Information for J-1 Scholars

Rules of Status for J-1 Scholars

Employment in J-1 Scholar Status

Maintaining J-1 Scholar Status


Extension of J-1 Scholar Program

What is my minimum/maximum time that I can spend in the U.S. as a J-1 Professor/Research Scholar?

As a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar, you may be authorized more than 3 weeks and up to 5 years to complete your program. The five-year period is a continuous period given to you on a “use or lose” basis. Once the program start date is validated in SEVIS, your five-year window starts.

What happens if I finish my program in less than 5 years?

As a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar, if you finish your program earlier than 5 years, the five-year window is closed, you cannot regain the lost time, and you are now subject to the 24-month bar on repeat participation in the J-1 Professor or Research Scholars statuses.

If I need more time, can I extend my program?

Extensions to a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar’s program must be authorized in SEVIS before the current program end date.

If you have used the full 5 years and you are not finished, you cannot extend beyond the five-year period.

As long as you have approval from the hosting Department at SUNY Plattsburgh and you have not used up your five-year allotment, you are eligible to extend your program and the length of the extension will be determined by the hosting Department’s approval and how much of the five-year period you have already used. For example, if you have only spent 2 years as a J-1 Professor/Research Scholar with SUNY Plattsburgh and you would like to extend your program for 3 years (after having it approved by the Department who is hosting you), you would be eligible to extend your program for another 3 years.

Am I eligible to extend my program?

You are eligible to apply to extend your program if:

  1. Your current Form DS-2019 has not expired and you are pursuing the program objectives listed on your DS-2019.
  2. Your proposed extension does not exceed the time limitations of your J-1 category.
  3. Your hosting department at SUNY Plattsburgh has approved the extension of your program and you have a copy of the revised contract/offer letter from the department.
  4. You have new financial documents which show that you can support the period of your extension.
  5. You have proof of health insurance for the proposed extension.

What do I need to apply for an extension?

Required Documents for a Program Extension:

  1. A completed and signed Program Extension Application for J-1 Scholars Form (PDF file size 130KB).
  2. Copy of the revised official contract or offer letter from your host department.
  3. New financial documentation to cover the extension.
  4. Your passport.
  5. Copies of all previously issued Forms DS-2019s.
  6. Proof of Insurance for period of extension.

How do I apply for an extension?

Please follow the steps below to successfully apply for your extension:

  1. Contact your International Student Advisor before beginning the process to confirm that you are eligible for an extension of your program.
  2. Gather the completed required documents.
  3. Schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor. You must schedule this appointment 30 days before your current DS-2019 expires AND have all the above documents with you at the appointment to complete the extension process.


  1. An extension of program is not an extension of your J-1 visa. If your J-1 visa expires in the United States and you travel outside of the United States, you will need to renew your J-1 visa before you intend to return to the United States. This process of renewing visas also applies to any J-2 dependents who are currently with you in the United States.
  2. If you have any J-2 dependents currently with you in the United States and they will stay with you in the United States through your proposed extension, you must show financial and health insurance documents for your J-2 dependents as well at the time of application. Please budget for $4,000/per child and $6,000 for your spouse.

Maintaining your immigration status is your responsibility. Please act in a timely manner to protect your status and to avoid any problems with your stay in the United States.


Contact Information

If you have any questions about international education, admission, or financial aid at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Global Education Office
State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Kehoe Administration Building, Room 210
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901 USA

Phone: 1-518-564-3287
Fax: 1-518-564-3292
Facebook:  SUNY Plattsburgh International Students