Admission to the Program

Those eligible to be appointed as Exchange Visitors are faculty, professors, researchers, and students who wish to pursue an academic program of study, academic research, coursework, and/or writing projects while in residence at Howard University.

In selecting applicants for Visiting Scholar status, Howard University considers the applicant’s qualifications, the strength of her or his past, current, and proposed research projects, the thematic connections to the work of the sponsoring department, and the ability of Howard's faculty and library resources to meet the applicant's research needs.  A working knowledge of spoken and written English is necessary. Applicants must also have the written commitment of a Howard University faculty member that she or he will serve as an advisor during the time of the residency.  Transfer to another program will not be considered.

Program Application
The Office of International Student Services is required by the Department of State to play a pivotal role in the selection of an Exchange Visitor.

Those wishing to apply should send, preferably by e-mail:

  • A completed application form, either the:
    • Visiting Scholar with J-1 Visa Support Application or
    • Visiting Scholar Application
  • A detailed Curriculum Vita
  • A research proposal that includes the importance of the project, relevance to the sponsoring department’s larger mission, and the applicant’s specific objectives while in residency at Howard University

Applications should also include hard copies on letterhead of:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Copies of degrees, certificates, licenses, and relevant documents
  • Written commitment by a Howard University faculty member of agreement to serve as advisor

Hard copy materials may be submitted to: Sponsoring Department
                                                            Howard University
                                                            2400 Sixth Street, N.W.
                                                            Washington, D.C.  20059

J-1 Students: How to Maintain Status

Download this as a handout here.

New Students MUST Check in at the OISS!

Newly Arriving International Students MUST check in to the OISS no later than 30 days after the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you do not check in at the OISS, you may lose your valid immigration status in the U.S.

To check in, come to the OISS at Room 119 Blackburn Bldg and bring photocopies of:

  • Your passport information,
  • I-94 card and
  • I-20 or DS-2019.

How to Maintain Your J-1 Immigration Status in the U.S.

(click here for F-1 student status requirements)

PLEASE NOTE: This information is primarily for J-1 students for whom the sponsoring agency is Howard University (holding a Howard DS-2019). If your DS-2019 was produced by another agency, you should be contacting that agency for immigration advice. If you are not currently in J student status but are considering changing to J student status, read our J student request information form.

To maintain your legal status in the United States as a J-1 student, you must remember these important requirements:

  1. Report to the OISS within 30 days of the DS-2019 start date
  2. Always enroll FULL-TIME during the academic year
  3. Update your local address within 10 days of moving
  4. Maintain the health insurance required for J-1 exchange visitors
  5. Keep your immigration documents VALID and CURRENT:
    - Apply for an EXTENSION at the OISS BEFORE the end date in Item 3 of your DS-2019
    - If you plan to transfer to another school, come in to the OISS to discuss the immigration status transfer.

  6. NEVER work off-campus without PRIOR authorization
  7. Notify the OISS when you leave the U.S. permanently or when you change your visa status.
  8. If you TRAVEL outside the United States, be SURE to have the proper re-entry documents

1. Report to the OISS Within 30 days of the DS-2019 Start Date
It is REQUIRED BY LAW that you come to the International Students and Scholars Office within the start date of your DS-2019 whether it is your first time in the U.S. or if you are transferring from another U.S. institution. The start date is listed in Item 3 of your DS-2019.

2. Always Enroll Full Time
J-1 students must maintain full-time student status each semester until they receive their degrees. For undergraduate students, full-time means you must register and complete at least 12 credits each semester; as a graduate student, you must simply be registered. There are some rare exceptions to this regulation however, please talk to the OISS staff BEFORE you drop below full time enrollment or take a leave of absence.

3. Update your Local Address
The immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the U.S. You must do this by updating your local address in "Just the Facts" AND notifying the OISS. You are required to use a physical residential address and not a PO Box or a Howard department address. As of December 2, 2003, "Special Registrants" who are in J status may also update addresses directly with the OISS and no longer have to fill out the Form AR-11SR.

4. Maintain the Required Health Insurance
The U.S. immigration regulations require that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents maintain a specified level of health and accident insurance. The minimum levels are:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains expenses in the amount of $7500
  • Medical evacuation expenses in the amount of $10,000 All of the above are covered by the Howard student health insurance plan (you do have to add any J-2 dependents to the plan or cover them by an equivalent health insurance plan).

