International Student Services

Exchange Students - Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to have health insurance while enrolled at UW-River Falls?
All F-1 and J-1 visa holders and their dependents are required to purchase the Universtiy if Wisconsin System's comprehensive medical insurance plan. International Student Services, will enroll all F-1 and J-1 visa holders and their dependents in this plan. Premiums for this plan will be placed on the student's bill.

My visa will expire soon, but my DS-2019 is still valid for another year. What should I do?
The entry visa in your passport only functions to help you enter the United States (U.S.). It does not determine how long you can stay. So, the entry visa can expire once you have entered the U.S., without any effect on your legal status. You need to renew it only if you leave the U.S. and want to return in the same status. At that point you will have to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. and apply for a new visa. As long as you remain in the U.S., you need to extend only the DS-2019.

How do I get an extension of my DS-2019?
Only the sponsor that issued your DS-2019 may extend it. Some J-1 exchange visitors at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls are legally sponsored by other universities or organizations. Look in block 2 of your DS-2019 to identify your legal sponsor. Your sponsor's address is in block 7. In any case, you must arrange the extension of your DS-2019 BEFORE your current DS-2019 expires.

I am traveling outside of the United States for a short period of time. What documents do I need in order to come back to the United States?
You need your DS-2019, a valid passport and a valid entry visa. If you are traveling outside of the U.S. , you may need a signature on your DS-2019. A travel signature on your DS-2019 is valid for one year from the date of signature, or until the ending date on the DS-2019, whichever is sooner. This signature may only be provided by a Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer of your J-1 program sponsor. If your visa stamp in your passport is still valid, and is for multiple entry, you do not need to visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate while you are outside of the U.S.

If your visa stamp has expired, or was valid for only one or two entries, and you have used those entries, you will need to visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a new visa in order to reenter the United States. You do not need a new DS-2019 to apply for a renewal of your J-1 entry visa. In exceptional cases, the consular officer may ask for a new DS-2019 document.

I would like to bring my spouse and children to join me. What should I do?
Only spouses and children under the age of 21 qualify for a J-2 visa. Other family members that you may wish to invite should apply for tourist visas. If you plan to have a spouse or child join you as a J-2 dependent, they will need a separate DS-2019 for their use in applying for J-2 visas and entry into the U.S. separately from you. You must show that you have sufficient funding in order to bring your family members. If you cannot show the required funding, we cannot prepare the family DS-2019.

I would like to change my visa status. What should I do?
You should set-up an appointment with the International Student Services Coordinator to see whether or not it is possible to change your visa status. Exchange visitors and dependents who are subject to the 2-year home residence rule cannot generally change status within the U.S., but may obtain some different types of legal status by travel and re-entry.

I am a J-1 student and will graduate soon. How can I obtain permission for Academic Training?
You should make an appointment to see a International Student Services Coordinator for instructions on applying for Academic Training. Do this BEFORE you begin any employment.

I am a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar and I have an opportunity to speak at another institution for remuneration. Can I do this?
Yes, it is possible to do occasional lectures, workshops, seminars etc. with advance permission from your J-1 visa sponsor. You should make an appointment to see an International Student Services Coordinator so that you can get instructions for approval of this incidental employment. Any regular, or ongoing paid activity must be part of your J-1 program, with the employer listed on the DS-2019.

Contact Us

International Student Services
174 Rodli Hall

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