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Scholar Services

The International Students and Scholars Office provides scholars the resources for quality research and work experience at Oakland University including social experiences.
ISSO coordinates and administers programs that serve international students, faculty, and visitors to the Oakland community. Our staff is aware of the demands associated with living in another country and the special needs of international scholars. We invite you to visit our website or email us before you arrive to Oakland University or please come and visit our office when you arrive so we can be of assistance to you and help you throughout your stay at Oakland University. 

Services offered by ISSO:
  • Advising and assistance with immigration issues including dependents
  • Making referrals to other campus services to assist scholars
  • SEVIS DS-2019 issuance for J-1 scholars, faculty, staff, and dependents
  • Assistance requesting a change of non-immigration status
  • Canadian border crossing letters
  • Extensions of stay in the United States
  • Reinstatement of status
  • Exception requests
  • Disability assistance
  • Health insurance
  • Transfers
  • Informational seminars
  • One on one orientation
  • Personal advising
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Cross cultural activities
  • Host family information
Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)?
SEVIS is the electronic database developed to collect information on foreign nationals and their accompanying spouse and dependents that enter the United States on the F, M or J visa.

Am I required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and how do I pay it?
The Department of Homeland Security requires a fee of $180 for all new J-1 program applicants to cover the costs of the operation of the SEVIS program. If you are issued a new DS-2019 for “beginning a new program” you are required to pay I-901 SEVIS fee. Transfer, extension, or other updates to your original DS-2019 do not require you to pay SEVIS fee. You can read more information at What to Expect When Traveling and go to the official website for SEVIS fee information and payment and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online PRIOR to your visa appointment. For “Program Number” enter the Oakland University’s # P-1-03157 You should print a copy of the receipt and carry it to visa interview and when traveling to U.S.  A visiting professor must have proof that s/he paid this fee to the U.S. government before s/he visits a U.S. consulate to apply for a J-1 visa or enter the U.S. If the visiting professor is already in the U.S. and will apply for a change of status to J-1, s/he must also pay the SEVIS fee before submitting his/her change of status application to USCIS.

How long will it take to receive my DS-2019?
Once ISSO receives a complete request, it can take up to two weeks from receipt of complete request for a DS-2019 to be issued.  ISSO will send you email and tracking number once your packet is mailed out.

I am a new J-1 scholar, and I just arrived!  What should I do now?

Check in with your academic host department first.  The departmental contact person will give you instructions on how to check in with our office.  In order to maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 scholar or professor must schedule one on one mandatory orientation at the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) by either calling 248-370-3358 or visiting 157 North Foundation Hall. You must bring with you your DS-2019 form, passport with visa, I-94 card and any of your J-2 dependents immigration documents as well.

I moved. How do I report my change of address?
If you move you must fill out a Change of Address Form and submit it to the ISSO within 10 business days.

How can my spouse/child under 21 join me in the U.S. as my J-2 dependent?
To obtain J-2 DS-2019 documents for your spouse and/or minor children under 21 years, please download and complete the appropriate request form for J-2 Dependent Application and schedule an appointment with the ISSO advisor.

How do I invite family members to visit?

Only your spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) are eligible to be your J-2 dependents.  Family members who are NOT children (under 21) or spouse of the J-1 exchange visitor should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa which allows eligibility to visit the United States temporarily for tourism or business purposes. Family members from certain countries may be eligible to travel to the U.S. for visits of up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa through the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program. It is recommended that you give your family members a letter of invitation to document the purpose of their visit. Refer to All Purpose Letter Request Form for an invitation letter template and submit it to the ISSO.  B-2s are not eligible to work or study during their time in the United States.  ISSS cannot advise on the B-2 application process or issue invitation letters for your visitors.  Visit the website of the consulate where your visitors will apply for their visas for information about the application process and requirements.

What can my J-2 dependents do in the United States?
J-2s can study (part-time or full-time).  If they wish to work, they must apply to USCIS for employment authorization; they can set up an appointment with ISSS to learn about that application process. 

How does my J-2 dependent apply for U.S. work authorization?
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for permission to work from Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. A J-2 dependent may begin employment only after receiving the approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS. For further guidance, refer to J-2 Request for Work Authorization.

I'm planning on traveling outside the United States. What do I need to do to re-enter?
If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., you should check that your DS-2019 will not be expiring soon, and that the DS-2019 has a travel signature dated less than a year from your planned date of re-entry to the U.S. If you need to obtain a new travel signature, you should submit your DS-2019 to the ISSO and allow 1 business days for your document to be processed. You should also make sure your passport is valid more than six months into the future on your re-entry date, and that your J-1 visa will still be valid for your re-entry.

How can I renew my J visa?
The U.S. visa (stamp or sticker in your passport) is a travel document which allows entry to the United States with a valid DS-2019. You only need to have a valid J visa when you are re-entering the U.S.; you may remain in the U.S. with your valid DS-2019. If you plan to travel and re-enter the U.S. from abroad after your visa has expired, you need to apply for a new visa before you re-enter. You can only apply for the visa outside the country at a U.S. Consulate. Please read the detailed information on our website about travel and visa application for further details.

What should I do if I need more time than my DS-2019 allows to finish my J program?
You may be eligible for an extension of your Form DS-2019 if you have not reached the maximum duration of your J category and have not applied for and received a waiver of the 2 year rule. Please fill out the J-1 Scholar and Professor extension from  and schedule an appointment with the ISSO advisor.

