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Start Date Changes for J-1 Exchange Visitors

Office of Global Learning

J-1 Exchange Visitors:

On March 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement indicating their plan to postpone their own J-1 exchange visitors for 60 days. Today, March 16, the Department of State recommended that program sponsors follow suit, and either cancel or defer start dates for initial J-1 records. Their recommendation to program sponsors is below:

  • Initial – The Department urges sponsors to either cancel the programs altogether or defer the start dates to a date past the current recommended 60-day suspension period and issue new DS2019s. These actions update SEVIS with the information to inform consular officers of what appropriate action to take.
  • Active – If the person is in the United States but must go home or is stuck outside of the country and cannot return because the visa is expired, sponsors can use the shorten program function. This ends the program in SEVIS preventing the exchange visitor from traveling until the sponsor is able to re-issue a new DS-2019 for travel purposes.
  • Sponsors may also keep an exchange visitor’s SEVIS record active until the exchange visitor is able to return to the United States to continue with his or her original program objectives. Exchange visitors should be mindful of the validity dates of their J-1 visas; they may need to renew their visas before they return to the United States.

Accordingly, we will be following the Department of State recommendation and deferring start dates for those exchange visitors who have not yet arrived in the US. The new program start date will be May 15, 2020 (unless you ask us to push the start date back further). We expect to defer start dates for 82 initial exchange visitor records on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Please let your faculty hosts know, and communicate this information to your incoming exchange visitors.

Please submit a correction request form if you would like to request a later start date, and/or new end date for your exchange visitor. We understand that this is a quick turnaround, but we are all responding as fast as we can to this rapidly changing environment. If you have an exchange visitor already in transit, please let us know. We do not want to defer a start date for someone already on their way to the U.S. border.

Laura Taylor
Senior Associate Director of International Services
Office of Global Learning