All non-immigrants (except Canadian citizens) are required to possess and keep current a valid passport issued by their country of citizenship. Failure to keep it valid renders a non-immigrant out of status (and consequently ineligible for employment, extension of stay or change of status as well as subject to deportation). You are required to renew your passport with in six months of the date of expiration. Questions regarding passport renewals, extensions, or replacements should be addressed to the non-immigrant's embassy or consulate here in the U.S. While it is not necessary to carry a passport at all times while in the States, it must be taken with you when leaving and re-entering the U.S. The passport expiration date should not be confused with a visa expiration date (always indicated on the visa stamp inside the passport) or the expiration of a particular period of stay as indicated on one's DS2019 form or I-94 card.
Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS2019)
The Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, or DS2019 form, is the visa document which the University issued to you upon your admission to Lawrence Technological University and after provision of financial documentation. The DS2019 form is used for visa application at a U.S. Embassy or consular post outside the U.S. and for entry when crossing a border into the United States. The U.S. Immigration officer should return page 3 (the pink copy) of the DS2019 form to you when you enter the United States.
The DS2019 form is extremely important since it legitimizes your presence in the United States and you should keep it in a safe place. This is the document that states the period of time that you may legally remain within the United States. Please note the completion of studies date at #3 on your DS2019 form. Do not allow this date to expire, or you will be out of status and unable to work or apply for any other benefits. Please contact the Office of International Student Affairs if you need additional time to complete your studies (program extension) or if you are changing the level of your studies (for example, master's degree to Ph.D.). The DS2019 form is only valid while you continue to be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution which issued the DS2019 or if you have extended your J-1 status via an application for Academic Training after completion of studies.
A visa is a stamp in the passport issued by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad which will facilitate entry into the U.S. for a specific purpose if presented at the port of entry along with any other necessary visa documents (such as an DS2019 form and financial support documents). One cannot obtain a J-1 visa stamp within the U.S. The visa is generally good for 1, 2, or multiple entries and usually has an expiration date (which may or may not correspond to your authorized period of stay on your DS2019 form).
Your non-immigrant visa stamp may expire while you are in the U.S. with no consequences as long as the date on your visa certificate (DS2019) and the date (if any) on your I-94 card are still valid. Should you leave the U.S. and wish to re-enter the U.S., care should be taken to ascertain whether the visa stamp in the passport is still valid and if an application to a U.S. Consulate abroad for a new visa will be necessary (especially in cases of those wishing to re-enter in a status different from a previous stay in the U.S.). Non-immigrants already in the U.S. may apply to BCIS for a change to another non-immigrant status if they desire and are eligible (consult with International Center staff for details). A spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years may enter in (or change to) dependent status with appropriate visa and financial documentation.
I-94 Admission-Departure Card
All non-immigrants complete an I-94 Admission-Departure card when they arrive at the U.S. port of entry. This I-94 (Admission-Departure) card contains a unique eleven digit number which the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) uses in their database to record your stay in the U.S. You will complete your name, date of birth, and country of citizenship. An BCIS Inspector will then stamp or write out on your I-94 card your visa type, date of entry to the U.S., and port of entry. Also stamped or written should be the symbol D/S which stands for Duration of Stay. This means that you may stay until the expiration date on your Visa Certificate (DS2019) and also as long as you comply with the requirements of your status (full-time study, no unauthorized employment, etc). You will surrender this card to a BCIS officer or airline official when you leave the country and will receive a new card if you re-enter. This card should be kept together with your passport and visa certificate. If you lose your I-94 card (at any time other than an imminent departure from the U.S.) you may need to apply to BCIS for a replacement.
If you have been admitted to the U.S. in J-1 or J-2 status and there is an expiration date written or typed on your I-94 card instead of "D/S", see the Office of International Student Affairs staff immediately.