J-1 Scholars FAQs

J-1 Scholar Sponsorship

Yes, all J-1 exchange visitors are required to maintain sufficient health insurance.  Health insurance requirements can be found in the Exchange Visitor Welcome Brochure.
Insurance purchased in your home country will usually not be sufficient. The Office of International Student Services recommends that students buy insurance through Insurance for Students, Inc.  This plan meets all the requirements set by the Office of International Student Services.
Contact the Office of International Student Services and fill out a Request for a Replacement I-20 or DS-2019.
If additional time is needed to complete the program objectives, sponsoring departments should write a letter requesting an extension of the J-1 scholar’s program.  This letter of extension should include a specific dates of program participation.  If the scholar is a Marshall employee, the letter should also include the amount of salary for proof of financial support.  Proof of financial support is $18,000 per year for the J-1 scholar.  If the J-1 scholar has J-2 dependents in the United States, we must also see proof of financial support for each dependent.  See the Preparing Financial Documentation handout for more information.
In order to transfer to another university or program sponsor, scholars must receive an official offer and contact an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) at that school.  Some universities and program sponsors require a Transfer Release Form to be completed by an ARO at the previous school.  If you are transferring to a program that requires this form, please be sure to complete the scholar section of the form and submit to the Office of International Student Services at Marshall University.  The Transfer Release Form will be completed by an ARO in the Office of International Student Services and submitted directly to the new program sponsor.  Once you are ready to transfer, you should submit the letter and a completed Transfer Out Form to the Office of International Students Services to request the transfer of your SEVIS record.
You must maintain a valid passport at all times. It is your responsibility to contact your embassy or consulate to have your passport renewed.

Travel Questions

If you are planning on traveling outside the United States, you will need the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:

  • A passport valid for 6 months beyond your date of entry
  • A valid  J-1 entry visa
  • Current DS-2019 with valid travel signature
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover living expenses
You can travel to Mexico, Canada, or an island adjacent (except Cuba) to the United States for less than 30 days with an expired visa and re-enter the U.S. through automatic visa revalidation. You MUST see an ARO prior to traveling.
It is permissible to be in the United States with an expired visa; however, you must have a valid visa to re-enter the United States.
You will need to contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country for a complete list of requirements, but you will definitely need the following: your current DS-2019, a current financial statement, and a passport valid for at least 6 months.

Other Questions

You will need to notify the Office of International Student Services within 10 days of moving to a new address so we can update your information in SEVIS. Please fill out a Request to Update Personal Information.
You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) you have been offered a job.  An application for a SSN can be submitted to the Social Security Administration as early as 30 days prior to the start of the position.
First, you must have a job or an offer of a job. You will need to bring a letter from your employer stating your job description, location of employment, and number of hours you will work per week. Additionally, you must submit an SSN Status Verification Letter Request Form. The Office of International Student Services will provide you a status verification letter to submit with your SSN application.  For more information, view the SSN Information handout.

J-1 scholars are eligible to apply for a WV driver’s license. You will need a letter issued by an ARO stating you are currently a scholar at Marshall University. To request a letter, you must fill out the Status Verification Letter Request Form. If you are applying for a driver’s license, you will need to take a written exam and will also need to complete a driving test.

For more information, please go to http://local.dmv.org/west-virginia/cabell-county/huntington/dmv-office-locations.php.

J-2 Dependent Questions

If you are living in Cabell County, check this website: https://www.cabellschools.com
If you are living in Wayne County, check this website: http://boe.wayn.k12.wv.us

J-2 dependents may study in the U.S., full- or part-time, but the duration of their stay is dependent on the J-1 scholar’s period of stay. Dependents should weigh the benefits of changing their status to F-1 versus remaining in J-2 status. J-2 dependents are not subject to the F-1 requirements to pursue a full course of study, but there are NOT eligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment and practical training.

To accept employment or receive compensation from any U.S. source, J-2 dependents must apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) by filing Form I-765.

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