J Exchange Visitors Program

Ending or Extending Your Program

Ending Your Program

Exchange Visitors who end their program more than 30 days prior to the end date on the DS-2019 and intend to depart the U.S. and not return must notify the sponsoring department and their RO/ARO.

Program Extensions

Program extensions are obtained through the sponsoring department and must be submitted at least 30 days before the program end date. The counting time in J status BEGINS from either the begin date on the DS-2019 OR the arrival date on the I-94 card. The counting time in J status ENDS when you reach the end date on the DS-2019 OR you reach the maximum limit of your category OR you complete your program objective.

  • A STUDENT is limited to 24 months in a degree program or 36 months in a nondegree program. If the student is doing academic training, this can be done after the participant’s studies, but not to extend the total program duration.

  • A PROFESSOR can be sponsored for a maximum period of five years. For example, if the initial program is scheduled for one year, program extensions may be requested for a total of five years.

  • A SHORT-TERM SCHOLAR is limited to six months in duration. Extensions are not granted beyond that time.

  • A SPECIALIST can be sponsored for a maximum period of one year. Extensions are not granted beyond that time.

Program Transfers

An EV who desires to transfer his or her program must consult with their sponsoring department and RO/ARO, complete the Transfer Out Form, and submit it no later than 30 days before the desired transfer date. Requirements for program transfer include:

  • Program sponsor is approved by Department of State (DoS) to sponsor the same J Exchange Visitor category;
    Program objective/activity remains unchanged;
    Program period will not exceed maximum DoS established period;
    Exchange Visitor checks in with the new sponsor immediately following transfer date.

Two-Year Residency Requirement 212(e)

Some Exchange Visitors are subject to the requirement known as 212(e). The U.S. embassy or consulate determines if an Exchange Visitor is subject to the 212(e) rule. The U. S. Consulate officer will make a preliminary endorsement in the lower left corner of your DS-2019 form if you are subject to 212(e).  The U. S. Department of State reserves the right to make the final determination regarding 212(e).

Those who are subject to the 212(e) rule must return to their home country, or last country of residence, and reside in that country for two years before they become eligible for H, L, or permanent resident status in the United States, and they are are not permitted to change their nonimmigrant status within the U.S. from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (international organization) statuses. Marriage to a U. S. citizen or legal permanent resident or birth of a child in the U. S. does not remove this requirement. 

Exchange Visitors may be subject to this requirement if their skill category appears on the applicable country’s “list of skills” that are in critical demand (listings of skill categories for applicable countries are located in the Federal Register) and/or the Exchange Visitor's program is supported financially by a government or international agency.

A waiver of the two-year home-country physical-presence requirement is possible. Waivers are permitted by the DoS and granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).