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa and familiarize yourself with the process.

 

Remember that the DS-2019 does not guarantee a U.S. visa. At your interview, you will be asked about your plans, ties to your home country, future career objectives, and your financial situation.

Transferring In

Scholars who are currently in J-1 Scholar status at another U.S. educational institution may be able to transfer their sponsorship to Northeastern. The new Northeastern DS-2019 Form application process is the same as for new scholars coming from overseas (see DS-2019 Application Process section above), except that it will also involve the scholar’s current U.S. institution.

Please note: transfer-in J-1 scholars will not be issued a Form DS-2019 from Northeastern until the OGS receives and approves the DS-2019 request and the scholar’s academic appointment at Northeastern and the SEVIS record release dates are reached.

Upon Arrival to the United States

Health Insurance Requirements for J-1 Scholars and J-2 Dependents

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance that meets specific requirements. You are able to pick insurance that fits the needs of your and your dependents, however, the insurance must meet the below stated minimum requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses in the amount of $50,000 associated with the medical evacuation of the J Exchange Visitor to their home country
  • A deductible amount not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Health Insurance Options

The options below are a collection of agencies offering insurance service in the field of international education. The Office of Global Services (OGS) does not endorse any health insurance plan in particular. The choices and responsibility of selection and relation management rest with the J-1 Exchange Visitor.

Benefits are subject to change at any time. For complete and current information, please visit the provider’s website to ensure that you have the correct information.

For J-1 Scholars paid by Northeastern: please be aware that Northeastern University health plans do not include evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. Scholars eligible for and selecting a Northeastern University plan must purchase evacuation and repatriation insurance separately (please refer to the list above if you need suggestions).

Be prepared to show proof of Department of State (DOS) mandated J-1 health insurance coverage during your program at Northeastern University. The Office of Global Services (OGS) is required by the DOS to confirm that the J-1 Scholar has fulfilled their obligation to purchase the requisite insurance prior to providing any J-1 benefit, including but not limited to travel signatures, extensions, and transfers. Therefore, the OGS reserves the right to request both the policy name and number at any time.

Timely Arrival or Unexpected Arrival Delays

Please notify your Northeastern University SEVIS Contact and Faculty Host once you are certain of the date upon which you will arrive at Northeastern.

If you experience delays due to visa issuance, administrative processing (security clearance), or other circumstances, you must notify your SEVIS Contact, NU Host, and Office of Global Services (OGS) – ogs@northeastern.edu – as soon as possible.

Should you encounter a delay, you are permitted to enter the U.S. after the start date on your DS-2019. However, if you are delayed for more than two weeks after your start date you must notify the Office of Global Services as we are required by government regulation to have time to validate your J-1 record and report your entry in the SEVIS government database within 30 days of the DS-2019 start date. Record validation requires your attendance of the OGS immigration orientation session. If the OGS is not able to validate your DS-2019, the SEVIS record will be automatically terminated and you will have to leave the U.S. immediately.

What to do Upon Arrival

All J-1 Scholars must attend a mandatory OGS J-1 Scholar Immigration Clearance Session at the earliest opportunity after entering the US. Failure to attend this session will compromise your immigration status.

Please note: if you have a paid appointment at Northeastern, you will be required to complete Form I-9 within 3 business days after the first day of your appointment start date. Before your I-9 can be completed, you must attend the mandatory J-1 Scholar Immigration Clearance Session.

When you come to a Clearance session, you will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your DS-2019
  • Printed I-94 (you can retrieve and print your I-94 information online HERE)
  • Your passport containing your J-1 Visa
  • Your dependents’ DS-2019 and their passport(s) containing their J-2 visa(s) (if you have any)

NOTE: All scholars are required to register for an Immigration Clearance Session before attending. Please find upcoming sessions and mandatory registration here. 

J-1 Basics

General Guidelines for Maintaining Immigration Status

Each J-1 Scholar is responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal regulations related to their particular J-1 classification to ensure that both the J-1 Scholar and any dependent(s) are in compliance with U.S. federal regulations. Failure to comply may result in legal repercussions to both the scholar and the sponsoring institution. In addition, Northeastern, as J-1 Program Sponsor, is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the J-1 program.

