One week into her senior year, Natasha Reifenberg headed to an academic health conference in El Salvador, presenting a policy brief based in research she had been involved in for the last two years. An opportunity usually reserved for distinguished academics, the trip was just one of many highlights in an outstanding undergraduate career that includes internships at the Global Fund for Women and United Nations Development Program and independent research opportunities centered around women’s issues and rights. Reifenberg attributes her accomplishments to her education in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — particularly her philosophy major.
International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) provides immigration advising and support for more than 350 international J-1 scholars.
If you are a new J Scholar, your department will initiate the DS-2019 request. You can skip the departmental information and go to Instructions for Scholars.
Click on the appropriate link below for more information.
If you have not yet set up an ISSAlink account, contact us at email@example.com. Once you have received ISSA approval, you will complete the “Request Departmental Access Form" at ISSALINK.nd.edu. Departmental Access instructions can be found here. You will only have to do this one time. You will receive an email from ISSA confirming your access is approved, and then you will log-in to ISSAlink using your NetID and password.
If you missed one of our Fall 2016 J Scholar Process Info Sessions, you can find the slideshow here.
Welcome to ISSAlink!
ISSAlink is how you and the scholar will continue to manage the scholar's J-1 Record with Notre Dame. Use it to set up a new appointment and inform ISSA of any changes to the scholar's appointment, including late arrivals and program extensions.
For New Appointments
Step 1: Determine if this appointment will go through The Office for Postdoctoral Scholars or The Office of the Provost. All faculty appointments go through the Provost; all postdoc and non-faculty appointments go through the Postdoc office.
For appointments through The Office of the Provost, contact them for instructions on meeting the following requirements:
- a completed background check through the Office of the Provost
- a record of hire in Banner and an assigned NDid number, which will be confirmed by the Office of the Provost in an email to the appropriate Dean’s Office
For appointments through the Office for Postdoctoral Studies, submit the following documentation to Diana Dickson in the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars (firstname.lastname@example.org):
- Scholar’s CV/resume in English
- Scholar’s home address (if not on CV/resume)
- Copy of scholar’s passport
- Request for Appointment Form (postdoc website)
- Staff Personnel Action Form (HR website)
In order to begin the J-1 Application for a New Exchange Visitor, an NDid number is required for the J-1 Scholar. To have an NDid number, all requirements listed in Steps 1 & 2 must be met. The appropriate office will provide the NDid number when the appointment process is completed. The Banner record and NDid may not be accessible in ISSAlink until the day after the NDid is assigned.
Step 2: Complete and submit the Immigration Request Form to the General Counsel's office at email@example.com. If it is determined that a J-1 visa is appropriate, departments will work with ISSA and follow the steps below. Please wait for determination from General Counsel before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Now you are ready to request the DS-2019. Go to ISSALINK.nd.edu to provide access to the J-1 Applicant Information form to the scholar and complete the Department Information form. New Scholar Request instructions can be found here.
To complete Step 3, you will need digital copies (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the following documents to upload for the Department Information form:
- the signed appointment letter
- scholar’s current CV or resume in English
*If this is an appointment through the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, Diana Dickson will have to approve and will upload the signed appointment letter.
You will need to inform the scholar that she or he will need digital copies (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the following documents to upload for the J-1 Applicant Information form:
- scholar’s ID page in passport
- all dependents’ (spouse and children under 21) ID pages in passports
- proof of funding if ND is not paying the scholar (The minimum funding requirements can be found here.)
- any previous DS-2019’s, especially if the scholar is transferring from another program or school
If you need assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-5243.
Step 4: Once both ISSAlink application forms have been completed and submitted, ISSA will confirm receipt and process the Form DS-2019 within five working days.
Step 5: Pick up DS-2019 Packet. When the DS-2019 packet is ready, we will send you an email, letting you know the packet can be picked up at the Notre Dame International reception desk in 105 Main Building.
Step 6: Express mail documents. You are responsible for express mailing the documents to the scholar. Be sure to keep a record of the tracking number.
Responsibilities of Notre Dame Departments:
- Contact the Office of the Provost or Office of Postdoctoral Studies to complete the appointment process.
