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While you are an international scholar in the United States, you need to maintain your visa status.

Regardless of your category, you must:

  • Keep a valid passport during your entire stay. Your dependents should also have valid passports during their time in the U.S.
  • Check in with OISS when you arrive.
  • Report any changes to your address or contact information to OISS.
  • File an income tax return every year while you are in the U.S.

Each visa category has additional requirements for maintaining status. If you have questions or concerns, contact us.

J-1 Scholars

  • Purchase and maintain proper health insurance coverage for you and for your J-2 dependents.
  • Notify OISS of any changes to your program before you engage in unlawful activity.
  • Do not work without authorization.
  • Request a travel signature on your DS-2019 if you are traveling abroad. Traveling without a valid signature from OISS will result in problems at the port of entry.
  • Request an extension from OISS if your department wants to extend your program beyond the date listed on your DS-2019.
  • Contact OISS if you will complete your J-1 program earlier than 15 days prior to the end date of your DS-2019.  
  • J-1 scholars may travel outside the US for less than 30 days for personal or business reasons.  J-1 professors and research scholars may be absent from the US for longer than 30 days only if you are doing research work outside the US that's consistent with the purpose and goals of your research program here at Lehigh.  For absence longer than 30 days to perform research abroad, scholar and their faculty host must complete a J-1 Out of Country Request Form in iHome before leaving the US.
  • There is a 30-day grace period for J-1 scholars to travel and/or travel within the US following the end of the J-1 program.  You must depart the US once the grace period is over.

H-1B, O-1 and TN Scholars

  • Fill out a Form I-9 within the first three days of your employment at Lehigh.
  • Get approval from OISS for any changes to your employment.
  • If you plan to leave the U.S., contact OISS at least three weeks before your departure.
  • Before your program ends, contact OISS to determine when you should leave the U.S.

Immigration Site Visits

The United States government, through certain federal agencies, may attempt to contact Lehigh University employees for immigration-related information about a particular international student, staff or faculty member. The inquiry can be a telephone call, letter or visit to campus, either scheduled or unscheduled.

The university has developed a protocol to help employees respond (Lehigh log in required). If you have any questions or concerns about this protocol, please contact OISS.