The J-1 scholar is responsible for remaining in contact with the sponsoring agency/organization – Northeastern University – at all times and keeping that agency/organization informed of all pertinent changes and relevant legal issues

To comply with the terms of your J-1 visa, please make sure to follow these rules:

  1. Update your address (within 10 days of moving) and/or phone number by submitting the J-1 Exchange Visitor Address Update Form
  2. Keep your DS-2019 and passport up to date
  3. Maintain health insurance for yourself and your J-2 dependents. Massachusetts law requires all residents to have medical insurance coverage, and the U.S. Department of State also stipulates the coverage needed.
  4. Scholars may travel abroad throughout their stay. For more information about travel requirements, please see Travelling and travel Signatures
  5. If you plan an extended absence of more than 30 days, you will need special Out of Country authorization. If you expect to be outside the U.S. for more than 30 days, please contact OGS well in advance to discuss your plans.
  6. Work only at your host department at Northeastern, in the position listed in your appointment letter, unless otherwise authorized by OGS.
    • J-1 Scholars must be specifically authorized in advance by the OGS to engage in incidental activities, such as occasional lectures or consultations at another institution.
    • In some instances universities may agree on joint sponsorship of a scholar’s activities prior to the arrival of the scholar or during the scholar’s J-1 program. Joint research activity may require an addition of the Second Site of Activity to the scholar’s record. The college SEVIS Contact must contact the OGS prior to the arrangement of joint sponsorship.

Health Insurance Requirements

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance that meets specific requirements. You are able to pick insurance that fits the needs of your and your dependents, however, the insurance must meet the below stated minimum requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses in the amount of $50,000 associated with the medical evacuation of the J Exchange Visitor to their home country
  • A deductible amount not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Health Insurance Options

The options below are a collection of agencies offering insurance service in the field of international education. The Office of Global Services (OGS) does not endorse any health insurance plan in particular. The choices and responsibility of selection and relation management rest with the J-1 Exchange Visitor.

Benefits are subject to change at any time. For complete and current information, please visit the provider’s website to ensure that you have the correct information.

For J-1 Scholars paid by Northeastern: please be aware that Northeastern University health plans do not include evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. Scholars eligible for and selecting a Northeastern University plan must purchase evacuation and repatriation insurance separately (please refer to the list above if you need suggestions).

Be prepared to show proof of Department of State (DOS) mandated J-1 health insurance coverage during your program at Northeastern University. The Office of Global Services (OGS) is required by the DOS to confirm that the J-1 Scholar has fulfilled their obligation to purchase the requisite insurance prior to providing any J-1 benefit, including but not limited to travel signatures, extensions, and transfers. Therefore, the OGS reserves the right to request both the policy name and number at any time.

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement - 212(e)

The goal of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to promote mutual understanding and cultural and educational exchange, with the intent that participants return to their home countries and share knowledge gained during the program. In certain instances, scholars in J-1 status are required to return to their home country or country of legal permanent residence for two years before obtaining a more permanent status in the U.S., such as an H, L, K non-immigrant classification, or becoming a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder). In addition, scholars who are subject to this requirement are not eligible to apply for a change of status to another non-immigrant classification while inside the U.S.

Scholars are subject to the two-year home residence requirement – also known as 212(e) – if:

  • They came to the United States to participate in medical residency under J-1 Alien Physical category OR
  • They received direct government funding (from the U.S. or their home country) for the purposes of international exchange OR
  • Their country has an “Exchange Visitor Skills List” and their field of research is on this list (Please visit travel.state.gov/content/visas/English/study-exchange/exchange/exchange-visitor-skills-list.html)

Please note that receiving a salary that is funded out of a government grant that is given for the purposes of conducting research but not specifically designated for the scholar’s exchange program does not result in the scholar being subject to this provision.

In limited circumstances, exchange visitors who are subject to the requirement may apply for a waiver directly from the Department of State if they meet certain conditions. In addition, if the scholar believes they have been incorrectly subjected to 212(e), the first step would be for the scholar to file an advisory opinion as an initial inquiry. The Office of Global Services (OGS) can provide general information about these two options, but due to a conflict of interest as the Department of State J-1 program sponsor, the OGS cannot directly assist or prepare documentation.

Please note that the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement (212(e)) can affect scholars in any J classification, including J-2 dependents. 212(e) is distinct from the 24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation in J-1 Research Scholar and Professor Categories which only affects scholars in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories.

12-Month and 24-Month Scholar Bars

12-Month Bar for Initial J-1 Research Scholar and Professor Categories:

Prospective Northeastern scholars who have been in the U.S. for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in any J visa status are not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 Short-term Scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar applies to both the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status or in some other J categories such as Short-Term Scholar or Student.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation in J-1 Research Scholar and Professor Categories:

Effective November 18, 2006, scholars in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories who complete their exchange program become subject to a 24- month bar or prohibition from returning to the U.S. to start a new J-1 Exchange visitor Program in the Research Scholar or Professor category. If the scholar anticipates that they will be interested in continuing research or teaching at Northeastern or at another U.S. institution, they should consult with the OGS regarding future potential options, such as extending the current program or transferring to another exchange visitor program outside of Northeastern. Please note that extensions or transfers must be planned several months prior to ending the J-1 SEVIS immigration record.

