New and continuing J-1 Students
NEW J-1 STUDENT
- Becoming Sponsored
Students wishing to come to the U.S. on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa need to be sponsored through an organization that is registered with the USIA (United States Information Agency) Exchange Visitor program. Most of our J-1 students are sponsored through the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Andrews University itself is not part of the Exchange Visitor program, and thus does not sponsor students. It is therefore essential to contact a sponsoring organization in advance, to secure their willingness to sponsor you. [Back to top]
- Getting Academic Acceptance
Click here for information about obtaining academic acceptance.
After you obtain a sponsor and are academically accepted, the sponsoring organization (for example, the General Conference of SDAs) will issue the DS-2019 form for you. [Back to top]
A $180 SEVIS fee is required of all international students including citizens of Canada. You may pay the SEVIS fee online at: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp. Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, you will receive a receipt which you should print and be prepared to present at the American Consulate as you apply for a student J1 and J2 (for dependents if applicable) visa (citizens of Canada must present the SEVIS receipt at the border). [Back to top]
(except Canadian citizens)
Step 1 – Request an Interview.
Request and secure a date for an interview with an officer at the American Consulate in your country.
Step 2 – Present Proper Documents at Interview.
Take the following documents with you to the interview:
A legal passport valid for at least six months (preferably 4-5 years).
Your original DS-2019 form.
The $180 SEVIS receipt.
American Consulates normally demand financial documentation as evidence that you are able to support yourself financially while studying in the U.S.
You must also present documentation of strong ties that require you to return to your home country after completing studies.
Contact the local U.S. consulate to inquire if any additional documents are required as this may vary from country to country.
Step 3 - Obtain Your Visa and Come to Andrews.
After receiving your visa, you are ready to come to Andrews University. The earliest date you may come is indicated on the visa you receive. Also, make sure you do not come later than the reporting date stated on your DS-2019.
All International students are required to attend the new International Student Orientation that takes place one week before classes begin. [Back to top]
An international airport in the U.S. is the port of entry to most international students (except students from Canada). Before you pick up your luggage, an immigration officer will check your documents (passport, visa and DS-2019). The I-94 form is no longer given to you in paper form. Your arrival information is now recorded by the Customs and Border patrol officer at the port of your arrival. You have access to this information online at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. You are required to print a copy of this "I-94 admission record" to be presented to our office along with your DS 2019 and passport/s. After examining your documents the officer will stamp all your documents including your DS-2019 and your passport. The Officer must return all these documents to you because they are your personal property and should be kept safely by you at all times. [Back to top]
Andrews University is located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, about 2 hours northeast of Chicago. If you lfy into Chicago-O'Hare or Midway Airports, you may take the Coach USA bus (www.coachusa.com) (just outside of the airport terminals) which brings you to the South Bend (Indiana) airport. If you do not have a friend to pick you up, you may arrange with the Transportation Department at Andrews University (firstname.lastname@example.org) for pick up (there is a charge). If you have any additional questions regarding this please contact the Office of International Student services and programs.
Note: If you wish to rent a car once in the U.S., you must present a valid driver's license at the time of service.
After your arrival at Andrews University, please come to the International Student Services Office in the Campus Center. We must make copies of your immigration documents (and family members, if applicable). If you have made prior arrangement for accomodation, please contact that individual or department to inform them of your approximate time of arrival and ask for where you should go to receive your keys for your place of accomodation.
You are required to attend an International Student Orientation that introduces you to important immigration rules and regulations, as well as to the different services that Andrews University offers. Subsequently, we will be able to report to SEVIS (the government system) that you have arrived and are in legal status. [Back to top]
NEW AND CONTINUING J VISA STUDENTS
Academic Training for J-1 Students
Academic training is the name the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program uses for employment training or practical experience related to your field of study. It is fairly flexible and offers a variety of paid and unpaid, full-time or part-time, training or employment situations, with one or more employers, to supplement your academic program in the U.S.
Academic training is available at any stage of your academic program, either while you are enrolled in school or after you complete your academic program, as long as you maintain valid J-1 status, follow the appropriate application and approval procedures, and stay within the stated time limits.
If you are considering academic training, your authorization must be processed before your official academic program completion date. In addition, the academic training/employment must begin within the first 30 days after the official academic program completion date.
Official Regulation: “A student may participate in academic training programs during his or her studies, without wages or other remuneration, with the approval of the academic dean or advisor and the Exchange Visitor Program Responsible Officer (RO or ARO). A student may be authorized to participate in academic training for wages or other remuneration during his or her studies or commencing not later than thirty (30) days after completion of his or her studies.” (Source: 22CFR. § 62.23(f)(2)).
You are eligible for academic training if all of the following criteria are met:
You are in the U.S. primarily for study in a full-time academic program.
You are in good academic standing at your educational institution.
You must apply before the completion of your academic program.
You are participating in academic training that is directly related to your major field of study.
Your employment/training must take place with the specific employer or employers who are noted on the academic training authorization letter.
You must receive an authorization letter, in advance, for the duration and type of academic training, from a responsible officer (RO)or alternate responsible officer (ARO).This authorization must be processed before the end date on the Form DS-2019 or before the official date of the degree program completion, whichever comes first.