- Verify the scholar has the necessary background and English language skills for the activities they will be performing on campus prior to the scholar's arrival.
- Provide access to the scholar to ISSAlink’s J-1 Applicant Information form.
- Complete the ISSAlink Department Information form.
- Pick up and express mail the DS-2019 packet to scholar.
- Logistics regarding the arrival of the scholar, arranging housing and providing other information as necessary. See below for information and resources regarding living in the United States.
- Confirming the scholar has checked in with ISSA during walk-in hours, shortly after his or her arrival on campus. In the case of a larger group arriving at the same time, ISSA will work with the department to organize a group check-in session.
- Report scholar updates, including extension requests, late arrivals, and early terminations, in a timely fashion via ISSAlink.
Special Note regarding Hire Dates: J-1 visa regulations require scholars and their dependents to carry health insurance for the duration of their program. If your scholar will receive university benefits, please consider the following:
- If the hire date is the 1st of a month, benefits are effective on the day of hire.
- If the hire date is after the 1st of a month, the scholar will be required to pay full insurance premiums until the 1st of the following month. Alternately, the scholar may purchase a short policy from another insurer to bridge the gap until university benefits begin.
For Program Extensions (Reappointments)
Go to ISSAlink to complete the Scholar Program Extension Request, which can be found on the left under J-1 Scholar Update Requests. Program Extension instructions can be found here. In order to complete the Program Extension Request, you must have digital copies (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the following documents to upload:
- Upload a copy of the reappointment letter
- Upload proof of funding, if ND is not paying the scholar (The minimum funding requirements can be found here.)
ISSA will confirm receipt of these documents and process the Form DS-2019 within five working days. When the DS-2019 packet is ready, ISSA will send an email to the department contact who completed the Program Extension Request, letting him or her know it is ready to be picked up at the Notre Dame International reception desk in 105 Main Building.
For Late Arrivals or Early Terminations
Go to ISSAlink to complete the appropriate form, which can be found on the left under J-1 Scholar Update Requests. Late Arrival or Early Termination instructions can be found here.
Step 1: Request the DS-2019 with your department.
Your department will send you a link to an eform on ISSAlink that you will complete as part of the DS-2019 request. Once the request is completed, your department will mail you a Form DS-2019, which allows you to apply for a J-1 visa. Read page 2 of your Form DS-2019 carefully and then sign the bottom of page 1.
Step 2: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a one-time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee for scholars beginning a new J-1 program. You must pay this fee prior to applying for your J-1 visa. To pay the fee:
- Complete Form I-901 online and submit payment using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card at https://www.fmjfee.com. Print the receipt.
- Or, pay via Western Union in your home country. For complete instructions, visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu_instr.htm. Check your payment status at https://www.fmjfee.com/ and print your receipt.
Step 3: Obtain a J-1 Visa. If you have a dependent, he or she should obtain a J-2 visa.
For instructions on securing a visa, visit the Obtaining a New Visa page.
Step 1: Present the following documents to the inspections officer at the U.S. port of entry (do not pack these items in your checked luggage):
- Passport with J-1 Visa (unless you are exempt from the visa requirement)
- Form DS-2019 issued by Notre Dame
- Appointment Letter
- Evidence of Financial Resources
- If you have a dependent, he or she will need to present a passport, Form DS-2019 and J-2 visa.
The officer will stamp your passport or I-94 card and mark it "J-1" and "D/S." "D/S" means that you can remain in the United States as long as you remain in valid immigration status.
Step 2: Visit International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) once you arrive on campus.
Bring your passport and DS-2019 forms, as well as those for any accompanying J-2 dependents. We will review them to ensure the immigration officials processed your paperwork correctly when you entered the country. We will also review the J visa regulations with you, and answer any questions you may have about your visa. It is important that you visit ISSA as soon as possible after your arrival, as we are required to report your arrival to the government to keep your immigration record active.
Step 3: Print Your I-94 Record
Print your I-94 record at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. Keep this record with your immigration documents. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises that it may take up to three days from the date of an individual’s entry into the United States for I-94 information to become available online.
Step 4: Update your U.S. address with the University.
