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Understanding Your Immigration Documents

It is very important that you keep all of your immigration documents in a safe place. Stony Brook University is required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep a copy of these documents in your electronic student file. Be sure to provide Visa & Immigration Services with a copy of any renewed or updated immigration documents.


  • Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future.
  • Report a lost or stolen passport to the police, as your home country government may require a police report before issuing a new passport.
  • Renew or replace your passport by contacting your country's U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
  • Submit copies of your renewed or extended passport in accessVIS.


  • A DS-2019 is issued by the U.S. institution you plan to attend and allows you to:
    1. Apply for a J-1 visa
    2. Enter or re-enter the U.S. to pursue your studies
    3. Receive other immigration benefits
  • The DS-2019 must remain valid at all times throughout your program.
  • You are required to keep every DS-2019 issued to you. Do not discard old ones.
  • Obtain a travel signature from your Faculty/Scholar Advisor before departing the U.S., as you will be required to present it upon reentry.

U.S. J-1 Visa Stamp:

  • Placed by a U.S. Consular officials in your passport.
  • Indicates that you are eligible to enter and/or re-enter the U.S as an J-1 scholar/intern.
  • Does NOT determine your length of stay in the U.S.
  • If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., it is not necessary to renew it as long as you remain in the country.
  • Can only be granted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

  • If arriving by land or sea: a small white card stapled into your passport.
  • If arriving by air: an electronic record is created, and a stamp in your passport is issued by CBP at the port of entry.
  • Along with a valid DS-2019, permits you to stay temporarily in the U.S. as an J-1 scholar/intern.
  • The immigration official should write “J-1 D/S”  on your I-94 card or stamp. D/S stands for "duration of status" and refers to the length of time a scholar/intern is permitted to remain temporarily in the U.S..
  • You will receive a new stamp with a new admission number each time you enter the U.S.  Exceptions include brief visits (30 days or less) under certain circumstances to Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands.  
  • Submit copies of your new admission stamp and electronic I-94 record through the Immigration Document Update form in accessVIS

Admission Stamp

  • An admission stamp is issued when you enter the United States and is usually placed on the page opposite your visa.
  • You will be issued a new stamp each time your re-enter the U.S.
  • The stamp indicates:
    • Location of entry point (port of entry)
    • Date of entry
    • Class of entry (i.e. J-1, H-1B, etc.)
    • Length of stay ("D/S" or Duration of Status if you're in J-1 status, or a specific date if you're in H-1B, O1 or TN status)
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