This prohibition does not apply to scholars in other J-1 classifications, such as J-1 Short-Term Scholar category. This bar on repeat participation is distinct from the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement –212(e). Please note that there is no possibility of a waiver for the 24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation in J-1 Research Scholar and Professor Categories.

Travel

Travelling and Travel Signatures

J-1 Scholars and their dependents must have a valid travel signature on the Form DS-2019 prior to traveling outside the U.S. as a requirement of reentry to the United States. Initial travel signatures will be provided at the OGS J-1 Scholar Clearance session when the scholar first arrives at Northeastern. This signature is valid for one year or until the expiration date of the Form DS-2019, whichever is earlier.

If you travel outside the United States, you will need:

  1. Your DS-2019 form signed by the OGS less than one year prior to your date of entry. You can submit the OGS Scholar Travel Signature Request Form – along with your DS-2019 to OGS. Allow five business days for travel signature processing. Please note that a new travel signature must be obtained on the most recent form DS-2019, if the DS-2019 has been extended or amended after the travel signature was provided.
  1. Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future at the time of your return to the U.S.)
  2. Valid J-1 visa

If family members with J-2 visas travel with you, they require the same documents.

Automatic Revalidation

When traveling to bordering countries, such as Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands (Caribbean island), you may be eligible to re-enter the U.S. with an expired J-1 visa. Please refer to the Customs and Border Protection website for details.

If you travel within the United States, you should carry with you:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Form DS-2019
  3. I-94 print out

While traveling, J-1 Scholars and dependents must carry all immigration documents, including appointment letters. If the scholar and dependents have received extended or amended DS-2019s, they are still required to carry previously issued DS-2019s. Immigration documents should never be discarded.

Out of Country Pre-Authorization for 30 Days or More Outside of the U.S

If a J-1 Scholar requests to be outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days and return to the U.S. to pursue the J-1 program objective originally described in the Northeastern appointment letter, they must submit the Out of Country Request Form to the OGS 10 business days prior to departure from the U.S. Approval by the OGS of the Out of Country Request permits the scholar to continue participation in their Exchange Visitor Program outside of the United States for a scheduled period of time, provided that the program activities will be continued while they are away. The DS-2019 and SEVIS record remain active during this time period. Please note that the scholar must possess a valid travel signature and visa to return to the U.S. In addition, the scholar must continue to comply with J- 1 insurance requirements for him/herself and any J-2 dependents, even while outside the U.S.

Taxes

U.S. Taxes

As an international student and scholar at Northeastern, it is important that you are aware of your U.S. tax obligation. All international students and scholars are required to file a U.S. (federal) tax return even if you do not have U.S. source income.  Below are a few things you need to know:

  • If you receive U.S. source income, including wages, stipend, or scholarship, you will likely have federal and state tax withheld from your checks.
  • U.S taxes is a pay-as-you go system in that there may be automatic tax withholdings from your paycheck, stipend or financial aid.  This means that in some instances your available income will be reduced by the tax withholdings. When you file your annual tax report in April of each year, you will calculate the exact amount of tax due.  Some years you may get a refund and in others you may owe additional taxes.

The U.S. tax system is organized according to the calendar year (January 1- December 31).

In addition to filing a federal tax return, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or another state may also require you to file state taxes for income earned in that state.

Who Must File a Tax Return?

All international students and scholars who were in the U.S. for any period of time during any calendar year must file a federal tax statement, called an income tax return. And some international students and scholars will need to file a state tax return(s).  If you did not have any U.S. source income, you will only file Form 8843.  If you have U.S. source income, your next step is to determine your tax filing status.

What is your Tax Filing Status?

Before you begin your tax return, you will need to determine your tax filing status: Tax Residence categories are not to be confused with the immigration terms. The names are classified as “non-resident” and “resident” similar to immigration terms, but it is important to know that it is independent from your immigration classification. For tax purposes, residence is defined based on the Substantial Presence Test (SPT). The IRS categorizes residents as, all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident. A non-resident alien is an individual who holds a different immigration status. Most incoming F and J student visa holders are considered non-residents for the first five (5) calendar years in the United States. J-1 scholars are considered non-residents for the first two (2) calendar years in the United States. Non-residents only pay taxes on U.S. income.

The tax preparation software we offer to international students and scholars will help you determine your tax residence status. You will be able to use this software to complete your federal Tax Non-Resident tax forms, if the software determines you fall under the Tax Non-Resident category.

How can OGS assist you?

