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Maintaining Status

During your Fulbright program in the U.S., IIE will be ready to assist you whenever possible. Throughout the duration of your grant you will have specific reporting requirements. Your IIE Adviser will send you general instructions and announcements to remind you of these reporting requirements. You are expected to be aware of the information on your Fulbright grant documents (i.e. Terms of Appointment, Terms and Conditions, Special Conditions, etc.).

For information and advice about academic and campus matters, consult the advisers assigned to you on your campus, i.e. academic adviser and foreign student adviser. If you were not already assigned an academic adviser, please inquire about getting one through your academic department.

Checklist

As a J-1 exchange visitor on a Fulbright grant the following requirements must be met:

  • Address updates: You must report your U.S. address update within 10 days of moving. Under no circumstances should the address of your host institution be used as your residential address. When you update your address on the Fulbright website, you can indicate both your residential and mailing address if you want to receive post mail at an address different than where you reside. All address updates must go through the IIE Self Service Portal

  • Valid passport: You must always be in possession of a valid passport.

  • Full-time study: You must be pursuing full-time academic activities during routine semesters. At most universities full-time study is at least three courses or nine credits but this may vary from institution to institution.

  • Enrollment verification:
    • Enrolled Students: You are required to submit an official verification of enrollment to IIE through the IIE Self-Service Portal at the beginning of each term. You can obtain this document through the website of the Office of the Registrar at your institution. Visiting Researchers must submit a letter signed by their research supervisor, on university letterhead, confirming that they are engaged in full time research. It is strongly recommended that researchers use the Visiting Researcher Full-Time Engagement Form as a template for this letter.

      If your enrollment verification document confirms that you are enrolled full-time, you do not need to contact IIE. However, if your university allows the reduced enrollment, and your enrollment verification document states you are enrolled less than full-time, you need to submit a Request for Approval of Reduced Enrollment for Doctoral Students form to IIE. This form allows IIE to review your progress and ensure your reduced enrollment meets visa and grant requirements. You should submit this form prior to the start of each semester. Please contact your IIE Adviser to discuss any questions/concerns.

    • Visiting Researchers: Visiting Researchers must submit a letter signed by their research supervisor, on university letterhead, confirming that they are engaged in full time research. It is strongly recommended that researchers use the Visiting Researcher Full-Time Engagement Form as a template for this letter.
  • Arrival survey: Within six weeks of your arrival you will receive a message from your IIE Adviser asking you to complete the arrival survey. Complete the survey by the deadline provided. Do not complete the survey before receiving a message from your IIE Adviser.
  • Official transcript: You must submit an official transcript to IIE at the end of each semester. Your transcript should be submitted through the IIE Self Service Portal. Visiting Researchers must upload a completed Visiting Researcher Report.
  • Additional Surveys and Reports: You may be asked to complete additional surveys or reporting requirements as assigned by your IIE Adviser.

  • University Health Insurance Enrollment: If your Fulbright grant requires you to be enrolled in university health insurance you are expected to ensure that you are enrolled. Your Fulbright grant document will indicate if this is a requirement of your grant and paid by Fulbright.

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress: In general, satisfactory academic progress is defined as a 3.0 GPA or higher. If your GPA falls below this or you are placed on academic probation you must inform your IIE Adviser immediately.

  • Timely completion of courses: If you have any incomplete grades you are expected to report those to IIE and complete them within the following semester.

Additional Reporting Requirements

You must report the following changes/updates to your IIE Adviser via email:

  • Any important academic problems

  • Major changes in your personal status such as marriage, divorce, births

  • Name changes due to marriage, divorce, etc. within 10 days of making such a change

  • Health problems

  • Hospitalization

  • The arrival in the U.S. of any J-2 dependents

  • Any international travel (see the Travel section for more information)

  • Plans for departure from the U.S.

 

You must obtain IIE’s approval in advance for the following:

  • Employment authorization: See the Working in the U.S. section for more details.

  • Academic training: Academic training includes internships, practicums, and other employment related to your field of study. See the Working in the U.S. section for more details.

  • Enrolling in online courses: When planning your course schedule you should seek traditional in-person courses. However, if there are online courses required for your degree completion, contact your IIE Adviser to seek approval prior to making any arrangements to enroll. You are limited to one online course per term if approved by IIE.

  • Transferring to a different institution: If for compelling academic reasons you find it necessary to transfer to another institution, you must discuss the matter first with your academic advisor and your IIE Adviser. You must state the reasons you wish to transfer before taking any action and you may not proceed without IIE’s approval. When requesting admission to another institution, be sure to ascertain whether you will be granted full credit toward a degree for courses already taken. Otherwise, this may delay completion of your degree program. Seeking a transfer during the academic year is discouraged because there is almost, inevitably, some loss in time and academic credit. You should be aware that institutions generally grant admission and/or awards for the full academic year and many of them also have course sequences which make entry in the middle of the academic year difficult or impossible. If you have an award from your present academic institution, it is essential that you obtain a release from any obligations you may have to that institution. While you contemplate a possible transfer, you should also bear in mind that you may need to obtain alternate means of financial support and health insurance coverage.

