International Student and Scholar Services and Outreach provides support to J-1 Exchange Visitors and international scholars before, during and after their time at Appalachian. Below you will find information that will help you during every stage of your visit to Appalachian as an international scholar in the J-1 Exchange Visitor program.
Questions and Answers about the most recent Executive Order- Department of Homeland Security
Current J-1 Scholar Information
During your time in the U.S. as a J-1 Exchange Visitor, it extremely important that you maintain valid J-1 status at all times. Failure to maintain your status or violation of your status may result in the cancellation of your program and impact your ability to secure future U.S. visas in the future. To avoid these circumstances, you must do the following:
- Check in with our office upon arrival.
- Attend the mandatory new scholar orientation session.
- Comply with all local, state, and federal laws.
- Report a change of address to our office within 5 days.
- Not accept employment not authorized in section 4 of your DS-2019. You must consult our office before accepting any payment (other than reimbursement for personal expenses) for participating in conferences or lectures.
- Maintain health insurance for you and all J-2 dependents as required by federal regulations.
- Maintain an unexpired passport valid for 6 months into the future for you and all J-2 dependents at all time.
- Inform our office if of any major changes to your program (staying another semester, job duty change) or personal circumstances (birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce etc.) as soon as possible.
All J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by federal immigration regulations to physically check in with an approved staff member upon arrival. Please work with your faculty host to schedule a time as soon as possible, and bring the following documents and information to the appointment:
- Passport of J-1 Exchange Visitor and all accompanying J-2 dependents
- Form DS-2019 of Exchange Visitor and all accompanying J-2 dependents
- Local, physical address
Failure to check in with our office upon arrival is a violation of your immigration status and may result in the cancellation of your status and difficulty acquiring future visas to the U.S.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa was created to provide opportunities for cultural exchange between the United States and other nations, thereby “building mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries.” These activities are an essential component of the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s experience at Appalachian and required for Appalachian to continue to host J-1 Exchange Visitors. Appalachian is committed to providing opportunities for J-1 Exchange Visitors to engage in cross cultural activities that enhance both their time at Appalachian, and the experience of our entire community. You can find more information about many of these programs on our Get Involved website.
If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. during your time as a J-1 Exchange Visitor at Appalachian, it is very important that you have the necessary documents to both enter another country and reenter the U.S. in valid J-1 status. For information about what is required to enter a country other than the U.S., please refer to the embassy or consulate of that country for specific requirements.
To reenter the U.S. in J-1 status you will need the following documents:
- Passport with at least 6 months of future validity
- Valid unexpired J-1 visa with additional entries permitted
- Accurate and up to date Form DS-2019 with a signature in the Travel Validation by Responsible Officer box
- Copy of your contract and or invitation letter from Appalachian and your hosting department
- Financial documentation as evidence of your ability to financially support yourself when you return to the U.S.
If your J-1 visa is expired when you leave the U.S. you will need to apply for a new J-1 visa before returning to the U.S. It is always best to apply for a new visa in your home country. If for whatever reason you are unable to apply in your home country, please contact our office for assistance. There are numerous reasons that can result in a delay. Please allow ample time and plan ahead to avoid unnecessary delays.
Travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean
If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean (other than Cuba and Bermuda) for fewer than thirty days, you may be eligible to return to the U.S. with an expired J-1 visa. More information coming soon.
J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required by federal regulations (22 CFR 62.14) to maintain health insurance during the entire duration of their stay that meet the following requirements:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
- Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
- Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
All J-1 Exchange Visitors who are in at least ¾ time positions will receive university health insurance that meets the requirements through Blue Cross Blue Shield. All other J-1 Exchange Visitors will be enrolled in a HTH Worldwide insurance plan prior to his or her arrival. If insurance is not being provided by OIED, the J-1 Exchange Visitor will pay the balance for the insurance upon arrival.
Insurance rates * as of August 2017:
- Participant $23.80 per week
- Participant & Spouse $103.95 per week
- Participant & Family $141.45 per week
- Participant & Children $61.30 per week
* Insurance rates are subject to change.
All J-1 Exchange Visitors who are on Appalachian payroll will require a Social Security number. The closest Social Security Administration office is in Wilkesboro, NC. Our office will provide transportation to the Social Security Administration office for eligible students and scholars three times each semester. If you are unable to go at the times organized, your faculty host will provide arrangements for you to go. For information about future trips, please contact us at email@example.com. If you are traveling to the Social Security Administration office without a member of our staff, you will need to take the following documents with you:
- Printout of I-94 number
- Form DS-2019
- Letter from our office confirming eligibility for Social Security number
- Contract or offer letter from Appalachian
Social Security cards will be mailed to the address you provide the Social Security Administration two to three weeks after you apply.
IMPORTANT: The Social Security Administration is not able to issue a Social Security number until you have physically checked in with our office and your immigration record has been validated. Do not go to the Social Security office before checking in with a staff member.
F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors who wish to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license may be able to do so.