Immigration regulations require you to report your U.S. address to the University. You must report your address through InsideND.
- Using your NetID and password, log in to InsideND at http://inside.nd.edu. You may set up your NetID and password on the NetID Activation page.
- On the "My Resources" tab, scroll down to "Personal Information" and then to "Your Contact Information."
- Click on "Update Address and Phone." Update your U.S. address and phone number.
Responsibilities of Scholars:
Using the procedure described above, you must report all address changes while at Notre Dame within five days of moving. Your address must describe where you live; it cannot be a P.O. Box, an office or a work address.
J-1 regulations require that you and your dependents carry health insurance while you are in the United States.
If you are a benefit-eligible employee (full time and paid by Notre Dame) you will be eligible for Notre Dame health insurance. Contact the Office of Human Resources at email@example.com for details.
- If your hire date is the 1st of a month, you will have insurance coverage from your first date of employment. (Please note that if you do not arrive in the US in time to begin employment on the 1st of the month, your hire date may change.)
- If your hire date is after the 1st of a month, you will not receive university-sponsored insurance coverage until the 1st of the following month. In the meantime you have two options: You may purchase the university policy at the full price, or you may purchase a short term policy from another company. (If you are interested in the second option, you may consider the companies listed below.)
If you are not a benefit-eligible employee or if you choose not to purchase Notre Dame health insurance, you and any J-2 dependents must obtain insurance that complies with J-1 regulations (see Insurance Certification) and complete and submit an J-1 Visa Insurance Certification to the Office of Human Resources in 200 Grace Hall.
While we do not specifically endorse the companies below, they do offer policies that meet the J-1 regulations and have been used by other J-1 scholars at Notre Dame:
- Harbor Group (Minimum of 3 months required)
- HTH Worldwide
- Cultural Insurance Services International (Minimum of 1 month required; Click on box that says "Coming to the U.S.")
Each of these plans complies with J-1 regulations. The higher priced plans are likely to provide more robust coverage. You should compare prices, benefits, and the duration of the plans to determine which is the best fit for you. If you find an insurance policy you like from a different company, you must confirm that the coverage will meet the J-1 regulatory requirements.
Please be aware that you and your dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Social Security Number (SSN)
For instructions on obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN), visit our SSN Web page.
For information about driving in the United States and instructions for obtaining a U.S. driver's license, visit the Car and License Web page.
Your passport and the passports of any family members must be valid at all times. An expired passport means you are out of status. Make sure that your DS-2019 is up to date and reflects your program and that all personal information is correct. If your program will continue beyond your current DS-2019 end date, please work with your department to obtain an extension prior to the expiration of your document.
Prior to leaving the U.S., make sure that you (and any family members) have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019. You may obtain a new travel signature by visiting ISSA in 105 Main Building. To re-enter the U.S. you (and family members in J-2 status) must have a valid passport, DS-2019 and visa. If you will be traveling to somewhere other than your home country, make sure you consult the website for your embassy or consulate or destination to make sure you understand the visa and entry requirements.
For instructions on securing a new visa, visit the Obtaining a New Visa page.
In general, J-1 scholars are prohibited from accepting employment outside of the Notre Dame department that hosts them. However, the regulations include an exception for “occasional lectures and short-term consultations”. In order to qualify for this exception, the following conditions must be met:
- The scholar must receive written permission from ISSA before starting any employment.
- The work must be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor’s (J-1) program.
- The work must be incidental to the scholar’s primary program activities, and must not delay the completion of the program.
- The scholar must work as an independent contractor.
- ISSA must report the new work location in SEVIS.
To request written permission for an occasional lecture or short-term consultation, the Occasional Lecture or Consultation Authorization Request forms must be completed on ISSAlink. Go to ISSALINK.nd.edu, sign in with your NetID and password, and complete the form found on the left under J Scholar. You will need a digital copy (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the offer letter from the intended employer, on official letterhead, that describes the terms and conditions of the proposed lecture or consultation, including the duration, the number of hours, the field or subject, and amount of compensation, a description of the activity, and the physical address of the activity. If you have any questions, contact Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org or (574) 631-4603.
Please be sure your full legal name is used on all documents.
