J-1 Correction and Reinstatement

On occasion exchange visitors fail to maintain valid immigration status, whether through circumstances beyond their control, inadvertence, or neglect on their part or that of a program sponsor or Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO).

Since August 13, 1999, RO/AROs have had the discretion to correct certain minor or technical infractions without the need for formal reinstatement, provided that no more than 120 days have elapsed since the occurrence of the infraction.

Minor or technical infractions of the exchange visitor Program regulations set by the Department of State (DOS) through sheer inadvertence or excusable neglect. DOS is of the view that these minor or technical infractions do not constitute a failure to maintain valid J-1 program status. Such minor or technical infractions may be corrected in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) by the RO or ARO at Wayne State University without an application for reinstatement to DOS. The RO/ARO's correction of a minor or technical infraction returns the exchange visitor to the status quo ante (i.e., it is as if the minor or technical infraction never occurred).

The exchange visitor's record may be corrected for a technical or minor infraction only if the exchange visitor:

  • Is pursuing or intending to pursue the original program objective;
  • Has not willfully failed to maintain insurance coverage during the period which is being corrected;
  • No more than 120 days have passed since the infraction occurred; and
  • Has not been in substantive violation of the regulations

The following are examples of technical or minor infractions that RO/AROs are authorized to correct:

  • Form DS-2019 not extended prior to the end date on the current DS-2019 due to inadvertence or neglect;
  • Transfer not completed prior to the end date on the current Form DS-2019 due to administrative delay or oversight, inadvertence or neglect; or
  • Failure to receive prior approval and/or amended Form DS-2019 before accepting an honorarium or other type of payment for engaging in a normally approvable and appropriate activity.
  • Examples of approvable and appropriate activities include a lecture, consultation, or other activity appropriate to the exchange visitor's category, such as academic training or on-campus employment.

An exchange visitor's SEVIS record may be update by the RO/ARO to reflect the correction of a technical or minor infraction, and new DS-2019 will be issued to reflect the correction. In the eyes of DOS, correction of the record restores the status of the exchange visitor as if the infraction never happened.

DOS considers two violations to be substantive violations or infractions of the regulations. If the RO/ARO determines that the violation does not fit within one of the two listed violations, then the violation is either a technical violation which can be addressed by the RO/ARO on their own initiative, or it is one of the violations for which reinstatement cannot be obtained.

The following situations are considered to be substantive ones requiring an application for reinstatement:

  • Out of valid program status for more than 120 days after the end date on the current Form DS-2019; or
  • If a student, failure to maintain a full course of study without prior approval by RO/ARO.

Who is not eligible for reinstatement?
DOS will not consider requests for reinstatement when an exchange visitor has:

  • Knowingly or willfully failed to maintain the health and accident insurance required under 22 C.F.R. 62.14 at all times while in the U.S.;
  • Has engaged in unauthorized employment;
  • Has been suspended or terminated from the most recent exchange visitor program;
  • Has failed to maintain valid program status for more than 270 days;
  • Has received a favorable recommendation from DOS on an application for waiver of section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Two-Year Foreign Home Residency Requirement); or
  • Failed to pay the fee mandated by Public Law 104-208 (the "SEVIS" fee) once implemented.

Reinstatement procedures for violations of 120 days or less
If it is determined that the violation of the regulations is a substantive one, and that the exchange visitor has failed to maintain valid program status for 120 days or less, the RO/ARO will initiate an application for reinstatement to DOS through SEVIS first.

After submitting the request in SEVIS, the following must be mailed to DOS:

  • Fee of $246, payable to U.S. Department of State
  • A written statement from the RO/ARO that contains a declaration that the exchange visitor was pursuing or intending to pursue the original program activity for which they were admitted to the U.S. In addition, the letter should explain either.
    • that the violation of status was either due to circumstances beyond the control of the exchange visitor, or that it was due to administrative delay or oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect on the part of the exchange visitor or RO/ARO; or
    • that it would be an unusual hardship to the exchange visitor if DOS does not grant the reinstatement
  • Copies of all previous Forms DS-2019 (formerly IAP-66) issued to date.

Mail the above to:

Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State
301 4th Street, S.W., SA-44, Room 734
Washington, DC 20547

Reinstatement procedures for violations of more than 120 days
Exchange visitors who have been out of status for more than 120 days must show both inadvertence and circumstances beyond their control and unusual hardship if the reinstatement were not granted. All other elements of the request are the same.

If DOS determines that reinstatement is warranted, it will notify the RO/ARO that the request has been approved, at which point the RO/ARO can access the SEVIS record and issue a Form DS-2019.

Effect of reinstatement
A DS-2019 approved for reinstatement will be approved as of the date of receipt of the DS-2019 and will not be nunc pro tunc (i.e. will not be effective back to the date on which the exchange visitor first failed to maintain status).

If you need more information, please see an OISS advisor.