The documents you will need to present to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are:
- Social Security card or W-2 form (optional but highly recommended)
- Print out of your I- 94 record
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- Proof of residency. If you live off campus, an official document showing your physical address, such as a utility bill, will do. If you live on campus, please come see one of our staff members, and we can provide you with an official letter verifying your address; you must provide your ASU Box number (for mailing the card) and as well as the physical address of your residence hall and room number.
- Proof of liability insurance unless planning to drive only rental vehicles. This means that you must have car insurance if you are planning to drive your own private car. Without car insurance, you will ONLY be able to obtain a driver’s license for driving rental vehicles.
- Social Security card or W-2 form (optional but highly recommended)
The closest DMV office is located:
4469 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607
For shortest wait times, plan to go early (8:00am) in the morning, and not on Mondays.
For more information about their hours and other policies and procedures, please visit their website.
Please see http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver/license for more information about the requirements of obtaining a driver’s license. This page also includes a link to the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook, which you will need in order to prepare for the driver’s license examination.
You can find additional driving information for new residents of North Carolina at http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/moving/ and information about vehicle registration at http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/vehicle/ for those who own a car.
Future J-1 Scholar Information
Once you have been issued a Form DS-2019 from Appalachian State University, you should begin the process of acquiring your J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa as quickly as possible. The following steps should be taken.
Step 1. Pay your SEVIS fee. After you receive your SEVIS ID number and the Exchange Visitor Program Number (both found on your DS-2019) from Appalachian, you can pay the SEVIS fee online. If you are bringing dependents with you, you will need their SEVIS ID numbers (found on your DS-2019) as well. (All of you will share a program number.) J-1 scholars must pay a $180 SEVIS fee once per J-1 program. You must pay your SEVIS fee online with a credit card. Your J-2 dependents do not have to pay an additional SEVIS fee. You can pay the SEVIS fee online here. IMPORTANT: Remember to print your receipt and bring it with you to your visa interview.
Step 2. Complete the nonimmigrant visa application.
Step 3. Schedule a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is important to do this as soon as possible. Wait times for appointments vary by country. For a list of visa wait times, visit the Department of State’s website. For a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates, please visit the U.S. Embassy website.
Step 4. Prepare the documentation to take to your interview. You must bring the following information to your interview:
- Your DS-2019
- A valid passport
- Your SEVIS payment receipt
- Visa application forms
- Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for your program including for any dependents accompanying you
- Any other documents requested of you by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country
Step 5. Prepare for your interview. Because you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular official that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. You should be prepared to explain your plans to return to your home country after your stay in the U.S. and demonstrate that you have strong ties to your home country. Be prepared to discuss your program in the U.S. and your plans for after you return in clear and concise English.
Step 6. If you are successful, your J-1 visa will be stamped in your passport and your DS-2019 will be signed and returned to you. If you are not successful, the consular office may request that you provide further information or documentation at a later date. It is important to maintain a positive attitude and follow any and all instructions exactly as requested by the consular officer.
Federal regulations allow you to enter the U.S. 30 days before the start date listed on your DS-2019 and forbid you from arriving any later than 30 days after the start date. Additionally, you are required to depart the U.S. within 30 days after the program end date listed on your DS-2019. Please keep these dates in mind as you make your travel arrangements to and from the U.S.
Preparing for your trip:
Please review our Pre-Arrival Handbook for information and resources that will help you prepare for your time at Appalachian and in the U.S.
Arriving in the U.S.:
When you arrive in the U.S. you may be required to present any or all of the following documents to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection at your initial point of entry into the U.S. (airport, seaport, border crossing):
- Visa stamp
- Form DS-2019
- I-907 SEVIS fee receipt
- Supporting financial documents
- Initiation letter from Appalachian
IMPORTANT: This inspection will take place before you are allowed to collect your luggage. Do not place these documents in your checked bag. Keep them on your person.
A: All international faculty members, scholars, and students in F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-1B, H-4 status, and others must complete and file tax forms regardless of whether or not you earned income during your time in the U.S.
A: There are two factors that determine which forms you must complete and file:
- Whether you are considered a resident or nonresident for tax purposes.
- Whether or not you received income from a source in the U.S. during the previous calendar year.
A: It depends on the length of time you were physically present in the U.S.
- F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 students (not scholars) who were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than 5 calendar years as a student are probably considered nonresidents for tax purposes
- J-1, J-2 Exchange Visitors in the Professor, Research and Short-term Scholar categories who were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than two calendar years are probably considered non-residents for tax purposes.
- H-1B, H-4 visa holders: If you were physically present in the U.S. for more than 183 days in the prior calendar you are probably considered residents for tax purposes.
A: You need to complete and file the same tax forms as U.S. citizens. You will file a Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A. You are not eligible to file a Form 8843
A: If you are required to file a Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A you must have a Social Security Number or ITIN number to file
A: For information about acquiring a Social Security number visit our page here. If you are applying for an ITIN, you can submit that application when filing your tax forms.
A: Each year our office partners with VITA, the Volunteers in Tax Assistance program, to provide free one-on-one assistance for all international faculty, scholars and students who attended Appalachian the prior calendar year. Our office will email you with information on how to schedule an appointment.
A: No, unfortunately, our office will not be able to assist you with your taxes.