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Understanding Your DS-2019 ds2019

 A DS-2019 is a “Certificate of Eligibility” for an Exchange Visitor Program demonstrating that an EV has the resources and education for a specific research or teaching program  in the U.S. for the length of time listed on the DS-2019. The DS-2019 is officially titled a "Certificate of Eligibility" because with it, you are "eligible" to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Your dependents will also need their own DS-2019 to obtain J-2 dependent status.

A DS-2019 itself does not grant you legal J-1 status. It is used along with your visa and passport to request legal status at a US port of entry, or for a change of status from another type of nonimmigrant visa status.

Once an application is submitted, your name and other biographic information are entered into a U.S. government database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. After the DS-2019 is created, a school official will sign the DS-2019, and then email to the host department for pick-up. If an update or edit is necessary, a school official will make the edit through SEVIS, and a new DS-2019 is produced.

A DS-2019 is used by an Exchange Visitor to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The DS-2019 must be presented along with your J-1 visa to Customs and Border Protection upon arrival at a U.S. port-of-entry to request admission to the US in J-1 status..

Once an EV has arrived in the U.S. and cleared by U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection, the DS-2019 will serve as proof of legal work authorization. For those exchange visitors who are eligible for employment, the DS-2019 will be provided to the employer as part of the hiring process.

If you plan to travel abroad with an intent to return to the U.S. to resume your EV program, you must re-enter with a valid DS-2019. The DS-2019 is also required to apply for a new visa, if you need one. Before your departure, make sure that you have an unexpired travel signature from an advisor on your DS-2019 (bottom right corner). This signature is valid for one year and allows multiple visits outside the U.S. or until the DS-2019 expires, whichever is first. In most cases, a travel validation can be completed in one business day; however, please plan ahead and request it several weeks before you depart the U.S. 

Some immigration regulations governing the Exchange Visitor program are listed on page 2 of the DS-2019 document. It is important that you read this page to understand the rules that apply to your stay in the U.S.

An "end date" was determined by your host department and listed on your DS-2019. If you are unable to finish your program based on that date, you must request an extension from ISSS BEFORE your DS-2019 expires. In all cases, proof of sufficient funds will be required to extend your stay in the U.S. For some, this documentation may take time to acquire and advance planning is highly encouraged. Please consult with an advisor in the ISSS office if you have any questions about your stay in the U.S. For procedures on Extension of Program, see the links below:

 After completing your program, you are allowed a 30-day grace period before you are required to depart the U.S. If you exit the U.S. during the grace period, you will not be able to re-enter the US from abroad on your J-1 visa. When departing during your grace period, you do not need to notify the ISSS office.

An exchange visitor is responsible for maintaining copies of all DS-2019s receives during their program. It is important to save all copies in a secure location, as you may be asked to present them when applying for future immigration benefits, a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement, or other applications. ISSS may not be able to provide signed copies of your DS-2019.
Last Updated: 3/10/20