This page explains the process for extending your stay once you are in the United States as a J-1 scholar, if you are sponsored by MIT.
J-1 scholars in the "Research Scholar" or "Professor" categories are eligible for a maximum stay of three years and, under certain circumstances, up to five years. Questions regarding eligibility for an extension should be addressed to an advisor in the International Scholars Office (ISchO).
Please note that if you are sponsored by another institution or organization, this process is different; please contact an advisor in the ISchO for more information.
Approximately four months before your current Form DS-2109 expires, the ISchO will send your departmental administrator a memo asking if you will be staying at MIT. If you will continue your research or teaching activities at MIT, your department will send the ISchO a completed Form C, which is the request for an extension Form DS-2019.
Please note that it is your department's responsibility to send the ISchO a Form C before the expiration of your current Form DS-2019. Your department must complete, sign, and submit this request. Your department may ask you for some of the necessary information or to review the information provided on Form C.
Once the ISchO receives Form C, the ISchO will confirm your eligibility and will issue you an extension Form DS-2019 if you are eligible. If you will travel at any time during your stay at MIT, please contact the ISchO for travel information.
The ISchO will give you the Form DS-2019 extension which notes the extension of your J-1 program at MIT as requested by your department, center, or laboratory headquarters. No further processing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or with the Department of State is required by you to complete your extension of stay.
We will be happy to answer any questions you have on these matters.
As always, we recommend that you visit the ISchO with your passport and immigration documents at least 30 days before the date you plan to travel. We will review your documents, provide you with up to date travel advice, and update the travel signature on your DS-2019 (and the Forms DS-2019 for your dependents), if necessary. Click here to read our latest Travel Advisory.
If you leave the United States and wish to return as an Exchange Visitor in J-1 visa status, you must present this Form DS-2019 with your passport and a valid J-1 visa stamp to the immigration officer when you re-enter the United States. It is recommended that you also carry all previous Forms DS-2019. Please note that the ISchO will endorse the extension Form DS-2019 for the period it covers or one year, whichever is shorter. If the form covers more than a one-year period, please return to the ISchO for a new signature at the end of the first year.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa stamp in your passport must be valid in order to re-enter the United States, unless you are a Canadian Citizen.* Be sure to check the visa stamp before you leave the United States. If it has expired, you will need to obtain a new visa stamp from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. For information on visa stamp issuance in various countries, you may wish to consult the information on the Department of State (DOS) website. You must present this Form DS-2019 with your passport when you apply for a new visa stamp. It is highly recommended that you also carry all previous Forms DS-2019.
* Canadian Citizens do not require a visa stamp to enter the United States in J-1 status, but must present Form DS-2019 and a passport or evidence of citizenship.
Travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands:
Reentry into the United States with an expired visa stamp may be possible. Please refer to the travel and visa renewal section of the ISchO website for information regarding automatic extension of visas and travel to Canada for non-Canadians, or consult with an advisor in the ISchO for information on special regulations. Additional information can be found on the Department of State website.
Each of your immediate family members who are in J-2 status are required to carry their own Form DS-2019 bearing their names, regardless of whether they will enter the United States with you or separately from you. Please be sure that you sign the "certification" on the bottom of page one of each of your dependents' Forms DS-2019.
Last Updated: October 2008