The OGS will provide all F-1 and J-1 students and scholars access to a tax preparation software. This software will help you prepare your federal tax return. OGS staff are not tax experts and therefore cannot help you prepare your return.

Completing your Program

Program Completion: Departure, Transfer Out, Change of Status

J-1 Scholars typically complete their academic assignments on the designated date of departure indicated on their SEVIS Form DS-2019. However, scholars occasionally may leave the University early or unexpectedly due to a variety of reasons. Current federal regulations require J-1 Scholars to inform the OGS if they plan to leave the University 15 days or more before the expiration date of their Form DS-2019, as well as the reason for doing so. J-1 scholars, the Faculty Host, and SEVIS Contact must complete the End of Program Notification Form and provide it to the OGS before departure. Please note: the above form is only required if the scholar is ending his/her program 15 days or more prior to the program end date on the DS-2019; if the program is completed on the date indicated on DS-2019 or within the 15-day window before that date, the form is not required.

 

J-1 Scholars must depart the U.S. by the end of the 30 day grace period—30 days after the expiration date on the Form DS- 2019. If the scholar completes their program early, the OGS will shorten the current DS-2019 and the grace period will begin the day after the new DS-2019 end date. During the grace period, the scholar may travel within the U.S. However, a trip outside the U.S. during the grace period, including to Canada or Mexico, will end the J-1 status.

 

If the scholar and Faculty Host are contemplating a change of immigration status before or during the 30-day grace period, it is extremely important to contact the OGS as soon as possible to plan accordingly, especially if the scholar must continue at Northeastern in a different immigration status, for example, F-1 student. The OGS can meet with the scholar and review the change of status request to determine whether the change of status is beneficial and, most importantly, feasible from an immigration and timing perspective.

If the scholar wishes to continue his/her J-1 program at another institution in the U.S., he/she must contact the OGS at least 10 business days before the scholar’s program end date so that the OGS can help transfer records between institutions. Please note that it is not possible to transfer J-1 SEVIS record during the 30-day grace period because the record is no longer in Active status during that time. The timely reporting of your institutional change will assure that you remain in status.

J-2 Dependent Status Eligibility

A J-1 scholar’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for J-2 status.   The day the child turns 21 he or she is no longer eligible for a dependent J-2 status.  Each J-2 dependent must have his or her own Form DS-2019 with a SEVIS number. J-2 visa holders do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.

Each J-2 dependent may accompany or follow to join the J-1 scholar in the United States and remain here while the J-1 scholar maintains status here. All J-2 dependents are required to comply with applicable federal regulatory requirements. Please see Maintaining J-2 Status section below for more information.

To request a Form DS-2019 for accompanying dependent(s), please use Request to Change Funding, Replace DS-2019, or Issue J-1 Dependent DS-2019 form. You may need to show additional funding for dependent expenses.

Maintaining J-2 Status

  •  J-2 dependents may study part-time or full-time in the United States while the J-1 scholar is in valid status.
  • J-2 dependents must also be covered by health insurance
  • J-2 dependent children over the age of 21 are no longer eligible for J-2 status and will need to change to another status if they wish to remain in the United States.

J-2 Employment

A J-2 dependent may receive authorization from USCIS for the duration of the J-1 Scholar’s program. If the J-2 dependent meets the required criteria and complies with the guidelines for employment, any type of lawful employment is permitted, full or part-time. However, it cannot be for the purpose of supporting the J-1 parent or spouse.

To apply for employment, the J-2 dependent must submit the following:

  • G-1145, E-notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  • USCIS Form I-765
    • Item 3 – Use an address that will not change as mail from USCIS will not be forwarded
    • Item 16 – write: (C)(5)
    • The J-2 applicant signs the form in blue ink
  • $410 check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
  • Letter explaining why work authorization is sought (see sample below) written by J-2 applicant; the letter should state that employment is not necessary to support the J-1
  • Photocopies of the J-2’s and J-1’s current and prior DS-2019 forms
  • Two photos
    • Photos should be passport style: white background, un-mounted glossy, with a full face position, un-retouched
    • Photos should not be taken earlier than 30 days before submission to USCIS.
    • Lightly print your name on the back of each photo with pencil.
  • Photocopy of the identification page in the J-2’s passport
  • Photocopy of the visa page in J-2’s passport
  • Photocopy of J-2’s I-94 card
  • Photocopies of any Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards issued previously to the J-2
  • Photocopy of the J-2’s driver’s license or other photo identification, if available
  • Marriage certificate (if spouse of the J-1), or birth certificate (if child of the J-1)
    • Foreign-language documents should include an English translation

*Employment is generally authorized up to twelve months, and may be renewed annually. However, if J-2 status (DS- 2019) is valid for more than one year, the J-2 can attempt to request more time by submitting a statement such as “I would like to request employment until the end date of my DS-2019 on ______(include actual end date here).”)

