Visitor Responsibilities

Exchange visitors in the U.S. are responsible for knowing and abiding by all sponsor rules and federal regulations governing their exchange visitor program.  Please note the following rules and regulations.

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you must:
  • Enter the United States in J-1 status no more than 30-days prior to the Program Begin Date listed on Form DS-2019.
  • Report your and any J-2 dependents’ arrival in Grand Rapids.
  • Maintain an unexpired passport, unexpired Form DS-2019, and I-94 Arrival Record marked with “J-1” (or “J-2”) and “D/S” while in the United States.
  • Maintain medical insurance coverage for the duration of program participation for both you and your J-2 dependents.  Specific minimum coverage requirements apply.  See our Health Insurance page for full details. 
  • Report any change of address within 10 calendar days to Deirdre Griffin or Linda Zarzecki for reporting in SEVIS.
  • Perform research/training activities only at VARI or at other locations with pre-approval from VARI’s Human Resources (“HR”) Department.  With the exception of your Postdoctoral Fellowship at VARI, you may NOT work in the United States.
  • Obtain pre-authorization from VARI’s HR Department before performing short-term activitiessuch as lecturing, consulting, or conducting a seminar in your field at another institution (with or without pay).
  • Contact VARI’s HR Department at least 6 weeks prior to any international travel to obtain a Travel Validation Signature and support letter for your readmission into the United States.
  • Depart the United States no later than 30-days after the Program End Date listed on Form DS-2019.
 
Your exchange program participation may also make you and your J-2 dependents subject to the following regulatory restrictions which can affect your future U.S. immigration options:

12-month Bar on Repeat Participation in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories:

Any person who participates in an exchange visitor program in the U.S. lasting more than 6 months (and not in the Short Term Scholar category) is barred from beginning a new J-1 program in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a period of 12 months from their program completion date.  This applies to both J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors.

24-month Bar on Repeat Participation in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories:

Any person who participates in an exchange visitor program in the U.S. in the Research Scholar category is barred from beginning a new J-1 program in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a period of 24 months from their program completion date.  This applies to both J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors.

212(e) / Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement:

Some exchange visitors will be subject to this requirement (see below for conditions).  If subject, you and your J-2 family members will be ineligible to adjust non-immigrant status in the United States, receive a U.S. employment visa (H or L), receive a fiancé visa (K), or receive U.S. permanent residency until you have fulfilled ONE of the following requirements:

  • Obtain a waiver of 212(e) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, OR
  • Return to your home country and reside there for two years.

Exchange visitors will be subject to 212(e) if one of the following conditions is met:

  • Government funded exchange program – The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
  • Graduate medical education or training – The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training;
  • Specialized knowledge or skill – The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country, as shown on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.