Immigration Document Overview


A government issued passport permits an individual to leave and re-enter his/her own country and normally contains an expiration date. In order to enter the U.S, J students, scholars, or student interns must present a passport that valid at least 6 months into the future. If the passport will expire before the end of the period of stay, it's your responsibility to contact the Consulate or Embassy of your country to have the passport extended or renewed. 

Renewing your passport:

  • Contact the closest consulate or embassy in the U.S. For a list of embassies and consulates in the U.S visit the U.S. State Department's website.

  • Ask the consulate representative what forms and fees are required. 

  • Once the new passport is received, upload a copy in iStart using the Immigration Document Upload e-form.


The visa is for permission to apply for admission to the United Sates for a specific purpose and period of time. The spouse and children of a student on a J-1 visa will be assigned J-2 visas.  The visa does not determine the length of time J students, scholars, or student interns can remain in the U.S. It is the DS-2019 that reflects the length of stay.  Since it is an entry permit, the visa can expire while the individual student or scholar resides in the U.S., but it must be valid at time of entry at a U.S. immigration port of entry. 

Renewing your U.S. visa for re-entry:
It is not possible to renew a J-1 visa while you are in the U.S. If you are traveling abroad and your visa has expired, you will need to renew your visa while abroad unless you are eligible for automatic visa revalidation.

  • For information on renewing your passport at a consulate/embassy abroad, visit OIE's Visa Renewal website.

  • Once the new visa is obtained, upload a copy in iStart using the Immigration Document Upload e-form.

Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)

I-94 arrival/departure records are issued at the time of entry into the U.S.  All J students, scholars, and student interns should possess a I-94 record that contains the following:

  • An "Admit Until Date" of D/S. D/S stands for duration of status and signifies that a J student may remain in the U.S for the length of their program of study as long as they are maintaining lawful status. There is a 30-day grace period after completing your program as a J student, scholar, or student intern.

  • A "Class of Admission" of J-1

  • Correct date of entry into the U.S

  • Correct biographical information

  • An 11 digit I-94 number

Paper I-94s versus Electronic I-94s

  • Paper I-94s: Until April 30, 2013, the I-94 was a paper document. Individuals who arrived in the U.S. before April 30, 2013 and who have not traveled abroad, will still have a paper I-94 which should be stapled in their passport.

  • Electronic I-94s: On April 30, 2013, the US government published a new regulation eliminating paper I-94s arrival/departure records and moved to an electronic system. These records can be accessed online, and foreign visitors will no longer need to fill out the paper I-94 form when arriving to the US. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officials will gather the visitor's arrival and departure information by accessing the electronic travel records. 

To access your electronic I-94 record, please visit CBP's I-94 Number Retrieval website.

Having problems accessing your I-94, click here for help.


The DS-2019 is the immigration document issued by the J program sponsor to the student, scholar, or student intern. An individual is deemed eligible for a J Exchange Visitor Program and a form DS-2019 when:

1) The academic or research program the individual is participating has an exchange objective. This includes students enrolled under a bi-lateral student exchange agreement, students who will transfer from a Georgia Tech instructional site abroad to the Atlanta instructional site, students who are sponsored by a US Exchange Organization (such as Fulbright, LASPAU, BSMP, etc...), and individuals participating in research or faculty exchanges or a student internship.


2) The individual will be funded by their home country/government and the funding sponsor requests the J visa.

The DS-2019 is a contract between the sponsor, the individual and the U.S. Department of State. The DS-2019 is required to be shown to the U.S. Department of State Consular Official at the visa interview and to the Customs and Border Protection Officer at the port of entry to the U.S. Please ensure the information printed on the DS-2019 is accurate at all times. Refer to Item # 3 of the DS-2019 for the J program dates. The start date determines the date you are expected to begin your J program activities and the expiration date identifies the date authorized to complete your J program at Georgia Tech.  If you need additional time after the expiration date to complete your J program activities, you are responsible for ensuring the OIE has received an extension request prior to the expiration of your form. Be advised, each J Exchange Visitor has a 30 day grace period after the expiration date listed on the DS-2019 allowing time to remain in the U.S. to participate in personal activities (not the J program activities described briefly on the DS-2019 form). The form DS-2019 Item # 4 outlines the category of the J visa. The back of the form DS-2019 also provides pertinent information about the Exchange Visitor Program. You should read and adhere to the information therein.

DS-7002 (for J student interns only)
The DS-7002 is an official document that notes the details of a J student intern's program. 

When to Carry your Immigration Documents

You should carry your original immigration documents (DS-2019, passport, I-94) with you when you travel outside the Atlanta area or when visiting any government office, such as the Social Security Administration or to get your driver's license.

However, OIE recommends that you carry copies of your documents with you when you are inside the Atlanta area and keep your original documents in a safe place that is easily accessible. This way, you are less likely to lose them but are able to present them if needed. It is your choice if you would like to carry your original documents or copies with you during the course of a normal day.