• J-1 Visa extension

Your J-1 visa is expiring soon…

How to extend your stay in USA (J-1 status) ?

Many postdocs think about extending their stay in the United States (US) because they need more time to finish their project or they wish to pursue new avenues of research in their laboratory. This is totally understandable and if you are in this situation, you will be happy to hear that there are possibilities to extend your J-1 status.

The extension must be within the limitations of your J-1 visa category:

A maximum stay of 5 years for Professor and Research Scholars and 6 months for Short Term Scholars.

You can check your J visa category in section 4 of your DS-2019 form to confirm if you are eligible to extend your stay in the US. If you are not, you may still have the possibility to change your visa status, depending if you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement or the two-year repeat bar (explained in a future article). We will not cover this situation in this article.


You must apply for an extension of your J-1 status before the expiration date stated in section 3 of your current DS-2019 form. Some universities automatically send a reminder 1-2 months before its expiration.

Procedure to extend your stay in the US

(get a new DS-2019 form)

  1. First, you need to get confirmation of reappointment by your supervisor/employer and that he will have sufficient funding to cover your extended period of time in the US.
  2. Generally, a request for extension is sent to the international office of your university that will issue a new DS-2019 form. The procedure can be very fast (2-3 days).
  3. You can now stay in the US until the new expiration date of your renewed DS-2019 form. If you have J-2 dependents, their stay will be also extended.

Please be advised that this procedure did not change the expiration date on your J-1 visa, which should be the same as your first DS-2019 form received when you applied for your J-1 visa.

It is very easy to extend your stay in USA by getting a new DS-2019 form. But this procedure does not extend your J-1 Visa !

Do you need to apply for a J-1 visa extension ?

(which means to apply for a new J-1 Visa stamp at a US embassy or consulate, a longer process…)

If you want to travel outside the US during your new period of valid J-1 status, you must have a valid J-1 visa in your passport !

You don’t plan to travel outside the US

If you do not plan to leave the US during your extended stay (e.g. visit family in your home country, take vacations or go to a conference outside the U.S.), you do not need to renew your J-1 visa.

You can finish your postdoc and you will leave the US once your DS-2019 is expired, taking into account the 30 days grace period.

Please note that you still have the possibility to visit Canada or Mexico and adjacent territories if your stay is less than 30 days !

You plan to travel outside the US

If you think you will travel outside the US during your extended time stated on your DS-2019, you must apply for an extension of your J-1 visa. Indeed, if your J-1 visa is expired, you will not be able to re-enter in the U.S., even if your DS-2019 is up-to-date.

So you will use your new DS-2019 to apply for a new J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S.

If you choose to extend your J-1 visa along with your DS-2019, we encourage you to start this procedure at least 3 months before its expiration date.

Keep in mind !

When you apply for a J-1 visa extension, you don’t need to pay the SEVIS fee again !

PostdocInUSA wishes you a great stay in USA !

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