5. Keep your Immigration Documents VALID and CURRENT
You should make photocopies of your immigration documents and keep the copies and originals in a safe place. Photocopy:

  • the passport pages with your personal information and picture
  • the passport page containing the U.S. visa stamp
  • both sides of your I-94 Form
  • your DS-2019
  • a) Keep your passport valid
    You should keep your passport valid for at least six months in to the future while you are studying in the U.S. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. You can find the contact information for your consulate at: http://travel.state.gov.
  • b) J-1 Extension
    The end date of your immigration status is written on your DS-2019 as the end date in item #3 (not the end date of your visa stamp). If you are unable to complete your course of study by that time, you must apply for an extension BEFORE the DS-2019 end date. You must file your program extension with the OISS or your own sponsor at least two months before it expires. Pick up an J-1 Program Extension packet from the OISS to begin the process.
  • c) Discuss Transfer Plans with an OISS advisor
    If you plan to transfer to or from another school or sponsoring agency, the OISS and your sponsoring agency will need to complete the immigration transfer procedure. Permission to transfer is granted only if the transfer contributes to the realization of the exchange visitor's original purpose in coming to the U.S. Come in to the OISS to discuss the transfer process.

6. Never Work Off-campus Without Prior Authorization
Employment opportunities for international students in the U.S. are restricted by law. In general there are two types of employment: on-campus and off-campus employment.

  • On-campus Employment: Enrolled J-1 students holding a DS-2019 from Howard University are permitted to work on campus for 20 hours per week during academic year and 40 hours per week during summer and winter breaks. If your DS-2019 was produced by another agency, that agency must give you permission to work on the Howard campus.

  • Off-campus Employment: Off-campus employment is any type of work or services performed in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit that is not on the Howard campus. An authorization letter is required BEFORE any off-campus work is allowed. The authorization letter must be written by the institution or agency who produced your DS-2019 (Howard or another agency). See the staff in the OISS for advice and assistance.

    Off-campus employment options for J-1 Students:

    Academic Training
    J-1 students in degree program are permitted an overall limit of 18 months academic training within their field of study. For postdoctoral training the overall limit is 36 months. Read more here.

    Economic Hardship
    If a J-1 student needs employment during the academic year due to financial hardship arising from unforeseen circumstances, the program sponsor may authorize it. Such employment cannot interfere with full-time pursuit of the exchange visitor's program objectives. Written permission from the program sponsor is required for on-campus as well as off-campus work.

7. Notify the OISS when you leave the U.S. or change visa status
When you finish your program and leave the U.S. permanently or change to another visa status (for instance if an employer plans to do an H1B visa application for you after you graduate), come to the OISS to notify us of your plans.

8. Traveling outside of the United States

Re-entering the U.S. after a Temporary Absence

To re-enter the U.S., you need to make sure you have all the required documents.

Traveling to Canada
Before traveling to Canada, come to the OISS or check the Canadian visa requirements here. Also note that you CAN re-enter the U.S. from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if you meet the criteria.

Renewing Your Visa Stamp
If you or your dependents need to renew your visas in order to re-enter the U.S., read the information here on what you will need to prepare for the consulate.

Other Immigration Issues

J-2 Dependents
An exchange visitor's spouse or child enters the U.S. in J-2 status and may stay for as long as the J-1 person is authorized to remain. For traveling and re-entering the U.S., J-2 dependents need all the same documents as the J-1 would need as outlined above including a DS-2019 that is produced with the J-2's biographical information.

J-2 Work Permission
A person in J-2 status may apply to the BCIS for permission to accept employment. Permission will be granted only if the employment is designed to support the spouse and child or children, not the J-1 exchange visitor. Pick up the application packet at the OISS. The processing time for work permit at the BCIS Service Center is approximately three months.

Understanding Your "Immigration Status"

Visa Stamp
The visa stamp in your passport was obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and is used for entering the U.S. The visa stamp functions as a key to enter the U.S. Once you are here in the U.S., you do not need to keep your visa stamp current. It is only when you are leaving the U.S. and need to return that you must be sure that you have a valid U.S. visa stamp to re-enter the U.S. [Note: Canadian citizens are not required to have a passport (if entering the U.S. from within the Western hemisphere) or visa stamp, but they must show their DS-2019 and proof of Canadian citizenship at the U.S. port of entry.]

J-1 Visa
A J-1 visa stamp is issued to a participant in an Exchange Visitor Program approved by the U.S. Information Agency. Participants can be in one of a variety of categories, including student, research scholar, and professor. The agency issuing the DS-2019 is called the sponsor.

