Maintaining Status

Requirements for Maintaining Status

Exchange Visitors must know and comply with the rules and regulations governing the DS-2019 as authorized by the Department of State. For more information, check the Department of States's Visa page.

Maintaining Status includes, but is not limited to:

  • You must have a valid DS-2019.
  • You must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date listed on your DS-2019.
  • You are required to maintain valid health insurance for you and your family.
  • Notify The International Center of any change of address within 10 days of your move, so that this information may be reported to SEVIS, the internet based tracking and monitoring system of international visitors to the U.S.
  • Participating in unauthorized employment is a violation of your program, and is grounds for termination of your program.
  • Failure to pursue the exchange activities for which you were admitted to the U.S. is grounds for termination.
  • Inability to continue the program is grounds for termination.

If you have further questions about maintaining status, please check with one of the advisor in the International Center at 801-581-8876.

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Two-Year Home Residency Requirement


In some cases, Exchange Visitors are subject to a two year home residency requirement. This means that you are required to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program before you can apply to return to the U.S. on an H Visa, L Visa or as a Permanent Resident.

You are subject to the two year home residency requirement if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • Government funded exchange program. You have been funded either directly or indirectly by your government or the U.S. Government.
  • Specialized knowledge or skill. You have a skill that your country has deemed necessary to the country's development as shown on the Exchange Visitors Skills List of 2009.
  • Graduate medical education or training. You have received graduate medical education or training.

Note: This regulation applies only to H Visa, L Visa or Permanent Residence. You may return to the U.S. on other visas without waiting two years.

Applying for a Waiver

You may apply to the Department of State to have the two year home residency requirement waived if you wish to apply for an H or L visa or Permanent Residency before you have completed the two year home residency requirement.

There are four ways to apply for a waiver:

  • Your home country has no objection.
  • If you have an American spouse or child and can prove an exceptional hardship on them to return to your country.
  • If you are sponsored by or of interest to an agency of the U.S. Government, that agency may apply for a waiver for you. The agency must show it would be in the public interest and detrimental to a program or activity of interest to that agency if you were required to fulfill your two year home residency requirement.
  • Prove you would be persecuted if you returned home on the basis of your race, religion or political actions.

If a waiver is approved, no more DS-2019 forms may be issued to you.


For instructions on how to apply for a waiver of the two year home residency requirement, go to the Department of State’s website and complete Form DS-3035 online.

We recommend you:

  • Check the Department of State web site often, as it is updated regularly.
  • Follow the instructions on the web site carefully.
  • Make copies of all your documents for your records before you mail them.
  • Mail your documents by certified mail, express mail, or overnight mail so you will have proof of when they were mailed.
  • Make sure the address you list on the form is valid.

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Two Year Bar For Professors and Research Scholars

A Professor or Researcher, in the U.S. on J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, who leaves the University, cannot return to the U.S. in the Professor or Researcher category for two years.

  • The Two-Year Bar applies to Professors or Research Scholars in J-1 Status and does not affect other categories of J Scholars.
  • The Two-Year Bar for Professors and Research Scholars is not to be confused with the Two-Year Home Stay regulation, which is a separate regulation and applies to all J Scholars.
  • This new regulations affects repeat participation for J Professors or Research Scholars who have been in a J program and leave the University.
  • Professors and Researchers are allowed to return before two years if they are in another J category such as short-term scholar.
  • This is an Department of State regulation, effective 12/06.

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Extension of Stay

An extension of stay is possible with the approval of your sponsoring department and The International Center. If approved, a new DS-2019 reflecting the extension will be issued.

  • Exchange Visitors in the Researcher or Professor category may be extended up to five years.
  • The Specialist and Student Intern categories may be extended up to one year.
  • The Short-term Scholar category is limited to six months with no extensions.

To request an extension of an Exchange Visitor's J-1 program, the sponsoring department needs to provide The International Center with the following information

  • A letter on department letterhead requesting an extension for the exchange visitor. A new end of program date within the maximum duration must be included in the letter.
  • Proof of funding must be provided. Proof of a minimum of $1100.00 per month is required by The International Center in order to issue a new DS-2019.
    • If your department is providing the funding, this information may be included in the request of extension of stay letter. Please prove the total amount for the duration of stay.
    • If you are receiving funding from another source, documentation of those funds must be attached to the extension request.

Please send the request letter and the proof of funding to:

University of Utah
The International Center
410 Olpin Union
200 S. Central Campus Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Or call the International Center at 801-581-8876 if you have any questions.

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