Maintaining J-1 Status

When participating in the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, Exchange Visitors must take action to maintain their status in accordance with program rules at all times. This section explains what actions are needed throughout a visitor’s program.


In compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Exchange Visitors are required to have a valid address, email, and phone number during their studies/research in the U.S. DHS may terminate the EV’s immigration status automatically if they do not keep their information up-to-date. To update your information within 10 days of any change, log into Banner Self-Service from and update your address there. This information will filter over to the ISSO’s systems. More information can be found on the UNC Charlotte Human Resource website as well.


As noted in our section, “Once in the U.S.A.,” all Exchange Visitors and dependents must have health insurance for the duration of the Exchange Visitor program. Any exchange visitor who willfully refuses to comply with this requirement shall be considered to be in violation of his/her exchange visitor status. The program sponsor is obligated to inform the United States Department of State of the exchange visitor’s noncompliance.


All J-1 exchange visitors must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future. A passport is a basic travel document, a formal permit from your government to travel abroad and return to your country. It is also your primary form of identification outside your home country. Your passport can be renewed at your embassy in Washington D.C. or other designated consular office. For precise information about procedures and fees, you must contact the agency directly. If you lose your passport, you must apply for a new one through your embassy in Washington, D.C. or appropriate consular office.


Employment for Exchange Visitors is generally restricted and always requires advance ISSO review and approval. Eligibility and instructions for employment authorization will differ based on the J-1 visa category, but generally J-1 Research Scholars/Professors/Short-term Scholars/Specialists can work on campus in their research area and for their sponsoring Department. Other arrangements, including working for a different Department or off-campus as an occassional guest lecturer may be permitted by the J-1 visa regulations and with ISSO approval. Consult the ISSO for more information.


While most academic activity for most Exchange Visitors will occur on one of UNC Charlotte’s campuses (Main or Uptown), Exchange Visitors may occassionally need to work elsewhere. In these situations, Exchange Visitors are required to report all off-campus locations where program activity occurs to the ISSO. Examples of off-campus activities and alternate work sites include:

  • Field Work locations
  • Visiting research institutions
  • Visiting organizations
  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Meetings

Consult with the ISSO to see if a new Primary or Secondary Site of Activity needs to be added to your SEVIS record.


J-1 Exchange Visitors are allowed an additional 30-day grace period after the end date on their DS-2019 to prepare for their departure from the U.S. During this grace period, employment or study is not allowed. Upon departure of the U.S. within these 30 days, the J Visa status automatically expires and you will not be able to re-enter the country to reclaim the rest of your grace period time. Visitors who wish to extend their program, may, upon approval, be able to do so, depending their original program length and J-1 visa category. See next section for details.


J-1 Exchange Visitors may, depending on their original J-1 category and program length, be eligible to extend their program. Visitors who are interested in an extended program should contact the ISSO.


Exchange Visitors currently sponsored by another university may be eligible to transfer their SEVIS record to UNC Charlotte if offered a position here, and if the research objective is substantially similar to the previous objective. Other restrictions may apply. Similarly, UNC Charlotte may be able to release an Exchange Visitor’s record to another university. Speak with an ISSO staff member about this if you are considering teaching or conducting research at another university.