Important Immigration Terms & Documents for J-1 Students and Scholars

All of the documents listed below are critical to maintaining your status in the U.S. Keep the originals current and in a safe place at all times. All newly arriving students must bring original documents listed below to the Center for International Education(CIE) for copies within 5 days of reporting to ACU.  

J-1 Exchange Visitor Student Request Form In order to facilitate your entry into the US as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Student, please complete this form and submit with all requested documents. -- Shouldn't we remove this since it's international admissions? 

Passport – This card is issued to you by the government of your country.

  • Expiration date must always be at least 6 months in the future.
  • If your passport expires while in the U.S., contact your Embassy. You may not re-enter the U.S. with an expired passport.

U.S. Visa
 – Your visa allows you to enter and re-enter the United States during the period of visa validity.

  • Your visa shows how many entries you are allowed into the U.S.
  • You are allowed to stay in the U.S. with an expired visa if all your other documents are current and you are still in legal immigration status
  • You will not be able to re-enter the U.S. with an expired visa.

DS-2019 –
 This is a document issued by the sponsoring school allowing Exchange Visitors to apply for a J-1 visa.

  • You must show this document when you apply for a visa and upon entry to the U.S.
  • The document shows the completion date for your program. A J-1 student or scholar will be out of status if he/she remains in the U.S. past the completion date.
  • Upon completion of your program, you will have 30 days from your graduation date or completion date to prepare to leave the U.S. or to become enrolled in another program.
  • The DS-2019 must be kept current for a student to be legal in the U.S.  Contact the CIE for any changes to your completion dates or field of study.

I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) –
 This is a card issued to you and stapled in your passport upon arrival to the U.S.

  • This document shows how long you are authorized to stay in the U.S. with your visa status.
  • It shows your admission number
  • If you lose your I-94 or notice wrong information, contact the CIE. 

 Fee – This fee is required by Congress to support the services and automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors and verifies that they maintain their status while in the U.S. Each student issued an initial Form I-20 is responsible for paying this fee. You must pay this fee or your visa application will not be processed. For information on the I-901 fee, payment instructions and exceptions, go to

I-765 – This is the form needed to complete the application for employment authorization. There is a filing fee required with this form. 

I-539 – This is the form needed to complete the application for reinstatement or change of status. There is a filing fee required with this form.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – This is the U.S government department that enforces immigration laws.

U.S. Department of State (USDOS) – This is the U.S. government agency that operates U.S. embassies around the world. Non U.S. citizens must visit the embassy to receive their visa to enter the U.S. 

United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – This is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the U.S.

Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) – This is a card issued by DHS to authorize off campus employment for J-2 dependents and others. 

Center for International Education (CIE) – Department at Abilene Christian University with the major role of providing immigration information, advice and documents for J-1 visa holders. Orientation sessions are offered at the beginning of each semester, and personal appointment times are available all year.

Responsible Officer (RO) and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) – These titles refer to the officials at the university who are authorized to issue DS-2019 documents and to oversee your exchange visitor program. Both the Responsible Officer and the Alternate Responsible Officer are located in the CIE.


For other questions, please contact:

Center for International Education
124 Hardin Administration Building
Phone: 325-674-2710
Fax: 325-674-2966