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.

Eligibility
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 J 1 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 Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for Program Extension Form.
  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.

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Change in educational level at the same school
A change of educational level means completing one academic program and beginning another at the same U.S. institution. Examples of this are Intensive English Program to Bachelor's or Master's Degree; Bachelor's Degree to Master's Degree; Master's Degree to Ph.D. Degree; Bachelor's Degree to second Bachelor's Degree.
Some departments have degree sequences, which are not clearly defined. For example, the Master's Degree and Ph.D. Degree might be academically combined. However, for immigration purposes each of these degrees must be considered separate programs and treated as a change of level.

Procedures
In order to apply for a change of educational level, you must qualify for a new Form DS-2019 to pursue the new educational level, and you must be in valid J-1 status at the time of application. You must request change of educational level before the end of your current program and follow proper procedures for requesting a new SEVIS DS-2019. If the University of Miami is your J-1 program sponsor, these are the procedures you must follow:
  1. You must be admitted to the new educational level by the University of Miami's Office of International Admission.
  2. After you have been accepted for your new degree, International Admission will forward your documents to ISSS to be processed.
  3. ISSS will ask you to provide your current Form I-94 in order to verify that you are currently in valid J-1 status.
  4. Once your J-1 status has been verified, ISSS will process your change of educational level in SEVIS and issue your new SEVIS Form DS-2019 for your new educational level.
If your J-1 program sponsor is an entity other than the University of Miami such as Fulbright, LASPAU or AMIDEAST, and your J-1 program sponsor will continue to sponsor you as a participant in their J-1 program while you pursue the next educational level, these are the procedures you must follow:
  1. You must be admitted to the new educational level by the University of Miami's Office of International Admission.
  2. If you are moving from Intensive English to a Bachelor's Program: After you have been accepted for your new degree program, International Admission will notify you or your J-1 program sponsor of your acceptance, depending on whether you or your J-1 program sponsor submitted the application for the new educational level. If you are moving from Intensive English to a Master's or Ph.D. Program or from a Bachelor's to a Master's or Ph.D. program: After you have been accepted for your new degree, your academic department will notify you or your J-1 program sponsor of your acceptance, depending on whether you or your J-1 program sponsor submitted the application for the new educational level.
  3. Your J-1 program sponsor will process your change of educational level in SEVIS and issue your new SEVIS Form DS-2019 for your new educational level.
Failure to comply
If you fail to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State of your educational level change through your J-1 program sponsor before the end of your current program, you are considered to be out-of-status. Being out-of-status makes you liable to deportation, and ineligible for any type of employment.

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Transferring from one school to another
A school transfer means changing from one academic institution in the U.S. to another for the purpose of completing a current or starting a new degree. For example, you would require a school transfer if you had been a full-time student at Miami-Dade College in the spring semester and wanted to be a full-time student at University of Miami beginning in the fall semester.

Please note: As a J-1 student, you are eligible for concurrent enrollment at a second institution without requiring a transfer to this school as long as the enrollment in both schools amounts to a full course of study, and you are registered at the institution listed as your primary site of activity of your Form DS-2019. Courses at the second institution may be taken during Fall, Spring, or Summer sessions.

Eligibility Requirements
A J-1 student who is maintaining his/her J-1 status may transfer to another school by following the transfer procedure outlined below. However, if a student has not pursued a full course load (i.e., a minimum of 12 credits for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduates during spring and fall semesters) at the school last authorized to attend or is otherwise not eligible to transfer, he/she is considered to be out-of-status and must apply for reinstatement to J-1 status through International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), or he/she must depart the U.S. and reenter in J-1 status. Please consult with your ISSS Advisor for further information on reinstatement to J-1 status.

School Transfer Procedure from U.S. Academic Institution to UM
In order to transfer in to UM, you must inform your International Student Advisor at your current school and your J-1 program sponsor (in case they are different) of your intention to transfer to UM, and if you are admitted to the University of Miami, obtain a new Form DS-2019 from your J-1 program sponsor that lists the University of Miami as your primary site of activity.
Whether or not you exit the U.S. and use your Form DS-2019 listing the University of Miami as your primary site of activity to reenter the U.S. between transferring from your previous school to the University of Miami, you are required to bring your Form DS-2019, passport, and Form I-94 to ISSS within 15 days of your date of arrival at the University of Miami.

School Transfer Procedure from UM to U.S. Academic Institution
In order to transfer out of UM, you must use the School Transfer Out Form for Students in J-1 Status to notify ISSS of your intent to transfer. Upon receipt of this form, along with your original Form I-94, if the University of Miami is your J-1 program sponsor, we will update your SEVIS record, thereby giving the new school access to your record. If the University of Miami is not your J-1 program sponsor, then you will need to inform your J-1 program sponsor of your intent to transfer so that your J-1 program sponsor can update your SEVIS record.
You may be applying to many schools, but your SEVIS record can only be transferred to ONE J-1 program sponsor. Once we transfer your record out, we CANNOT retrieve it after the release date, and you will have to contact the J-1 program sponsor you requested that it be transferred to. Your transfer release date will be the end of the current semester unless otherwise requested, provided you have a valid reason.
If you are transferring from the University of Miami's J-1 program to another J-1 program, the new J-1 program sponsor cannot issue you a new Form DS-2019 until the record is transferred.

Failure to Comply
If you fail to contact ISSS regarding your school transfer within the required time limit, you are considered to be out-of-status. Being out-of-status renders you ineligible for any type of employment and makes you liable to deportation.

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