Rice Unconventional Wisdom

Maintaining Status

Remember, maintaining your status is your responsibility. By signing your immigration documents, you have indicated that you agree to comply with the terms and conditions of your admission and those of any extension of stay. You also certify that all information provided on your immigration documents are true and correct to the best of your knowledge. You certify that you seek to enter or remain in the United States temporarily, solely for the purpose of completing the program at the institution indicated on your immigration documents.

Points to remember:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
  • Depart by the date indicated on your I-94. Do not overstay, be sure to request an extension if you will need to stay beyond the date indicated on your I-94.
  • Report a change of address within 10 days of the change by updating your address in ESTHER and submit your AR-11 to the address indicated on the form (J-1’s are directly reported via SEVIS).
  • Report any life event that may affect your immigration status such as birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce or death.
  • Report your program completion so that OISS may close your SEVIS record. Be sure to submit a Departure Form  
  • Do not engage in criminal activity.  

Specific points for J-1 Exchange Visitors

  • Special Regulations for J-1 Scholars  
  • Never work off-campus unless you have current work authorization from an OISS advisor or DHS (Department of Homeland Security). You must have a letter authorizing you to engage in incidental employment or consultations at other employers. All off-campus employment has a beginning and ending date. 
  • Make normal progress towards completing the program. You need to apply for an extension if you cannot complete your program before the completion date on your DS-2019. There is no extension allowed after the expiration date of the DS-2019, and you will have to apply for reinstatement with the Department of Homeland Security if you stay beyond the expiration date without an extension granted on time.
  • Keep Form DS-2019 current. Don’t let it expire and make sure all the information on your DS-2019 is accurate and valid. Obtain a new DS-2019 whenever any information has changed.
  • Obtain a travel endorsement on your DS-2019 from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) before traveling. The endorsement for travel should be done during the current semester. It is not necessary if you are returning home permanently. A DS-2019 is no longer valid for reentry once you complete the program listed on your DS-2019, even if it has not expired.
  • J-1 visa holders are granted a 30-day grace period to depart the US upon completion of their program as listed on their DS-2019. No work is allowed during the grace period.

Specific points for H-1Bs

  • H-1B Visas are employer-specific. Do not work at another employer unless you have obtained proper work authorization.