On April 18, 2008, SEVIS introduced an “Out-of-Country” functionality that allows a professor or research scholar participating in his/her exchange program to be outside of the United States for a scheduled period of time, provided that the program activities will be continued while the Exchange Visitor (EV) is away. The DS-2019 and SEVIS record remain active during this time period. Approval of the “out-of-country” request is at the discretion of the International Center (IC). If the J-1 program activities are not maintained during the absence, the IC will terminate the professor/research scholar's immigration status. In this case, the visitor may not return to the U.S. J-1 professor/research scholar status for 24 months.
Situations That Require “Out-of-Country” Authorization
The J-1 professor/research scholar will be out of the U.S. for more than 30 days consecutively but less than one year AND will continue to pursue the program objective originally described in the offer/invitation letter.
Situations That Do Not Require “Out-of-Country” Authorization
- If a J-1 professor/research scholar is vacationing outside the U.S. for 30 days or less in agreement with the department, no permission from the IC is required.
- The J-1 professor/research scholar is an instructor and will be outside the U.S. during a term in which the department does not require the EV to teach, but s/he will return the following term to resume teaching responsibilities (usually spring/summer).
- The J-1 professor/research scholar is leaving the U.S. and will not be pursuing the J-1 program objective. In this case, the J-1 Scholar Notice of Departure form must be submitted, indicating the IC should end the J-1 program. In this case, the 24 month bar will go into effect.
- If none of these situations apply, the academic department should write a letter describing the situation. The research scholar/professor must arrange an appointment to meet and discuss it with an IC advisor (please do not visit during walk-in advising or fill out a Notice of Departure form).
Procedures to Follow to Obtain Continuing Program Out-of-Country Authorization
- Submit J-1 Continuing Program Out of Country form, signed by both the J-1 professor/research scholar and the hosting department contact with supporting documentation.
- Provide letter on letterhead from supervising faculty member explaining program activities while out of country, following a standard template.
- Submit the request to the International Center via email, fax, or drop off, at least 2 weeks before the scholar departs.
- Read the Travel Advisory information before leaving the U.S.
- Remember that a valid travel signature (less than one year old at the time of reentry) is required on the DS-2019 in order to return to the U.S. If you need a new travel signature, please use the DS-2019 Travel Signature Request Form.
Once an IC advisor has reviewed the request, both the department administrator and the EV will receive an email confirming whether the request has been approved or not.
Responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor
During the absence, the scholar must:
- Continue to maintain status and comply with the regulations of the Exchange Visitor program.
- Report to department administrator any changes in purpose, activities, or dates as indicated in this request form.
- Failure to maintain status will cause the SEVIS record and DS-2019 to be inactivated, compromising eligibility to participate in the Exchange Visitor program and return to the U.S.
- Maintain a permanent (foreign) and current (last residential address in the U.S.) address in Wolverine Access and update within 10 days of any change.
- Maintain a U-M email address.
- Maintain health insurance (see below)
- J-2 dependents must also depart the U.S. with the J-1 professor/research scholar.
Responsibilities of the Department Administrator
During the absence, the department must:
- Continue to supervise the J-1 professor/research scholar while he/she is out of the country
- Notify the IC if there is any change in the purpose, activities, or dates of the EV's “Out-of-Country” period.
- In the event that the J-1 professor/research scholar will not return to U-M after his/her absence, coordinate with the visitor to file a J-1 Scholar Notice of Departure form with the IC so we may end the J-1 status and SEVIS record.
Health Insurance Requirements and Responsibilities
J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to maintain insurance coverage as long as the J-1 Exchange Visitor SEVIS record is active, whether or not the EV is physically present in the U.S.
Health Insurance Scenarios
J-1 Exchange Visitor is a current U-M employee enrolled in U-M benefits:
- Department may continue the U-M appointment (which means that U-M benefits will also continue) while the J-1 professor/research scholar is out of country.
- If the department ends the J-1 Exchange Visitor's appointment (which means the U-M benefits will also end), the J-1 Exchange Visitor will be automatically enrolled in U-M's International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan effective the day after the end date of the U-M benefits. Charges will be added to the Exchange Visitor's account, and must be paid monthly. See IC web site for Health Insurance Plan Coverage and Rates.
J-1 Exchange Visitor is currently enrolled in the International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan
- Coverage will continue as long as the Exchange Visitor's SEVIS record remains active.
J-1 Exchange Visitor with non-U-M insurance and an approved insurance waiver
- When the insurance waiver ends, the J-1 Exchange Visitor will be automatically enrolled in U-M's International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan unless the Exchange Visitor has contacted the International Center insurance coordinator to extend the waiver before its expiration. Charges will be added to the Exchange Visitor's account, and must be paid monthly. See IC web site for Health Insurance Plan Coverage and Rates.
Insurance Waiver Procedure
The EV may request a waiver from the requirement to pay for the U-M International Insurance Plan if documentation is shown that he/she will be out of the U.S. for three full calendar months or more. This documentation may be plane tickets or flight confirmation for a date three or more full calendar months from the month of departure. If no return ticket has been purchased, no waiver may be approved. Please contact the International Center insurance coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
The J-1 professor/research scholar is responsible for paying for insurance coverage while out of the U.S., and must present sufficient documentation and complete the necessary forms before departing the U.S. in order to temporarily waive U-M insurance.