Immigration Status
Immigration status is granted at the U.S. port of entry. You have J-1 student status. In most situations your visa type and immigration status are the same, unless you have changed your immigration status after entering the U.S. People in J-1 status who are subject to the "two-year home country residency requirement" may not change to any other non-immigrant status within the U.S. Exchange visitors who enter the U.S. in one exchange visitor category, such as "student," are rarely permitted to change to another category, such as "researcher."



J-1 Student Employment: Academic Training

Download Academic Training application packet here.

Please note that these instructions are intended for J-1 students on the Howard J program. If you are a J-1 student but your DS-2019 is issued by an agency or institution other than Howard, you must contact your program sponsor to gain authorization for academic training.

  • I. What is Academic Training?
  • II. Who May Engage in Academic Training?
  • III. Approval from your J-1 Responsible Officer
  • IV. Eligibility
  • V. Duration of Academic Training
  • VI. How to Apply
  • VI. Authorization to Work
  • VII. Social Security and Other Taxes
  • Never Work without PRIOR Authorization

I. What is Academic Training?

Academic training is a type of employment directly related to your major area of study that is authorized by your J-1 program sponsor who issues your DS-2019 form. It is designed for students to apply knowledge and skills learned at school.

II. Who May Engage in Academic Training?

All J-1 students in degree or non-degree programs may apply for academic training either during the course of study or after completion of studies. Students may work part-time while school is in session and full-time during the summer and winter breaks.

III. Approval from your J-1 Responsible Officer

To qualify for "academic training," you must first obtain approval in writing from the OISS. If your J-1 sponsor is another agency, and if you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 Responsible Officer, the staff at the OISS can help you find out, but has no authority to grant employment permission.

IV. Eligibility

  1. You must be in good academic standing at the school named on your Form DS-2019.
  2. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  3. Throughout your "Academic Training" you must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.
  4. You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your Academic Training.

V. Duration of Academic Training

  1. Your employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time is approved by both your academic adviser and your Responsible Officer. It may not exceed the amount of time it took for you to complete your full course of study, or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you receive a Ph.D., however, your post-doctoral training may last as long as 36 months, provided you have a postdoctoral position in an academic institution.
  2. Part-time employment for "Academic Training" counts against the 18 or 36 month limit the same as full-time employment.
  3. You may have only one opportunity for Academic Training regardless how many degrees you receive.
  4. Academic Training before completion of studies will be deducted from the total 18 or 36 months.

VI. How to Apply

  1. You must apply for Academic Training before the ending date on your DS-2019.
  2. A job offer letter from your prospective employer that includes: job title, a brief description of the "goals and objectives" of your "training program" (your employment), the dates and location of the employment, the number of hours per week, salary, and the name and address of your "training supervisor" (the quotations come from the regulations). Make sure that your employer's letter includes all of these details. (See the sample job offer letter
  3. in the academic training application packet.
  4. Academic advisors recommendation. Give a copy of your employer's letter to your academic adviser for use in completing the advisor's recommendation form which is in the academic training application packet..
  5. Bring the job offer letter and the advisor's recommendation form to the OISS. The OISS advisor will write you a letter authorizing the academic training. The OISS may also issue you a new DS-2019 form extended for your academic training, for no more than 18 months at a time.

VI. Authorization to Work

A Social Security Number. To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. Take your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), I-94 Departure Record card, the pink copy of your Form DS-2019, and a letter at the OISS to an office of the Social Security Administration.

Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. When you begin work, you and your employer must complete Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and work authorization according to directions on the back of the Form. Of the various items acceptable as documentation, you may find that the most convenient combination is your passport (or other photo-bearing identification if you are Canadian), I-94 Departure Record card, the pink copy of Form DS-2019, and your J-1 Responsible Officer's written work authorization. Your employer, who keeps Form I-9, will make copies of the documents you submit, and return the originals to you. Form I-9 must be updated any time that you receive a renewal of your permission for "Academic Training."

VII. Social Security and Other Taxes

Social Security taxes. In general, as a J-1 student, you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes. See Internal Revenue Service Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens."

Federal, state and local taxes. Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your earnings as a J-1 will be subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. By April 15 of each year you must file a federal income tax return covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or have a refund coming.

Never Work without PRIOR Authorization

As a J-1 student, you may be eligible for employment opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status. Remember that before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult your J-1 Responsible Officer, whose written approval is necessary in advance.