  • Changing field of study: You may not change your major field of study without prior consultation and approval from both your academic adviser and IIE. Such changes are strongly discouraged and rarely approved. As IIE must consult with the official sponsors, the United States Department of State and your Fulbright Commission/Foundation /U.S. Embassy, a request for such a change must be submitted to IIE well in advance of the time a decision will be needed. Strong justification for the change must accompany the request.

  • Emergency departure from the U.S.: Contact your IIE Adviser and review the Travel section for more details.

  • Changes to full-time enrollment: In a limited number of situations reduced enrollment may be considered. Please contact your IIE Adviser for more information.

  • Study in a third country: As part of your exchange program you are expected to maximize the amount of time spent in the U.S. Before making any arrangements to conduct any portion of your program studies in a third country, you must first get in touch with your IIE Adviser to discuss the possibility of this. Careful consideration of this request has to be taken into account by the U.S. Department of State and your Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy. No Fulbright funds can be provided or used towards these activities.

Extension of Fulbright Sponsorship

Fulbrighters who are eligible for an extension of their Fulbright grant and/or extension of Fulbright funding will be contacted by IIE in early spring about this. Extension of Fulbright sponsorship and/or funding depends on Fulbright program policy and country-specific policies. In some cases, IIE must submit a grantee’s request to the U.S. Embassy or Binational Fulbright Commission/Foundation in the grantee’s home country for final approval. If the extension is approved, you will be notified directly by IIE and will also receive a DS-2019 form in support of permission to remain in the U.S.

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has set limits on Fulbright sponsorship at a maximum of three years for a Master's candidate and five years for a Ph.D. candidate, including time spent in academic training. Some individual Fulbright Commissions and Foundations abroad have established different maximum time limitations for their grantees. These range from 10 months to a maximum of five years. If you have questions about your length of stay, you should consult with your IIE Adviser.

As part of the extension process, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Current Passport Expiration Date - Confirm that your passport is valid for the upcoming year

  • SSN or ITIN number if you have received this

  • Anticipated completion date

  • Number of credits required for degree completion

  • Number of credits you will have completed at the end of spring 2014

  • Number of credits that you will complete in upcoming academic year (fall 2014 and spring 2015)

  • Summer Plans for 2014 – if taking classes, how many credits, or travel home or internship, etc.

  • For PhD students – status of your doctoral exams

  • Confirmation of outside funding – university scholarships, tuition waivers, RA/TA positions, personal funds contribution, etc.

  • If J-2 Dependents – prepare an updated J-2 Dependent Data Sheet and confirmation of J-2 funding via bank statements.

  • If required in your Fulbright Terms, proof of current university health insurance

  • Make sure that you have submitted your current Enrollment Verification and official transcript to Fulbright via the student portal website.

J-1 Important Terms
  • SEVIS Form DS-2019 (Certification of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor [J-1] Status) — Required for J-1 entry visa; also supports permission to stay in the United States for duration of period indicated while engaging in approved activities. DS-2019 must be valid throughout your stay in the United States
  • Visa - Entry permit stamp in passport; may expire while in the United States without penalty. There is no process to renew the J-1 entry visa in the United States either through the Department of State or any other U.S. Government agency. The entry visa does not need to be renewed unless the grantee plans to leave the United States and seek re-entry. An entry visa may be renewed by a Visa Issuing Officer at the American Embassy in your home country.
  • Duration of Status - Indicates that the exchange visitor is in status as long as his/her DS-2019 form is valid and s/he engages in authorized activities. At the U.S. port of entry, CBP should process an entry as "D/S" in the I-94 system and may also stamp the DS-2019 form and passport. If a note other than D/S. is indicated, you should contact IIE.
  • Valid Program Status - The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) Office of the United States Department of State considers an exchange visitor to be in "valid program status" only through the completion of approved J-1 activities, regardless of the end date of the DS-2019 form. EVP does not consider the thirty-day grace period as part of valid program status.
  • 30-Day Grace Period - Upon completion of approved J-1 activities (even if earlier than the end date of the DS-2019 form), the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) grants exchange visitors 30 days during which the only activities in which they may engage are travel within the United States and/or preparation for departure.
  • BCIS: Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
SEVIS

IIE, on behalf of your sponsor the U.S. Department of State, is responsible for sharing Exchange Visitor information with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The information currently shared through SEVIS is the immigration and academic status of international students, scholars, and their dependents nationwide. Arrivals and departures of international Exchange Visitors, address updates, enrollment status, academic training, employment, and other important related activities are reported through this website. This is also tracked by the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and other U.S. government agencies.

The data entered will reside in a central database maintained by USDHS. This information will be accessible by U.S. embassies abroad, schools in the U.S., and other U.S. government agencies. It is important to note that much of this information has always been available to the U.S. government, but not in a web-based format.

Occasionally, grantees have reported to IIE that they have been contacted by a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent for information about why they are in the United States. If you are contacted by an FBI agent, please do the following;

  • Notify your IIE Adviser and the international student office on your campus right away.
  • Do not give information over the phone as you will not be able to verify the identity of the person, with whom you are speaking.
  • Arrange to meet the FBI agent in the international student office. Insist that a foreign student advisor and/or college/university legal counsel is present for any interview that may take place.
  • Bring your passport, DS-2019, Fulbright grant documents and other pertinent documents.
  • Verify the identity of the agent by asking to see their identification.