Skip to content

Understanding Your DS-2019 ds2019

The DS-2019 is the “Certificate of Eligibility” for J-1 Status indicating an Exchange Visitor (EV) has been accepted into a program and has demonstrated 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 the "Certificate of Eligibility" because with it, you are "eligible" to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. A dependent will also each need their own DS-2019 to obtain J-2 dependent status, if desired.

A DS-2019 itself does not grant legal J-1 status. It is used along with the J-1 visa and passport to request legal status at the U.S. port of entry, or for a change of status from another type of non-immigrant 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 U.S. 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 EVs 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 at least one week before you depart the U.S. 

Some immigration regulations governing the J-1 status are listed on page 2 of the DS-2019 document. It is important that Exchange Visitors read this page to understand the rules that apply to their 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 a J-1 Scholar Advisor in the ISSS office if you have any questions about your stay in the U.S. For procedures on Extension of Program, please see our DS-2019 Extension Policy Guide

 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 U.S. 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 received 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 212(e) two-year home residency requirement, or other applications. ISSS may not be able to provide signed copies of your past DS-2019s.
Last Updated: 6/2/21