SAMPLE LETTER

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Phone or Email]

[Date]

To Whom It May Concern:

I am the J-2 dependent of J-1 Exchange Visitor, [insert J-1’s name] and I wish to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. My [insert word “spouse” or “parent”] receives a [insert salary, stipend, grant, scholarship, whichever is relevant] from [insert funding source] sufficient to provide for our living expenses. I am requesting to be employed to pursue [insert activities, such as recreational, cultural, travel, experience in the American workplace, etc.] I respectfully request to be granted permission to be employed in the U.S.

Enclosed are all required documents. [List documents here if prefer]:

Thank you very much for your kind assistance.

[Your Name],

[Your Signature]

J-1 Basics

Can I take classes at Northeastern as a J-1 Scholar?

Yes with limitations. Scholars in the J-1 Professor, Researcher, and Short-Term Scholar categories are permitted to enroll in classes on a limited basis (one class per semester). Northeastern policy on limited class enrollment is based on the obligation the J-1 Exchange Visitor has to fulfill their program responsibilities in regard to either teaching or research, as opposed to studying. Being admitted to a degree program is deemed to be contradictory to the intent and goal of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

What's the difference between a short-term scholar and a research scholar/professor?

J-1 Research Scholars/Professors

  • J-1 Research Scholars or Professors are allowed to remain in the United States for up to 5 years. J-1 Research Scholars and Professors are not allowed to return to the United States for 24 months after their departure.
  • The primary activity of J-1 Scholars would be research and the primary activity of the -1 Professor would be teaching.

J-1 Short Term Scholar

  • This category is for someone who is a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments who enters the United States for a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. This visa category allows the bearer to remain in the United States for up 6 months – no exceptions.

I moved. How do I Report my Change of Address?

Update your address (within 10 days of moving) and/or phone number by submitting the J-1 Exchange Visitor Address Update Form

Immigration, Travel, and Visas

Am I required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee?

In most cases, yes.  You must pay the SEVIS fee before your J-1 visa appointment (or before entering the U.S. if you are a Canadian citizen and do not require a visa). For complete and detailed information, please refer to the following website: gov/sevis/i901.

The SEVIS fee is required for prospective J-1 Scholars with “begin new program” indicated on their DS-2019 and who are applying for an initial J-1 visa from outside the U.S. The SEVIS fee is not required:

  • If you are currently in valid J-1 immigration status
  • If you are transferring to a new J-1 sponsor
  • For J-2 dependents

How do I “Check-In” when I arrive to begin my program?

All J-1 Scholars must attend a mandatory OGS J-1 Scholar Immigration Clearance Session at the earliest opportunity after entering the US. Failure to attend this session will compromise your immigration status.

Please note: if you have a paid appointment at Northeastern, you will be required to complete Form I-9 within 3 business days after the first day of your appointment start date. Before your I-9 can be completed, you must attend the mandatory J-1 Scholar Immigration Clearance Session.

When you come to a Clearance session, you will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your DS-2019
  • Your Passport containing your J-1 Visa
  • (If applicable) Your dependents’ DS-2019 and their passport(s) containing their J-2 visa(s)
  • I-94 Information – You need to retrieve and print this information from the I-94 Website

 

NOTE: All scholars are required to register for an Immigration Clearance Session before attending. Please find upcoming sessions and mandatory registration here. 

How can I renew my J visa?

If your J-1 and/or J-2 visa has expired, then it will need to be renewed only if you or your J-2 dependent plan to travel abroad and return to the US prior to the end date of your program.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa stamp in your passport must be valid in order to re-enter the United States, unless you are a Canadian Citizen.* Be sure to check the visa stamp before you leave the United States. If it has expired, you will need to obtain a new visa stamp from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. For information on visa stamp issuance in various countries, you may wish to consult the information on the Department of State (DOS) website. You must present your valid Form DS-2019 with your passport when you apply for a new visa stamp. It is highly recommended that you also carry all previous Forms DS-2019.

* Canadian Citizens do not require a visa stamp to enter the United States in J-1 status, but must present Form DS-2019 and a passport or evidence of citizenship.

Family and Life in the United States

Can my spouse or child join me in the United States?

Yes, your spouse or child (under 21) can join you in the United States as your J-2 dependent.  Your dependent will need a Form DS-2019 and will need to apply for a J-2 visa stamp in his or her passport.  When you request your initial DS-2019, you will be asked if you have a dependent that will be joining you.  If you do, you can indicate this on your application and will need to provide a copy of a valid passport.

