Maintaining Your Immigration Status

International scholars gather on Old College lawn
Maintaining Your Immigration Status | CGPS | University of Delaware
Maintaining Your Immigration Status | CGPS | University of Delaware

Health Advisories

COVID-19 FAQs for International Students & Scholars
Immigration, travel, employment & more

COVID-19 FAQs for Study Abroad Students
Travel, programs, health & more

UD COVID-19 Updates


Impact on the University community and academics

Maintaining Your Immigration Status

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government has provided temporary guidance and
changes to regulations related to your immigration status. Please review the


 for changes to regulations that relate to employment, travel, maintaining status and other guidance from the university and federal agencies.

Maintaining your status is your responsibility! The Center for Global Programs & Services (CGPS) is here to help advise you, but it is up to you to keep up-to-date on your records. Here are some tips from CGPS on how to stay legal and be a responsible visa holder:

The DS-2019 maintains your legal status in the U.S. You may only perform research or work within the authorized start and end dates on the form. If you plan on extending your program in the U.S., please consult your hosting department’s administration to initiate an extension request. 

As long as the DS-2019 is current, an expired visa (valid full-page sticker in your passport) does not affect your status. You only need a valid visa to enter the U.S., not to stay. Once you leave the U.S., you will need a valid visa to re-enter.

If your visa expires before you return, you will need to apply for a new visa. Visas can only be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and only from outside of the U.S.

If you have lost your passport or need to extend your passport, you must contact your country's embassy or consulate. Unlike visas, passports can usually be extended while you are in the U.S. Most countries have consulates in Washington D.C. or New York City. Specific information on this can be found on the website of your country's embassy or consulate.

Learn about the requirements for health insurance on the CGPS Healthcare & Insurance webpage.

To request a travel signature, log in to the TDS portal and submit a request for Travel Signature at least two weeks before your planned travel date. Travel signatures are valid for 12 months for J-1 “Research Scholars” and “Professors” and 6 months for J-1 “Short Term Scholars.” Dependents must also have a valid travel signature to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad.

You are required to update your contact information with CGPS within 10 days of any change. To inform CGPS of any changes, email with the following information:

  • Visa Status

  • Name: First and Last

  • UD ID number

  • Current Physical U.S. address (where you live, not a P.O. box or your campus office)

  • Current Phone number

  • Current Email address 

It is your responsibility to update your information within 10 days of the change.


Scholars must contact CGPS before accepting any type of outside employment or short-term consultation, including unpaid activities, as it may affect their legal status. A scholar may participate in some outside activities, but there are limits, such as occasional short-term consultations or lectures if the activities meet all of the following requirements:


  • are directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor's program,

  • are incidental to the primary program, and

  • do not delay the completion date of the program.


Before participating in such outside activities, the exchange visitor must provide CGPS with an invitation letter from the institution and obtain written permission from his/her supervisor at UD. In turn, CGPS will issue a letter granting permission for this activity. CGPS must also report this activity in SEVIS. If wages or other remuneration are received by the exchange visitor for such activities, the exchange visitor must act as an independent contractor.


If you or your dependents receive any type of public assistance you may violate your scholar status. In the U.S., citizens and permanent residents are sometimes eligible for government assistance such as subsidized health insurance, food stamps, welfare or subsidized child care. As a non-immigrant, you are not eligible to apply for or receive these benefits. If you are having trouble supporting yourself or your family, please contact CGPS and we will be happy to help you look for lawful options.

J visiting scholars are permitted to remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days after the end of their program, but no longer. This time is a grace period intended for you to prepare to depart from the U.S. You are not permitted to use this time to perform more work or research.


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ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at