International Student and Scholar Services

Maintain Status as a J-1 Exchange Visitor

St. Cloud State University welcomes international scholars as a key element in its mission to bring the world to its students and to prepare its students for the world.

Maintaining Lawful J-1 Status

All J-1 Exchange Visitors present in the United States are required to follow specific rules established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) in order to maintain legal U.S. immigration status.

Maintain Your Program Objective

Your DS-2019 was issued based on a specific academic objective agreed upon between you and your sponsoring department.  DOS requires that this objective be maintained throughout your stay in J-1 status. If you plan to change your objective in any way (including a change in faculty sponsor, change of lab, change of department, etc.) you must contact the Center for International Studies in order to ensure that the change is permitted.

Maintain a Valid DS-2019

Do not allow your DS-2019 Program End Date to expire. If you will need additional time to complete your program objective, please speak with your sponsoring department and the Center for International Studies. 

Keep Your Local Address Updated

You are required to update your address with the Center for International Studies within 10 days of moving.

Please send an email to to notify us of any changes.

Early Completion of Program Objective

If you are planning to complete your J-1 Exchange Visitor Program prior to the program end date on your DS-2019, contact the Center for International Studies for next steps.

Grace Period

At the end of the Program End Date listed on the DS-2019, the J-1 Exchange Visitor may remain in the United States up to 30 days.

During this 30 day grace period, the J-1 Exchange Visitor may remain in the United States and prepare to leave. It is not permissible to work during the grace period.

Once the J-1 Exchange Visitor exits the U.S. after the Program End Date listed on the DS-2019, the individual may not re-enter.

Health Insurance

You and any accompanying dependents are required to maintain health insurance for the entire period of your stay in the United States.

For more information about the health insurance policy at St. Cloud State University, please click here.

For information regarding the health insurance benefits, account information, and policy details, please click here.

Occasional Lectures and Consultations

J-1 exchange visitors may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations as long as they are approved in advance and in writing by the Center for International Studies.

  • An Addendum to Site Activity must be received by the Center for International Studies at least 10 business days before the activity.
  • Any lectures and consultations must:
    • Be directly related to the objectives of your J-1 Exchange Visitor Program;
    • Be incidental to your primary program activities; and
    • Not delay the completion date of your J-1 program.
  • Failure to obtain advance authorization may have negative implications on your immigration status.


Documents required for travel outside the U.S.
  • Passport valid 6 months into the future
  • Valid DS-2019 with travel validation (travel signature)
  • Valid J-1 visa
Travel procedures to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands
  • A valid U.S. entry visa is not required if you travel to a contiguous territory (Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands excluding Cuba) for less than 30 days.
  • If a person in J-1 Exchange Visitor status enters the U.S. from the contiguous territories within 30 days, the entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of re-entry provided the entry visa has not been canceled or voided.  This is called automatic visa revalidation. If you plan to use this procedure, do not surrender your valid I-94 card to immigration officials when leaving the United States.
  • Note: Citizens of Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba are NOT eligible for automatic visa revalidation. Also the automatic visa revalidation provision excludes aliens who applied for a U.S. entry visa in Canada or Mexico and whose visa application was denied.
  • Certain individuals require an entry visa before entering Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands. Please contact the appropriate consulate for information.
Travel procedures to all other countries
  • To travel to any other country you should have a valid, unexpired J-1 visa in your passport (Canadians excluded).
  • If you do not, you must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy abroad. You should also have a letter from your department confirming your employment. Please let the Center for International Studies know that you are planning to travel at least a month in advance so that we can endorse your DS-2019 for travel.
Obtaining or renewing a J-1 visa in your home country
  • Check with the appropriate U.S. embassy for general information about visa services.
  • Follow the procedure you used when you obtained your previous visa(s) to enter the United States. Bring a current proof of financial support.
  • The required documents vary by country so please ask for a list of required documents at the U.S. Embassy in your home country before you leave the United States.
  • Due to security background checks, the processing of your visa may take a considerable amount of time.
Obtaining or renewing a J-1 Visa in Canada or Mexico
  • If you want to apply to obtain or renew your J-1 visa in Canada or Mexico rather than in your home country, you must make an appointment 2-3 weeks in advance. Schedule online at:
  • If your visa is denied, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. under automatic visa revalidation.

State and Federal Taxes

All J-1 Exchange Visitors must file both state and federal tax forms every year that they are in the U.S.

The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if U.S. money is earned, and June 15, if no U.S. money is earned.

For more information, click here.


Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement 212(e)

Some J-1 Exchange Visitors are subject to the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement INA 212(e).

If the J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to this requirement, the individual will have to return to their home country for two years at the end of their J-1 program.

J-1 Exchange Visitors may be subject to the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement if:

  • They received government funding, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, and for the purpose of exchange

The individual may NOT apply for a change of status to H, L, K, or Permanent Residency without completing the two-year residency requirement in their home country OR must obtain a waiver of this requirement.

The Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement INA 212(e) does not prevent the individual from returning to the U.S. under the visa categories B-1/B-2, F-1/F-2, or J-1.

For more information, click here.