If you decide to bring a dependent to the United States after you have already entered the country, then you will need to make a separate Request for a DS-2019 for your J-2 dependent.

Can I get a driver's license in the United States?

Yes, you can get a driver’s license, provided that you have at least 1 year remaining on your DS-2019.  Please visit The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for specific information on how to obtain a driver’s license or state ID.

Employment and Taxes

How do I get a social security number (SSN)?

J scholars are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number at any time, though note that you should wait at least 10 days after you arrive in the US to apply. You must bring the following documents to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office: Completed Social Security Application, DS-2019, unexpired passport, and Form I-94.

Generally, there are two convenient locations for Northeastern scholars located at the Boston campus:

Social Security Administration

10 Causeway Street

Boston, MA 02222

 

Social Security Administration

10 Fawcett Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

Is my J-2 Dependent allowed to work in the United States?

Yes, J-2 dependents may US. Please see the J-2 Dependent Tab for more information on J-2 employment.

Am I allowed to work outside of Northeastern's campus?

J-1 Scholars must have prior authorization by the OGS to engage in activities outside of their host institute. You can find more information on this under “Current Students” > “General Guidelines for Maintaining Immigration Status”.

Do I need to file taxes?

Yes, J1 scholars are required to file a US (federal) tax return. You can find tax information under the “Current Scholars” tab

Extensions and End of Program

I need more time at Northeastern than my DS-2019 currently shows. What should I do?

If you would like to extend your DS-2019 you must submit the following documents to the SEVIS Contact in your College: Completed and signed Extension of DS-2019 for J-1 International Scholars (Form C) found under “Forms and Guides”, Copy of the renewed Northeastern Appointment Letter signed by the Department Head or Dean, Completed and signed Statement of Compliance with Department of State Health Insurance Requirements for J-1 Exchange, Visitors (this form must be resubmitted for the J-1 Scholar and their dependents), Financial documentation with translation into English and converted to U.S. currency, Completed Verification of English Language Proficiency Form, including the Faculty Host signature

Note: Documents must be submitted to the Office of Global Services (OGS) at least one month in advance of the expiration date on the J-1 Scholar’s DS-2019.

How long can I stay in the United States after the program end date on my DS-2019?

Please see “Completing your Program” under “Current Scholars”.

J-1 Sponsorship of International Scholars

The Office of Global Services (OGS) procedure for J-1 international scholar sponsorship is a cooperative one, involving the Hiring Department. Faculty host, SEVIS Contact, international scholar, human resources and payroll (for paid appointment), and the Office of Global Services (OGS).

 

The following are the required steps, beginning with the academic appointment process.

Step 1. Initiating the process: The first contact between the scholar and Northeastern

In some instances the prospective scholar will initiate the contact with Northeastern University directly to inquire about the sponsorship. The scholar should be directed to the faculty host of the appropriate academic department. The faculty host then makes the decision as to whether the international exchange would be beneficial for both the scholar and department. If so, the faculty host would move to Step 2 below.

In other instances, the faculty host will initiate the process by reaching out to the scholar, the next step also being Step 2 below.

Step 2. The appointment letter

Northeastern University requires that the international scholar receive a formal letter of appointment signed by the Dean. The letter should include appointment start and end dates and any form of payment (e.g. salary, honorarium). From an immigration standpoint, this letter is also essential as it formalizes the affiliation between Northeastern University and the nonimmigrant participant (the scholar) and, in conjunction with other required OGS forms, allows the OGS to issue the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, which the scholar must present at a U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for a J visa.

Step 3. OGS forms to request DS-2019

In addition to the appointment letter, in order for the OGS to issue the DS-2019, hiring department, the faculty host, SEVIS Contact (a contact in the Dean’s office for international academic appointments and immigration sponsorship), and international scholar must work together to complete the DS-2019 request. SEVIS Contact will initial the process and will send emails to each party to access required eforms. You may refer to myOGS user guide to review the overall process.

The SEVIS Contact will enter the scholar’s information in OGS’s database and initiate the DS-2019 request eform process.

The Hiring Department will complete details of Scholar’s appointment at Northeastern

The Faculty Host will complete Faculty Host Form including the verification of English Language Proficiency information.

The Scholar will receive an email to request completion of the following forms with appropriate attachments:

  • Personal information
    • Acknowledgement of Time Limit for J-1 Short-Term Scholar Category (if applicable): The STS category, according to Department of State regulation, is for scholars who plan to be at Northeastern for 6 months or less, engaged in research, teaching, collaboration or training. The scholar must read and sign this portion if appointment duration is 6 months or less.
  • Financial information and certification
  • Statement of Compliance with Health Insurance Requirements
  • Dependents information (if applicable)
  • SEVIS Record Transfer-in form (if applicable)
    • J-1 Scholars, who have been offered appointments at NU and are currently in the U.S. at another institution in J-1 status must complete this form. The form is used to facilitate the transfer of their J-1 record from their current institution to NU.

