Immigration Rights and Responsibilities

This information is specific to J-1 Exchange Visitors in the program categories of research scholar, professor or short-term scholar.  It is designed to provide you with a basic overview of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program regulations as defined by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and to help you understand your responsibilities for maintaining lawful immigration status as an exchange visitor.


It is your responsibility to comply with all J-1 immigration regulations and to maintain lawful immigration status in the U.S. Failure to do so will nullify your visa and your permission to remain in the country. Remaining in the U.S. beyond your date of authorized stay (plus grace period, if applicable) could subject you to a bar from re-entering the U.S. for a period of up to 10 years. In addition, violating the terms and conditions of your immigration status might prevent you from obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. at any U.S. Consulate other than the one in your home country.

Employment in the U.S.

You are only permitted to be employed or receive compensation for services performed by your program sponsor and you are only permitted to perform services (or "work") until the expiration date listed on the Form DS-2019.

If you are asked to perform services (for example, earn an "honorarium") by another academic institution or organization on a short-term basis, and if the services you will perform are directly related to your program objective, you must apply to your program sponsor for permission before you accept the offer.  You will need to provide a letter from the outside institution describing the nature of your work, as well as a letter from your UNH supervisor indicating how you will benefit from this particular activity.  If you accept payment for services without obtaining advance permission from your program sponsor, you will violate your immigration status.

Length of Time You May Remain in the U.S.

You have the right to remain in the U.S. to complete your program objective if you adhere to all regulations of your J-1 status.

You may be able to extend your J-1 status.  The request for extension must come from your host department.  Providing you submit all of the necessary documentation requested by your program sponsor, have not exceeded the maximum allowable stay for your program category and have maintained lawful J-1 immigration status, you will be considered eligible to receive an extension.


Within the United States: You have the right to travel freely within the U.S. provided you maintain your legal J-1 status.  Carry your passport and immigration documents with you.

Outside the United States, returning to the same program sponsor: In order to avoid problems re-entering the country, consult with OISS before you leave the U.S.  You will need to have your Form DS-2019 signed for travel.  You may also need to obtain a new U.S. visa.

Outside the United States, returning to a different program sponsor: You must consult with OISS in advance about your proposed travel and transfer to a new program sponsor.  If the transfer is permissible, you must obtain a new Form DS-2019 from the new program sponsor to which you will transfer before you attempt to re-enter the U.S.

Completion of Program

Once you have completed your program, you are allowed a 30 day grace period.  The grace period is a time within which you can settle your affairs before departing the U.S.  No working is allowed during this grace period.  If you complete your program early, please notify OISS.

Transfer to a Different Program Sponsor

You may be able to transfer from your present program sponsor to a different program sponsor provided you qualify and follow certain procedures.  You must consult with OISS and notify them if you are considering a transfer.  OISS will need to transfer your SEVIS (DS-2019) record to your new program sponsor.