Office of the University Registrar

November 3, 2020

DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status

DS-2019 Overview

Your DS-2019 is an important document for your J-1 status. Issued by UW, this document allows you to apply for a J-1 visa if you are outside the U.S, apply for J-1 status within the U.S., enter and reenter the U.S. in J-1 status, and prove your eligibility for various J-1 benefits. The DS-2019 indicates the institution in which you are permitted to study, your program of study, and the dates of eligibility.

Image of sample DS-2019

Sample DS-2019

Note your SEVIS number in the top right corner–the 10-digit number beginning with the letter “N.” SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is an online database that keeps individual records for every student in J-1 status. The DS-2019 is a printout from your electronic record. Never throw away a DS-2019.

Be sure to read all the information on page 2 of your DS-2019; sign and date your name at bottom of your DS-2019.

Maintaining your DS-2019

The DS-2019 must remain valid at all times. Request a DS-2019 extension prior to its expiration date. Allowing the DS-2019 to expire before you complete your academic program is a violation of J-1 status.

The program completion date is an estimate. You must finish your studies before this date OR request an extension through the ISS office before the expiration date. Do not let your DS-2019 expire before you graduate. You must also update other information on your DS-2019 that may change, such as your major, your program level, or funding information.

Note the travel validation block in the lower right of your DS-2019. There are two spaces for travel signatures. For your first entry to the U.S., a travel signature is not needed. After your first entry into the U.S. you will need to obtain a travel signature from the ISS before traveling outside the U.S. The purpose of the travel signature is to verify to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official that you have maintained your status and that you are eligible to apply for reentry to the U.S. Each signature is valid for one year from its issue date.

How to request a travel signature

  1. Enroll for classes full-time
  2. Complete your online New Student Check-In
  3. Bring your DS-2019 to the ISS front desk
  4. Complete a “drop-off” form. ISS will email you within 10 business days when your signed DS-2019 is ready for pickup.

Period of Authorized Stay

You must enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start date listed on your DS-2019, and not after the start date.

Your admission to the U.S. is for “duration of status,” that is, for the length of your J-1 status.

J-1 status covers:

  • Time between initial entry and the start of studies (you can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start date on your DS-2019)
  • Study period when you are a full-time registered student making normal progress in your degree or exchange program studies
  • Optional period of academic training following completion of studies
  • 30-day “grace period” after completion of studies, to prepare to depart the U.S. or change to another status.

Two-Year Home Country Requirement

Exchange Visitors subject to the 212(e) two-year home country physical presence requirement must return to their home countries and be physically present there for an aggregate of two years before being eligible to return to the U.S. in H, L, or immigrant (permanent resident/green card) status. When you apply for your J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy, the U.S. consular officer will check a box in the lower left section of your DS-2019 to indicate whether or not this requirement applies to you.