Once all forms are completed by each party, the DS-2019 request will be submitted to OGS for final review and process of DS-2019.

Since the international scholar must also be allotted time to obtain a visa appointment abroad, after the OGS issues the DS-2019, the OGS requires that all completed DS-2019 request be received at least 8 weeks in advance of the DS-2019 start date.

The OGS processing time for DS- 2019 issuance is 10 business days from the date the complete DS-2019 request is submitted to OGS.

Required minimum funding

Please be aware that the minimum funding required per year are the following:

·         for a J scholar is $28,000;

·         for a spouse, an additional $14,000

·         for each child an additional $7,000

The total of financial support declared above should match or exceed the estimated living costs of the J scholar, and his/her dependents, if applicable.

Example: 

A Scholar and Spouse with 2 children staying for one year and 6 months will need to show the amount of $42,000 for Scholar, $21,000 Spouse, and $21,000 Children equals to $84,000 in total.

Guidelines for Acceptable proof of funds

Funding from sources other than Northeastern (private sponsor, government funding, scholarships, personal funds, etc.) will be considered towards meeting the NU minimum funding requirements, with the following restrictions:

  • All documentation must be translated into English; currency must be clearly referenced and converted into USD.
  • If you are providing bank statement(s), they must include the following info:
    • English translation
    • Name of the account holder
    • Currency info (USD, Euro, RMB, etc.)
    • Amount available
    • Issue date (the bank statement cannot be older than 9 months upon receipt by OGS)
  • If you have multiple statements, upload all documents in this category together in one pdf and attach the coversheet.
  • Documentation must be copies of originals (note that the U.S. Consulate requires original documentation during the visa process).

Sponsorship by family member(s):

If you are financially supported by your family member(s), please submit the followings:

  • Financial institution documentation, such as bank statements or letters, including name of the financial sponsor; documentation must be recent, and not older than 9 months upon receipt by the OGS
  • A letter signed by the financial sponsor attesting that the scholar is entitled to the funds in the sponsor’s account

Sponsorship by home country organizations:

  • In cases in which the documentation reflects a range in funding, the OGS will use the lowest figure in the range unless the scholar provides a letter from the funding source indicating otherwise. Note: OGS retains the right to request original documentation or other means of clarification.
  • If you are sponsored by your home country employer (e.g., you are taking a sabbatical at your home university), the letter form the employer must state that you will be receiving your salary while at Northeastern University (salary statement alone is not sufficient).
  • Note: OGS retains the right to request original documentation or other means of clarification.

Failure to follow the instructions above will result in the delay of DS-2019 issuance.

Step 4. Applying for the J-1 Visa

Once the Office of Global Services (OGS) has processed the DS-2019, the SEVIS Contact will be notified to retrieve it from the OGS and mail it to the scholar via FedEx, or another secure international carrier. By law, we are not allowed to electronically distribute copies of Form DS-2019.

The scholar should review the DS-2019 carefully immediately upon receipt and contact the OGS if there are any errors on the form. In order to make an appointment at a U.S. Consulate abroad to obtain the J-1 visa, the consulate will request the SEVIS ID number, which is found in the upper right hand corner of Page 1 of the DS-2019. Consulates will also typically ask for the program sponsor number, which is the number beginning with “P,” and is also located on Page 1, Section 2 of the DS-2019. If all of the information on the DS-2019 is correct, the scholar should sign their name in the appropriate space on the form, at the bottom. It’s important not to make any other extraneous notations on the form.

If the scholar has J-2 dependents (Spouse, children under the age of 21) traveling at the same time, they will receive their own DS-2019 to assist with their application(s) for J-2 visa(s).

For more information on the SEVIS fee and other issues related to obtaining a visa, scholars should review the Pre Arrival Instructions for J-1 Scholars.

The scholar should pay close attention to the start date in Section 3 of the DS-2019 because entry to the U.S. in J-1 Scholar status or J-2 dependent status is only permitted up to 30 days before and up to 30 days after this start date. If it will not be possible to enter the U.S. AND REPORT TO THE OGS (by attending one of the weekly J-1 Immigration Clearance Sessions) by the program start date or shortly after, please notify the OGS as soon as possible. If Scholar’s program start date must be changed, please submit the “Start Date Amendment Request” to OGS. This requires an updated appointment letter.