You have a valid Form DS-2019 that enables you to remain in the U.S. in J-1 student status. You must apply for extensions as needed and in a timely manner.
Length of Academic Training
Students who complete a degree program are permitted an overall academic training period of 18 months. This includes all academic training, whether before or after completion of studies. Source: 22CFR § 514.23(f)(4)
The total employment/training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in full course of study. For example, if you are a Masters student who completed a program in 12 months, you are only eligible for 12 months of academic training.
Completing more than one degree program at the same time does not increase your academic training period.
Any pre-completion academic training period is deducted from your total allowable academic training period when calculating post-completion academic training.
Exceptions to the 18-Month Period Limit
There are exceptions to the 18-month time limit, if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
Your degree program requires a training period longer than 18 months.
After completing a Ph.D. program, you are eligible for an additional 18 months of post-doctoral training, for a total of 36 months of academic training.
A period spent in part-time employment under academic training will count as full-time academic training and will be deducted from the 18 or 36 months of post completion academic training.
How to Apply for Academic Training
Have a formal employment offer, written on official stationery (letterhead) from your potential academic training employer. The job offer letter from your employer must include:
Your job title
A brief description of the goals and objectives of your training or employment
Dates and location of training or employment
Number of hours per week, salary and benefits
Name and title of your training supervisor
Obtain a letter of recommendation pdf icon from your academic advisor or dean recommending this academic training. You will need to provide him/her with a copy of your employment offer letter. The recommendation letter from your academic advisor or dean must include:
The goals and objectives of the specific training program
A description of the training program, including all the information listed above
How the training relates to your major field of study
Why this employment is an integral or critical part of your academic program
The length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the academic training
Complete an Academic Training Request Form (coming soon).
Schedule an appointment with the Director of International Student servises and programs. Please bring the following documents with you to your appointment:
Completed Academic Training Request Form (coming soon)
Employment offer letter
Letter of recommendation from your academic advisor or dean
Copies of your current and all previous Forms DS-2019
A copy of your passport biographical data page and visa page
A copy of your Form I-94 (or printed electronic copy)
Unofficial transcript from IVue
Proof of funding to show how you will support yourself during your academic training (if your academic training is unpaid)
Upon approval of your application, we will issue a new Form DS-2019 authorizing the academic training for the duration you requested. Your employer will be listed on the academic training authorization letter accompanying the new Form DS-2019. The end date on this form is now the end date of your J-1 program. You must apply for an extension of your academic training in a timely manner if you are eligible to and wish to extend your J-1 program beyond that date.
Travel Outside the U.S.
If you intend to leave the U.S. after you complete your program of study you must obtain academic training authorization from the Office of International Student services and programs (ISSP) before you leave. If you do not receive this authorization, you may lose your eligibility for academic training.
Other important information pertaining to J-1 and J-2 (if applicable)
The J-1 exchange visitor needs to provide employment information (name, address and telephone number of your employer - if you are employed). The same information is also required for J-2's. Please include the information of the start and end dates of your employment as well. You are also required to provide a copy of your health insurance information to the Office of International student services and programs for each semester that you are enrolled as a student. This information needs to be provided for J-1 and J2 dependents (if applicable).
J-1 Exchange Visitors - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the 2 year rule or 212(e)?
Under specific circumstances, J-1 and J-2 status holders may incur a two-year home physical presence requirement. If one is subject to the rule, this means that he/she is not eligible to change to H, L or Permanent Residency (PR) classification without first returning to the home country for a total of 2 years. A waiver of this requirement can be applied for and obtained in specific circumstances. If the two year rule applies, changing status from J to another non-immigrant classification (such as F-1) in the United States is prohibited. Two year rule does NOT prohibit one from returning to the U.S. in any classification besides H, L, or PR.
What is the health insurance requirement?
All J-1 exchange visitors and accompanying J-2 dependents at the Andrews University are required to have health insurance coverage that meets the University's standards. You will be required to enroll in Health insurance program at the mandatory immigration check-in program or provide a health insurance waiver to the student insurance office at the employment department on the 2nd floor of the Administration building. In order for a waiver to be granted, your health insurance coverage must be proven to meet specific mandatory standards, so please bring a copy of the insurance policy with you to the U.S. and present it to the student insurance office for evaluation of its eligibility for waiver.
Am I required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee?
The Department of Homeland Security requires a fee of $180 for all new J-1 program applicants to cover the costs of the operation of the SEVIS program. If you are issued a new DS-2019 for “beginning a new program” you are required to pay I-901 SEVIS fee. Transfer, extension, or other updates to your original DS-2019 do not require you to pay SEVIS fee. You should print a copy of the receipt and carry it to visa interview and when traveling to U.S.
How do I “check-in” when I arrive to begin my program?
In order to maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 scholar or student must complete the Mandatory Check-In Process with the Office of International student services and programs.
How do I get a Social Security Number?
If you are going to be employed and do not already have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply through the Social Security Administration in Benton Harbor at this address: 455 Bond St Benton Harbor, MI 49022 and telephone number of: (877) 405-5457. Please check on their office hours before you go there as they have limited and irregular hours.