All international visitors must file a tax or information return, even if they did not earn income. The Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s Tax Assistance Program provides free tax assistance for international visitors. For information on 2014 tax year returns, visit the 2014 Tax Assistance Program webpage or email email@example.com
- If you are already present in the U.S., you may request dependent immigration documents by completing the J-2 Dependent Request Form in ISSAlink. Go to ISSALINK.nd.edu, sign in with your NetID and password, and complete the form found on the left under J Scholar.
- J-2 Health Insurance--please note that you are required to enroll your J-2 dependents in a health insurance plan for the length of their stay in the United States.
- J-2 School Enrollment—your J-2 children can attend school in the U.S. Your J-2 spouse can also enroll in a university or classes.
- J-2 Work Permission—Dependents in J-2 status can apply for work permission in the U.S. ISSA does not submit these petitions. J-2 dependents are welcome to submit this information directly to USCIS using the form and set of instructions available at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765
- ISSA offers English as a Second Language Classes for the spouses of international students, scholars and faculty. For more information, visit the ESL for International Spouses website.
- If your J-2 spouse or children depart the US before the end of your program, and do not intend to return before your program ends, you are required to report this to ISSA. Our office is required by law to update the J-2 immigration records with the departure date.
Friends and relatives who do not qualify as dependents can apply for a tourist visa if they wish to visit you in the U.S. No documentation from ISSA is necessary. However, ISSA recognizes that some visitors will feel more comfortable if they have a letter to present at their visa interviews. If you would like to obtain the optional Visitor Visa letter, you may stop by ISSA during regular business hours. Be sure to identify yourself as a scholar when you ask for the letter. Please note that visitors from certain countries will not need to apply for a visa. For more details, visit the State Department website.
Two Year Home Residency Requirement 212(e)
It is important that you check your visa stamp to determine if you are subject to a rule called 212(e), or the Two Year Home Residency Requirement. Certain J-1 visitors and their dependents will be required to leave the US for a minimum of two years before being allowed to change to most other visa types. If you find that you are subject, please review complete details about the rule on the State Department Website.
If a J-1 scholar is subject to the two year home residency rule and wishes to apply for a waiver of this requirement, J-1s are welcome to submit this information directly to the Department of State using the form and set of instructions available at https://j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov/.
Scholars must notify ISSA of their departure (and the permanent departure of any dependents) or transfer to another institution via the J-1 Scholar or Dependent Departure Form on ISSAlink. Go to ISSALINK.nd.edu, sign in with your NetID and password, and complete the form found on the left under J Scholar. If you will depart the US to continue your research abroad, and will return to Notre Dame afterwards, it may be possible to keep your J-1 visa record active. Please see the requirements listed on the form, and then discuss the possibility with your department.
Please note: If you are in either the J-1 research scholar or professor category, having an accurate program end date on your Form DS-2019 is important. Please make sure to fill out the departure form. The 24 month bar (see below) will begin on your departure date, which is important to note if you intend to come back to the United States as a J-1 research scholar or professor.
24 Month Bar
If you come to the US in the J-1 research scholar category or the professor category, once your program has concluded (i.e. you are not seeking an extension, or you have reached the 5 year maximum) you will be barred from returning to the US in the J-1 research scholar or professor categories for 24 months. Please note that this will also affect your dependents.
Other J categories or visa types may be open to you. Please consult ISSA for more information.
Continuing your research outside of the US
If your research program will require you to spend some time outside of the US before returning to Notre Dame, it may be possible to keep your J-1 record active during your absence. Please contact ISSA to discuss your situation.
You can find additional information about living and housing in the Notre Dame area at find.nd.edu.
- Human Resources' New International Appointee Toolkit
- Human Resources' Community Connections
- Resources for Postdocs and Non-faculty Research Appointees
- ESL Classes for International Spouses
- Living in the United States
When Francesco Tassi arrived at Notre Dame, he was sure he would major in finance. But a lecture on refugees set him on a different path — one that led him to travel through Italy for three months to study refugee integration firsthand. Tassi, who was born in Italy and moved to the United States in third grade, traveled widely in high school and spent time living with host families in several countries. Those experiences sparked a passion for learning about and understanding cultures.