Office of Global Engagement

Telephone: 706-542-2900

Click here for our recently updated FAQ Regarding Immigration Status and Services at UGA

Please note: In order to best serve our students and scholars during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration Services will continue to mail documents through fall semester to reduce in-person office visits. See here for more information.

The research and teaching missions of the University of Georgia are supported by the many international scholars, faculty and staff who come to Athens from around the world. Immigration Services is committed to assisting international scholars and employees by offering various immigration sponsorship options and information.

If you are a new or continuing international scholar, review the below for more information regarding pre-arrival planning and specific visa types available for sponsorship.

  • Maintaining Legal J-1 Status +

    It is critical that you are aware of the legal requirements, obligations, and benefits associated with your legal status as a J-1 exchange visitor in the U.S. Please click on the links below for more important information.

  • Health Insurance +

    Exchange visitors must maintain the required insurance for themselves and any J-2 status dependents for the entire duration of the academic program.

  • Travel +

    In order to leave the U.S. and re-enter in valid student status, students should plan carefully.

    Travel Signatures

    F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents must have a signature from an Immigration Services advisor on the form I-20 or DS-2019 before they department the U.S. To obtain the signature, please visit the Office of Global Engagement Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-5:00PM or join us for Travel Signature Day on Reading Day each academic term.

    Valid Travel Documents

    Students returning to enroll in classes need the following documents to re-enter the U.S.: o Passport issued by student’s country of citizenship with an expiration date of no less than 6 months in the future o F-1 or J-1 visa obtained at an U.S. Consulate or Embassy located outside the U.S. & valid at the time of re-entry to the U.S. o Unexpired I-20 or DS-20 signed for travel o Students my find it helpful to travel with an Enrollment Verification statement issued by the UGA Registrar. Students may request this document in ATHENA.

    Automatic Revalidation

    Students may travel to some locations for a short visit without renewing a new student visa. This is called “Automatic Revalidation” There are several conditions for this option to be possible. Please contact your Immigration Services Advisor with specific questions.

    Automatic Revalidation Information
  • Home Residency and Repeat Participation +
    Two Year Home Residency

    Participation in some J-1 Exchange Programs will impose a two-year home residency requirement on the participant and any accompanying J-2 dependents, following the completion of the J-1 program.

    Two-year Home-country Physical Presence Requirement Conditions - An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement if the following conditions exist:

    • Government funded exchange program - The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor's nationality or last residence;
    • Graduate medical education or training - The exchange visitor entered the U.S. to receive graduate medical education or training;
    • Specialized knowledge or skill: Skills List - The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country, as shown on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.
      Department of State Skills List

    Being subject to regulation 212(e) only dictates that the J-1 and J-2 cannot do any of the following until they have fulfilled the two year home residency requirement, OR received an approved waiver to the requirement.

    • Apply for a change of immigration status while in the U.S.,
    • Apply for an H-1B or an L-1 visa
    • Apply for and receive Legal Permanent Residence in the U.S.

    U.S. Department of State Waiver Information

    12- or 24- Month Bar

    Immigration Services must next determine if the scholar is eligible to participate in the UGA sponsorship. This will involve a review of the person’s immigration history in the U.S., and specifically whether the person has been in the U.S. on a J-type visa (such as J-2 dependent, J-1 student or J-1 scholar) anytime during the previous 12-month period prior to the beginning date of the current request, and also whether they have just completed a previous J-1 scholar or professor program in the U.S. If either of these applies, the scholar may be temporarily (12-24 months) barred from entering the U.S. on a new J visa.

    Bars to Re-entering the U.S.