Program Extensions for J-1 Students

Extension of J-1 stay

When to extend
Your permission to stay in the United States ends on the expiration date of your Form 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 the date shown in item #3 of your Form DS-2019, "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J 1) Status."

Your J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)
To extend your permission to stay in the United States, you must first obtain a new Form DS-2019 from your J 1 Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO), who will need proof of your eligibility before issuing the Form. If your J 1 sponsor is the University of Miami (UM), apply at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). If your J 1 sponsor is an agency, and if you are uncertain how to reach your RO, your ISSS Advisor will help you find out.

You are eligible to apply for an extension of stay if you are either studying full time at the school named on your Form DS-2019 and making satisfactory academic progress and have adequate funding; or are about to complete your program of study and want to participate in Academic Training; or are currently participating in an authorized Academic Training program and, within the established time limits, need an extension to finish the program.
Government regulations do not limit the time you may take to finish your program of study as long as you are making academic progress, but you may be subject to limitations imposed by your school on the time allowed to complete your degree, and by your J 1 sponsor (if your sponsor is not UM) on the number of years you may spend in the United States.

Procedures to apply for Extension of Stay

  1. At least two months before your permission to stay expires, contact your J1 RO/ARO about an extension. Ask for forms and for instructions on how to proceed. Students whose J-1 sponsor is the University of Miami should complete the Extend Program Request for Students in F-1 and J-1 Status.
  2. Your J-1 RO/ARO will determine if have you maintained J-1 program status. If so, your RO/ARO will update your J-1 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record with the extended program information, including new end date and financial information. This must be done before the expiration of your current Form DS-2019. Your RO/ARO will print and sign the updated Form DS-2019. If you have J-2 dependents in the U.S., your RO/ARO will also print and sign updated Forms DS-2019 for your J-2 dependents.
  3. Your J-1 RO/ARO will give you the updated Form(s) DS-2019 for you to sign and retain. Once you have received your new Form DS-2019 from your J 1 RO/ARO, your extension of stay is completed.

Travel and Reentry to U.S. after Extension of Stay
After you have extended your stay inside the country, avoid a common mistake if you travel abroad. Do not assume that with an approved extension of stay you can reenter this country without an unexpired J 1 visa stamp in your passport (unless you are Canadian). If your J 1 visa stamp has expired, you have to apply at a consulate for a new one in order to reenter the United States as a J 1 student except if you see to reenter through a procedure referred to as "automatic revalidation of visa" described in the next paragraph.

"Automatic revalidation of visa" benefit: Under certain circumstances, you may reenter the US with an expired visa as though the visa were still valid. An expired J-1 visa may be considered to be automatically extended to the date of application for readmission to the US (and therefore the visa in the passport need not have an expiration date that is in the future), provided you do the following:

  1. Apply for readmission to US after an absence not exceeding 30 days in contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) or adjacent islands (Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea other than Cuba);
  2. Maintain lawful J-1 status and intend to continue doing so;
  3. Present a valid passport containing Form I-94 which authorizes a stay beyond the date of entry (e.g., D/S);
  4. Present a properly endorsed SEVIS Form DS-2019.

Under these circumstances, you may be saved the necessity of applying for a new J-1 visa even if your visa has expired. An exchange visitor whose visa has been canceled or voided is not eligible for automatic revalidation of visa benefit. Citizens of "state sponsors of terrorism" cannot take advantage of the automatic revalidation benefit. Any non-immigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory is not eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit during the course of that trip, but has to wait until the visa is granted in order to enter the U.S.

A Word of Caution
Extension of your permission to stay is your responsibility. If you forget the deadline and apply late, you risk denial. If you are employed and overlook the date, you will be working illegally. Since such mistakes can have serious consequences, you should make certain that you apply well in advance (two months time is recommended) if you need to extend your stay.