The staff of International Student and Scholar Services greatly appreciates the many contributions you make to UWM and the greater Milwaukee community.
If you are being sponsored by UWM as a Visiting Scholar in J-1 status, you will need to consider how you will acquire J-1 status and also be aware of how to maintain J-1 status.
Acquiring J-1 Status
Consular Interview & J-1 Admission: a prospective J-1 may make an application for a J-1 visa and have a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Most J-1 visas are issued in under one week, but some visa applications undergo “administrative processing” which can take several weeks or longer. After a J-1 visa is granted, the prospective J-1 travels to the U.S. and applies for admission to the U.S. in J-1 status at a U.S. Port of Entry. The U.S. Department of State website provides detailed information and tools to assist with the process.
Change of Status to J-1: a prospective J-1 who is already in the U.S. in a different visa status may wish to apply for a change of status to J-1. The change of status petition is processed by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) while the petitioner waits in the U.S. rather than travels abroad. Change of status petitions can take several months and during that time it may be that the individual is not permitted to work.
Extension of J-1 status: J-1 program extensions are requested by the UWM sponsor. Departments submit the DS-2019 Request Form to CIE and CIE extends the J-1/J-2 program(s) through SEVIS. Visiting scholars and their dependents then receive DS-2019s with the new program end dates.
Transfer of J-1 status: some J-1 programs may be transferred from one sponsoring institution to another sponsoring institution. As long as there is time remaining in the maximum duration of a J-1 category and the program activities will remain the same, a J-1 exchange visitor is likely to be eligible to transfer. If you are transferring to UWM, your academic department will initiate the transfer by submitting a DS-2019 Request Form to CIE. If you are transferring from UWM, you may request J-1 program transfer from CIE (PDF).
Maintaining J-1 Status
In order to maintain your J-1 visa status you must:
- keep your immigration documents valid
- update your local residential address, email(s), phone number(s) with CIE
- pursue the research or teaching that is indicated on your DS-2019
- maintain the required levels of medical insurance for yourself and J-2 dependents for the duration of your J-1 program
- secure authorization from ISSS before accepting occasional lectures or consultations
- depart from the U.S. or apply for a change of visa status within 30 days from the end date of your DS-2019
If you have questions about your visa status, please do not hesitate to ask an international advisor during a walk-in advising time or an individual appointment. It is our pleasure to assist you with questions about your visa status so that you may focus on your research and teaching.
We aim to support you while you pursue your goals for research, teaching and cultural exchange. We are always happy to talk with you about your questions about your visa status, life at UWM, in Milwaukee and the U.S.
Know Your Rights
In the United States, laws protect all workers against abuse and discrimination. Click here to download a PDF with more information about the rights you have while working in the United States.