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International Programs

East Tennessee State University

Current Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars and their dependents must comply with several governmental regulations throughout their stay in the United States. The information here is generic and not exhaustive and scholars are encouraged to discuss their particular situation with an advisor in International Programs and Services.


Once you are admitted to the United States under the J-1 status, you MUST follow the Department of States regulations and procedures pertaining to your nonimmigrant status.

Checking In

Come to International Programs and Services as soon as possible after your arrival on campus but not later than a week after arriving.

  • Passport - You MUST maintain a valid passport at all times.
  • Change of Address - You MUST notify our office of any change of address, in writing, within 10 days of such change.
  • Program Activities - You MUST engage ONLY in the activities permitted in your form DS-2019. You MUST not change activities or work location without consultation with an advisor in International Programs and Services.
  • Health Insurance - You MUST maintain health insurance coverage, for yourself and dependents, which meets the requirements of the Exchange Visitor Program. Exchange visitors can purchase the TBR sponsored health insurance.

Minimum coverage must include:

  • medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness;
  • a deductible that does not exceed $500 per accident or illness;
  • repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; and
  • expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000

Willful failure to comply with insurance requirements can result in your termination from the J-1 program.

Other Status Maintenance Issues

Program Extension

If your ETSU DS-2019 will expire before the completion of your exchange program objective, the host department must request an extension of stay on your behalf.  The maximum time allowed for a program extension will depend on your J-1 category.   ETSU cannot extend DS-2019 issued by other program sponsors such as ISEP, Fulbright, ECFMG, etc.

Extending the DS-2019 means that the J-1 visitor is allowed to stay legally in the U.S. until the end date on that document or until the program is completed, whichever is earlier. In other words, the J-1 immigration status has been extended. The same is not true for your visa (the stamp in your passport) which is NOT automatically extended. If after obtaining the extension, an exchange visitor leaves the U.S. and wishes to re-enter in J-1 status, he/she may need to apply for a new visa stamp if the previous one will be expired on the day of re-entry to the U.S. For more information, please consult the International Programs and Services Office.

An extension of a current scholar's program must be completed BEFORE the DS-2019 expires.  Please submit extensions at least 2 weeks before the expiration date on the DS-2019.

Procedures to request an extension:

Submit requests to:

East Tennessee State University
International Programs and Services
P.O. Box 70668
Johnson City, TN  37614

Transfer Procedures

An exchange visitor in any category may transfer from one program sponsor to another if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the objective for which he or she was admitted to exchange visitor status.

An exchange visitor should discuss his or her plans for transferring with the RO/AROs of both programs and make sure that all parties involved have agreed on the date of transfer. ETSU departments wishing to sponsor transfer J-1 scholars should submit a request for issuance of the form DS-2019 to the International Programs and Services Office.

Please note: J-1 scholars MUST be in lawful J-1 status to be eligible for transfer and the transfer-out institution must release your SEVIS records to ETSU before a form DS-2019 can be issued.

Transferring from ETSU to Another Institution

Scholars must notify the International Programs and Services Office of their intention to transfer to another exchange program before accepting the other position.

A J-1 scholar under the sponsorship of ETSU who wishes to transfer to another institution must contact the International Programs and Services Office or the Office of Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine for guidance on the transfer out procedures

Employment Issues

J1 scholars sponsored by ETSU may only be employed as stated on the form DS-2019. Work authorization is limited to the dates indicated on the current DS-2019.

Social Security Number

You will be able to apply for a security number once you have been in the United States for 10 days.

You will need a letter from International Programs and Services or from the Office of Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine certifying to your J-1 status and your eligibility for a social security number.

Once you have this letter, you can go to the Social Security Office to apply for your number, which is located at:

Social Security Administration 
818 Sunset Dr, Suite 203
Sunset Commons Building
Johnson City, TN  37604

In addition to the letter above and to a social security application form, you will need to take the following documents:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • I-94

Directions to the Social Security Office.

From ETSU turn left on State of Franklin Road. Stay on this road until you come to Sunset Drive and turn right. Go through one traffic light (Knob Creek Rd.) and pass Mahoneys on your left.

Then turn left into THE SUNSET COMMONS parking lot. It is on the top level, Suite 203.

When you go in, go straight to the computer, follow instructions and it will print out a number for you to take and wait until that number is called.  If you need assistance, just ask the security guard. 


Employment Authorization for Persons under the J-2 Immigration Status - (Dependents of Persons Under the J-1 Status)

Dependents of J-1 exchange visitors, who receive J-2 non-immigrant status upon entering the United States, may be eligible for employment authorization, provided the income generated by such employment will not be used to support the J-1 principal.

J-2s MUST apply to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before commencing any form of employment.

Application Procedures

J-2 applicants need to submit the following items to USCIS:

  • Completed U.S. Department of Justice Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765)
  • I-765-employment request form
  • Check or money order in the amount of $340 made payable to: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Photocopy of Form I-94 (front and back) of J-1 (student or scholar)
  • Photocopy of Form I-94 (front and back) of J-2 (dependent)
  • Photocopy of current Form DS-2019 (both J-1 and J-2)
  • Cover letter
  • Photocopy of the first three pages in passport (clear copy of passport and/or visa photo required)
  • Two (2) passport type photos and
  • Mail the documents by certified mail with return receipt to the following address:
USCIS Texas Service Center
P. O. Box 851041
Mesquite, TX  75185-1041
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