Students classified in J1 status are governed by regulations of the U.S. Department of State and by general immigration regulations affecting nonimmigrants. For purposes of immigration law, your passport must be valid for six months beyond the period of your approved stay in the United States. Check your passport expiration date and get an extension if you need one. ISSS has a directory of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States if you need to locate your embassy/consulate to renew your passport.
The J1 visa stamp in your passport, along with your DS-2019 (formerly known as the IAP-66), gives you permission to apply for entry into the United States. The visa itself has nothing to do with how long you can stay in the United States. Do not confuse the validity of your visa stamp as being an indication of your approved period of stay here. The visa must be valid at the time of any entry to the United States; it does not have to be valid for you to remain in the United States.
Note: Canadians do not need passports or visa stamps to enter the United States, but they do have to show the Form DS-2019 at the port of entry to obtain status as a J-1 student.
Permission to stay in the United States is indicated on your I-94 departure card, the small white card which is usually stapled inside your passport. It indicates the date and port of entry to the United States, your immigration classification (F1, J1), and the date until which you are allowed to remain in the United States. This date is important! If you wish to remain in the United States beyond this date, you must apply for an extension of stay. For most students, this date will be “D/S” (duration of status). If you need to extend your time here beyond the date typed on your DS-2019, you are required to notify the Department of State. Your sponsor will issue you a new DS-2019 for this purpose. Please consult our office if you need to stay beyond the date on your current DS-2019.
You should keep the stamped copy of your DS-2019 that will be returned to you at the port of entry into the United States. This is a permanent record of your J1 nonimmigrant status, and you will need it for re-entering the United States after a brief visit outside.