How can I move/transfer my J-1 status to a new academic institution?
To request a transfer, you should submit our Transfer Out form for J-1 Scholars following the instructions on the form and schedule an appointment with an ISSO advisor. On your transfer release date, your SEVIS database record will be moved from Oakland University to your new institution. After that, your new school will be able to prepare an updated, “transfer” DS-2019 reflecting your new sponsorship. Once your SEVIS record has been transferred, you will no longer be affiliated with our institution from an immigration perspective, so you should no longer work here unless given authorization from your new sponsor.

What should I do if I'm finishing my J-1 program and getting ready to depart Oakland University?
If you are ending your participation at Oakland University please fill out the J-1 Visiting Scholar Notice of Departure form. You may schedule an appointment to meet with an ISSO advisor if you have questions about your current or future visa status but it is not required.


I am currently abroad, and I just received my DS-2019.  What should I do to prepare for my arrival to the United States?
Please refer to the ISSO website for more information at Please make sure to read information about paying the SEVIS (I-901) fee, applying for your visa, and arriving to the United States.  Please pay special attention to the information regarding the health insurance requirement.  You will need to purchase your health insurance through ISSO in order to begin your J-1 program upon your arrival unless your department will be covering your insurance.  You may enter the United States up to thirty days before the start date listed on your DS-2019.

I have already received my DS-2019, but I will need to delay my arrival now.  What should I do?
If you will arrive more than two weeks after the start date listed on your DS-2019, the start date must be amended.  Please inform your departmental contact person of your delay, so an amended DS-2019 can be issued if necessary.  If you have already paid the SEVIS fee and obtained a visa, you should not need to do so again simply because the DS-2019 dates were amended.

I received a DS-2019 for my dependent, but the start date has already passed.  Can my dependent still use that document to enter the United States?
Yes.  The DS-2019 dates reflect the J-1 program.  The J-2s can travel in and out of the United States for the duration of the J-1 program, as long as the J-1 program is still active.

How can I extend my J-1 program?
As long as you will continue within the same program objective, have adequate funding to support your stay and have time remaining in your J category, an extension may be possible.  Initiate the extension process with your academic host department. Please have them fill out J-1 Scholar and Professor Extension form.  It can take up to two weeks for an extended DS-2019 to be issued.

Which documents should I bring with me when traveling abroad during my J-1 program?
When you return to the United States, you will be asked for your passport, valid J-1 visa, and valid DS-2019 with travel signature.  It is also advisable to carry your SEVIS fee receipt. To request a travel signature, drop off your DS-2019 at the ISSO front desk, please allow two business for travel signature.

My J-1 entry visa will expire next month, but my DS-2019 will still be valid for another year.  Do I need to go home to renew my entry visa now?
No.  You are allowed to remain in the country with an expired U.S. entry visa, as long as the rest of your documents (passport, I-94, DS-2019) are still valid.  However, you do need a valid J-1 visa to enter the United States; therefore, the next time you go abroad, you will need to apply for a new entry visa before returning to the United States.  We always recommend that you apply for a visa in your home country.

What is the Twelve-Month Bar?
Twelve-Month Bar: A foreign national is ineligible to participate in a professor/research scholar exchange program if he or she has held any J nonimmigrant status within the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the exchange program. This Twelve-Month Bar applies to J-2 dependents as well as principal non-immigrants.  The following three exceptions exist: 1) J-1 transfers to Oakland University without any gap; 2) Prior presence in J status in the U.S. was of less than 6 months duration; 3) Presence in J status as a Short-Term Scholar.

What is the 24-Month Bar?
24-Month Bar (also known as the Two-Year Bar): An individual who participates in the Exchange Visitor Program as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar becomes subject to the 24-Month Bar on "repeat participation" in those particular categories after completing his or her program even if the program lasts less than five years. DOS has taken the position that the 24-Month Bar will also apply to J-2 dependents of J-1 Professors or Research Scholars if the J-2 subsequently wishes to return as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.

What is the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement 212(e)?
Not to be confused with the “Two-Year Bar”, the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement (as set out in Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) requires J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement to "reside and be physically present" in their "home" country for an aggregate of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits.  Under specific circumstances, J-1 and J-2 status holders may incur a two-year home physical presence requirement. If one is subject to the rule, this means that he/she is not eligible to change to H, L or Permanent Residency (PR) classification without first returning to the home country for a total of 2 years. A waiver of this requirement can be applied for and obtained in specific circumstances. If the two year rule applies, changing status from J to another non-immigrant classification (such as F-1) in the United States is prohibited. Two year rule does NOT prohibit one from returning to the U.S. in any classification besides H, L, or PR.

Who is subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement?
A J-1 Exchange Visitor may be subject to the two-year home residence requirement for one or more of the following reasons: 1) Skills List- The education, skill, or training that you are pursuing in the United States appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for your home country; 2) Government funding- You received funding from the United States government, your home government, or an international organization, specifically in connection with participation in the Exchange Visitor Program; or 3) Foreign medical graduates 

How does the Two-Year Residency Requirement Affect J exchange visitors?
If the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement is notated on a visitor’s DS-2019, s/he is: 1) Ineligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card) status; 2) Ineligible for an H visa (temporary workers and dependents), an L visa (intracompany transferees and dependents), or a K visa (fiancé and dependents);; 3) Ineligible to change his/her nonimmigrant status within the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic), G (international organization), or U (victims of qualifying criminal activity) statuses.

I have more questions. How can I meet with an advisor?
Please call the ISSO to schedule an appointment or come in during walk-in hours.