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.
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.
All J-1 Exchange Visitors and J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to maintain health insurance for the entire duration of their J-1 Exchange Visitor Program that meets 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.
In order to ensure compliance with this requirement, Appalachian has contracted with GeoBlue to provide a plan that meets the coverage requirements pursuant to federal regulations [22 CFR 62.14]. All participants of Appalachian’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the Professor, Researcher, and Short-term Scholar categories are required to enroll in the GeoBlue plan. No alternative health insurance plans will be considered.
Failure to maintain enrollment in the GeoBlue health insurance may result in the termination of your J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and you and any accompanying dependents will be required to depart the U.S. immediately. Per 22 CFR 62.14:
(i) Exchange visitors who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above while a participant in an exchange visitor program or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination as an exchange visitor.
(j) Sponsors must terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in their program if the sponsor determines that the exchange visitor or any accompanying spouse or dependent willfully fails to remain in compliance with this section.”
Insurance rates * as of August, 2019
- Participant $26.75 per week
- Participant & Children $68.85 per week
- Participant & Spouse $116.00 per week
- Participant & Family 158.70 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: In the U.S., federal and state governments do not tell you the amount of your income tax. After the tax year ends, it is your responsibility to submit the correct form to report your income, deductions, and eligible tax credits. Your entries for these items determine the amount of your income tax which you also report on the form. This form is called a tax return.
A tax return is different from a tax refund. You pay income taxes throughout the tax year through withholding. After the tax year ends, you file an income tax return that shows the amount of your income tax. If your withholding is more than your income tax, you receive a tax refund of the amount you overpaid. On the other hand, if your withholding is less than your income tax, you have tax due in the amount you are deficient.
A: “Alien” is a legal term for an individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. For income tax purposes only, aliens are classified as nonresidents or residents.
Nonresidents must file a return if they have U.S. source income that is subject to tax, such as wages, scholarships, and fellowship grants.
Residents follow the same federal tax laws as U.S. citizens. A filing requirement is triggered when gross income exceeds the filing threshold for your filing status (such as Single or Married Filing Jointly) and age. Absent a filing requirement, you should file a return if you paid tax during the year through withholding or if you qualify for a refundable tax credit.
A: If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are a nonresident for tax purposes unless you meet the green card test or the substantial presence test for the tax year. You meet the green card test if you were a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. at any time during the tax year. You meet the substantial presence test if you were present in the U.S. for at least 31 days during the tax year and 183 days during the three-year period ending with the tax year counting all nonexempt days of presence in the tax year but only 1/3 of the nonexempt days of presence the year before and 1/6 of the nonexempt days of presence the year before that.
A full-time student under a J, F, Q, or M visa who has not been present for any part of more than five calendar years generally does not pass the substantial presence test and is a nonresident.
A teacher or trainee under a J visa who has not been present for any part of more than two calendar years out of the last six calendar years generally does not pass the substantial test and is a nonresident.
A: Nonresidents file Form 1040-NR. Residents file Form 1040 (or Form 1040-SR). The due date for your tax return is generally April 15 after the tax year ends.
A: Form 8843 is not an income tax return. It is an informational statement that demonstrates the filer’s status as an exempt individual for the substantial presence test. Even if you have no income, nonresident students on F and J visas and nonresident teachers and trainees on J visas and their family members who are present in the U.S. must file Form 8843.
If you are required to file a federal income tax return, your Form 8843 is filed along with your tax return and has the same due date as your tax return (generally April 15).
If you are not required to file a federal income tax return, you file a standalone Form 8843. It is due on June 15.
A: Yes, you need a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to file your tax return.
If you are a resident, you also need an SSN or ITIN for your dependents. If you are married and your filing status if Married Filing Jointly, you need an SSN or ITIN for your spouse. If you are married and your filing status is Married Filing Separately, your return cannot be filed electronically without your spouse’s SSN or ITIN.
If you are a nonresident from Canada, Mexico, or South Korea or a student or business apprentice from India, you may be able to claim your children as dependents. Everyone claimed on the return must have an SSN or ITIN.
A: If you are eligible for an SSN you cannot apply for an ITIN. ISSSO will assist students and scholars to apply in person for an SSN at the beginning of each semester.
Filers who are ineligible for an SSN may apply for an ITIN. You can apply for an ITIN using Form W-7:
In person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center https://apps.irs.gov/app/officeLocator/index.jsp for a list of locations, services provided, and whether an appointment is required.
Through an Acceptance Agent or Certifying Acceptance Agent: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/acceptance-agents-north-carolina
Through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/special-instructions-for-student-and-exchange-visitor-program-sevp-institutions
A: The Office of International Education and Development partners with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. IRS-certified volunteers prepare your federal and state income tax returns at no cost to you. Each of the volunteers at the ASU OIED VITA site are certified at the Advanced and Foreign Student levels.
The scope of the VITA program is limited to only those areas of the tax law specifically addressed in the volunteers’ training. Note that Form 1040-NR is in scope only for students on F or J visas and teachers or scholars on J visas.
A: No, unfortunately, our office will not be able to assist you with your taxes. However, we encourage you to seek assistance in preparing your tax returns by scheduling an appointment with our ASU OIED VITA site between February and April each year. Appalachian students and scholars on F and J visas will receive an email from ISSSO with instructions for scheduling an appointment.