Start date Amendments before scholar’s entry to U.S.:

If the faculty host and scholar must change appointment dates due to visa delay, security checks  (administrative processing) or other extenuating circumstances, or change financial information after the submission of the J-1 packet to the OGS or issuance of the DS- 2019 but before the scholar’s entry to the U.S., they must notify the OGS immediately.

If appointment date changes are requested, a new appointment letter is required, and SEVIS Contact submit Start Date Amendment Request via myOGS. Once the request is reviewed and processed ,a new DS-2019 with new dates will be issued. OGS processing time is 10 business days.

Please note that it’s important for all parties to be made aware of any changes so that they can coordinate changes concurrently.

Step 5. Scholar’s Arrival

To ensure that the international scholar’s arrival is confirmed and that the DS-2019 is timely and legally validated in the SEVIS system (also referred to as J-1 Immigration Clearance), the scholar must attend a J-1 Immigration Clearance Session at the OGS. The J-1 scholar must register for the Clearance Session in advance.

If the scholar is salaried or reimbursed by Northeastern University, they must complete Form I-9 at the OGS on the first or second day of employment at Northeastern. Please note, the I-9 process can only be completed after the scholar’s record is validated in SEVIS (after the scholar has attended the Immigration Clearance Session).

Maintaining J-1 Scholar Status while in the U.S.

Any changes to the scholar’s status, including pay changes, address changes, dependent changes, site of activity, etc. must be reported to the OGS immediately.

FORMS FOR SCHOLARS ALREADY AT NORTHEASTERN (Required for DS-2019 updates):

  • J-1 Extension of DS-2019 (Form C): This form is required if, rather than ending the J-1 program/appointment as planned, the faculty host and scholar require an extension of J-1 status. This form must be completed and submitted at least 4 weeks before the expiration date of the DS-2019 to ensure timely processing of the extension by the OGS. Please note that the OGS also has a 10 business day processing time for J- 1 extensions. In addition to completing the form, the faculty host must submit a copy of the renewed Northeastern appointment letter signed by the Dean, as well as a renewed Statement of Compliance with Health Insurance Requirements, financial documentation, and copies of immigration documents. If the original request for DS- 2019 was submitted before January 5, 2015 the Verification of English Language Proficiency Form is required.
  • Request for Duplicate, Amended or Dependent DS-2019 (Form D): This form is submitted when the DS-2019 must be duplicated, amended (changed), or to request DS-2019s for dependents (add new J-2 dependents) when the scholar’s dependents are arriving separately. Form D is only required after the scholar has entered the U.S. and attended a J-1 Immigration Clearance Session.
  • J-2 Dependent Reporting Requirements: J-1 Scholars who have J-2 dependents are required to submit this form if their dependents are permanently leaving the U.S. before the J-1 Scholar.
  • J-1 Scholar/J-2 Dependent Travel Signature Request Form: J-1 Scholars and J-2 dependents who plan to travel outside the U.S. must use this form to request new travel signatures on their DS- 2019s if the signatures are a year old, or older, from the date of signature. This form is also an attestation by the scholar that they are complying with the health insurance requirement for the J program.

End of Program

  • End of Program Notification: this form is required when the scholar ends their J-1 program, and must be completed and signed by the SEVIS Contact, faculty host, and scholar. The SEVIS Contact should then submit an HR/Payroll Action Form to HR/Payroll, if the appointment was paid.
  • J-1 Scholar Transfer-Out Form: If the scholar intends to continue their J-1 program at another institution in the U.S., the completion and submission of this form will initiate the process of J- 1 status transfer out of NU to another institution in the U.S.

Bouve College of Health Sciences

Lauren Kiley- l.kiley@northeastern.edu

Jacinta Lavallee- j.lavallee@northeastern.edu

College of Arts, Media & Design

Mary Corluka- m.corluka@northeastern.edu

Nevena Das- n.das@northeastern.edu

College of Computer and Information Science

Barbara Finney- b.finney@northeastern.edu

Kirsten Gilbert- k.gilbert@northeastern.edu

Hannah Kearns- h.kearns@northeastern.edu

College of Engineering

Esther Cohen- e.cohen@northeastern.edu

Lisa Lehane- l.lehane@northeastern.edu

 

College of Science

Babitha Pathiyanna- b.pathiyanna@northeastern.edu

Carloyn Stowe- c.stowe@northeastern.edu

 

College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Gayle Mackay- g.mackay@northeastern.edu

 

D'Amore-McKim School of Business

Susan Greeley- s.greeley@northeastern.edu

Evy Keefe- e.keefe@northeastern.edu

 

School of Law

Sully Baez- s.baez@northeastern.edu

Lauren Bourke- l.bourke@northeastern.edu

Patrick Cassidy- p.cassidy@northeastern.edu

Helpful Links