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Immigration Basics

Exchange Visitor Program and SEVIS

Hampshire College has been designated as a sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitors Program by the Department of State (DOS). The purpose of this program is to promote international education and cultural exchanges in collaboration with universities around the world. Hampshire College is permitted to sponsor visitors in the following categories: professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, or student. 

SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the largest branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to exchange data on the visa status of international students and exchange visitors. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student's academic career in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS. The website for SEVIS is:

Role of the Global Education Office (GEO)

Throughout your time here at Hampshire College you are expected to adhere to certain guidelines that are determined by the US Government. The role of the GEO is to support and inform visitors of the many regulations governing their stay here, and to act as a "middleman" for our J-1 exchange visitors. Hampshire's GEO does not have the authority or the responsibility to enforce any laws. It is YOUR responsibility to maintain status in the U.S. Our ability to help exchange visitors may be limited if they do not maintain proper status. We may be required to notify government agencies when a scholar has violated her or his status.

Upon your arrival at Hampshire, the GEO will notify DHS of your arrival by updating your DS-2019 record in SEVIS. Please be sure you come to GEO within the first week of your arrival with copies of your passport, I-94 card, visa, and your DS-2019 form so that we may activate your status in SEVIS.

Hampshire's GEO will advise you as to the implications of any of your plans, but we can only do this if you make sure that you speak with us whenever you are considering travel or anything that varies from your normal, daily schedule. The GEO will also communicate with you periodically to remind you of exchange visitor program matters, and will do our best to keep you up to date on any J-1 regulation changes. Additionally, we will keep copies of your passport, visa, and DS-2019 on file upon your arrival. If you receive any additional paperwork during your stay at Hampshire, you are strongly advised to supply a copy of this to the GEO for your file.

Immigration Documents

As a J-1 scholar, you carry several very important documents that you must be responsible for. They include your passport, visa, I-94 card, and your DS-2019. One of the most important documents in your possession is the DS-2019. It is the main document that gives you permission to work and live in the U.S. at Hampshire College. It is your responsibility to safeguard all of these documents; your responsibility to learn what these documents are and how they are important to you; and your responsibility to ensure that you maintain correct status. We recommend that you make copies of all of these documents and keep them in your wallet when you are traveling around town or out of the area. Please contact the GEO as soon as possible if any of these documents are lost or stolen.


Your passport is a " travel document issued by a competent authority showing the bearer's origin, identity, and nationality, if any, which is valid for entry of the bearer into a foreign country" [ACT101(A)(30)]. Passports permit their owners to return to the issuing country, usually their country of nationality. A passport shows issuance and expiration dates, which can vary according to the regulations of the issuing country, but often is for a period of ten years. J-1 visitors must maintain a valid passport during their stay. Any questions regarding renewal of your passport should be addressed to the nearest embassy or consulate of your country. While some countries maintain a consulate with limited services in Boston, these offices will most likely be in New York City. The GEO can help you locate the telephone number and address of the appropriate consulate.


Your visa is the multi-colored sticker the consular officer placed in your passport in your home country. This sticker/stamp contains details such as your name; date of birth; type of visa classification (J); passport number and country of origin; number of entries to the USA permitted; the location and date the visa was issued; and the visa's expiration date. The visa is your "entry" into the United States. The expiration date on your visa reflects permission to enter (or re-enter) the United States, rather than permission to remain in the U.S. Should your visa expire while you are in the United States, but your DS-2019 is still valid, you do NOT need to renew your visa unless you leave the country. If you leave the country, you will need to apply for a new visa before being allowed to re-enter the United States. 

DS-2019 Form:

Your DS-2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) is the form that you used to apply for your J-1 visitor visa. By sending you this, Hampshire is confirming with the U.S. government that you have been invited to Hampshire College for a temporary stay, have shown that you will have sufficient funds to support your stay here in Amherst, and that you are proficient enough in English to teach or research in the U.S.A. The DS-2019 indicates the type of J-1 visa category you are, the sponsoring institution/organization (Hampshire College), and the exact dates of your program. 

The DS-2019 is a very important form. Along with your visa, I-94 card, and passport, it is the way that the Department of State identifies you, and confirms that you are carrying out your program.

I-94 Arrival / Departure Record:           

The I-94 (Departure Record) is generated electronically by you, the exchange visitor, upon arrival. The document is the means by which the DHS records that you have left or entered the United States. Each time you leave the United States, the document will be collected by an immigration official; each time you enter the U.S., you will generate a new one. When you enter the United States for the first time, the number on your I-94 card becomes your "admission number." You will keep this number throughout your stay in the U.S. Each time you generate a new I-94, the immigration official will make a note of your admission number on your new I-94. Visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to create the I-94 document.


Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002