Can I get a driver's license?
State of Michigan Driver's License and State of Michigan Personal Identification Cards are issued by the Secretary of State. New changes have taken effect on January 22, 2008. Please refer to “Michigan Driver's License or State Identification Card” for detailed information about the new requirements.
I moved. How do I report my change of address?
How can my spouse/child under 21 join me in the U.S. as my J-2 dependent?
To obtain J-2 DS-2019 documents for your spouse and/or minor children under 21 years, please visit with the Director of International student services and programs and he discuss the necessary information with you in order for us to issue you a DS-2019 form(s) for your spouse/children to obtain J-2 status. Then, your family member will need to apply for and obtain the J-2 visa to enter U.S. (except Canadians) as your dependent. Your family will need official proof of your family ties, such as birth/marriage certificate.
How do I invite family members to visit?
Family members who are NOT children (under 21) or spouse of the J-1 exchange visitor should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa which allows eligibility to visit the United States temporarily for tourism or business purposes. Family members from certain countries may be eligible to travel to the U.S. for visits of up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa through the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program. It is recommended that you give your family members a letter of invitation to document the purpose of their visit. Refer to Family Visitors to the U.S. for an invitation letter template and more details on the visa application requirements.
Do you have listings of schools for my children to attend?
Yes, we do have an elementary, middle school and a high school right in Berrien Springs. You may contact these respective school for your child's enrollment for school. Michigan State Law requires that all children between the ages of six and sixteen attend a public, charter or private school accredited by the State of Michigan. Public schools and charter schools are free for all students.
How does my J-2 dependent apply for U.S. work authorization?
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for permission to work from Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. A J-2 dependent may begin employment only after receiving the approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS. For further guidance, refer to J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization or visit our office for assistance.
I'm planning on traveling outside the United States. What do I need to do to re-enter?
If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., you should check that your DS-2019 will not be expiring soon, and that the DS-2019 has a travel signature dated less than a year from your planned date of re-entry to the U.S. If you need to obtain a new travel signature, you should submit the DS-2019 Travel Signature request form with your original DS-2019. You must also bring your passport with you to our office when you submit your request. You should also make sure your passport is valid more than six months into the future on your re-entry date, and that your J-1 visa will still be valid for your re-entry.
How can I renew my J visa?
The U.S. visa (stamp or sticker in your passport) is a travel document which allows entry to the United States with a valid DS-2019. You only need to have a valid J visa when you are re-entering the U.S.; you may remain in the U.S. with your valid DS-2019. If you plan to travel and re-enter the U.S. from abroad after your visa has expired, you need to apply for a new visa before you re-enter. You can only apply for the visa outside the country at a U.S. Consulate.
What should I do if I need more time that my DS-2019 allows to finish my J program?
You may be eligible for an extension of your Form DS-2019 if you have not reached the maximum duration of your J category and have not applied for and received a waiver of the 2 year rule. Your sponsor needs to submit an extension request to this office on your behalf. For more information on program duration and extension you may contact email@example.com.
Am I allowed to work outside Andrews University?
In addition to employment at the University related to your J-1 objective, J-1 scholars and students may be eligible to be authorized for incidental employment directly related to the J-1 objective.
How can I to move/transfer my J-1 status to a new academic institution?
To request a transfer, you should submit our J-1 Transfer-Out Request Form following the instructions on the form. On your transfer release date, your SEVIS database record will be moved from Andrews University to your new institution. After that, your new school will be able to prepare an updated, “transfer” DS-2019 reflecting your new sponsorship. Once your SEVIS record has been transferred, you will no longer be affiliated with our institution from an immigration perspective, so you should no longer work here unless given authorization from your new sponsor.
What should I do if I'm finishing my J-1 program earlier than my DS-2019 ends?
If you are ending your participation more than one month before the end date of your current DS-2019, you are required to report leaving the U.S. to the Office of International Student services and programs by submitting our J-1 Exchange Visitor Departure Form. You may schedule an appointment to meet with the Director in this office if you have questions about your current or future visa status but it is not required. You should also visit our health insurance office (central campus office) if you are currently covered by the Andrews University's student health insurance plan, in order to sign a cancellation form and terminate your health insurance policy early.
Can I change status from J-1 to another classification in the U.S.?
Due to the home residency requirement and other regulations, changing your status might not be a simple procedure. You may wish to speak to an advisor before submitting an application.
How can I find assistance regarding taxes?
The office of international student services and programs is not authorized to give advice regarding taxes. Internal Revenue Service(IRS) is the U.S. department in charge of taxes; paper forms and information can be found on their site. GLACIER Tax Prep tax preparation software is available free of charge to any international scholar with Andrews University. Assistance is available via GLACIER Tax Prep online help (click on Online Help at the bottom of any screen) or by emailing the GLACIER Tax Prep Support Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have more questions. How can I meet with an advisor?
The Director for Office of International student services and programs is the designated individual that can assist with J visa statutes. Please make an appointment to visit with him if you need assistance regarding J visa matters.