In addition to enrolling international students in the J-1 student category, Ramapo College is also authorized to use the following categories for “scholars”:
- Research Scholar
- Short-Term Scholar
J-1 scholars at Ramapo typically have academic appointments as visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows/associates, research associates, and other temporary academic appointments. J-1 visa classification cannot be used for tenured/tenure-stream appointments.
A scholar acquires J-1 status using Form DS-2019, issued by a DHS/DOS -approved school through SEVIS. Status is acquired in one of two ways: 1) if the scholar is abroad, by entering the United States with the DS-2019 and a J-1 visa obtained at a US consulate (although citizens of some countries are exempt from the visa requirement); or 2) if the student is already in the United States, by sending the DS-2019 to USCIS with an application for change of nonimmigrant status.
J-1 Professor/Research Scholar:
- This is for those scholars who plan to be here more than 6 months.
- All Professors/Research Scholars may be authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete his or her program, provided such time does not exceed 5 years. This is a continuous 5-year period given to a participant on a “use or lose” basis. The Professor/Research Scholar may participate in one or more programs; the 5 years is counted continuously during any uninterrupted stay, regardless of how many programs the visitor participates in, or for how long he or she actually participates in them.
- The 5-year eligibility window can be “closed” and the remaining time lost if the participant completes a program of less than 5 years and the SEVIS record is changed from active to inactive status.
- The Professor/Research Scholar is subject to a new 2-year bar on “repeat participation” which means the individual must wait for 2 years before beginning a new program as a J-1. The 2 years can be spent in the U.S. on another visa or in their home country if they prefer.
- The Professor/Research Scholar could be also subject to a 2-year home country requirement called Section 212(e) on either of 2 items: If the Scholar will be paid by the home government or if the degree/area of study is on the home country Skill’s List: http://exchanges.state.gov/education/jexchanges/participation/waivers.htm. Upon completion of the exchange visit, the Scholar must return to the home country and remain there for 2 years (not all at once) before allowed to re-enter the U.S. on another visa. The Scholar would be able to visit the U.S. on a B1/B2 Visitor Visa during this 2 years, however, any time spent away from the home country will not be counted towards fulfilling the 2-year home country requirement.
J-1 Short-Term Scholar:
- This is only good for up to 6 months with NO extension beyond 6 months.
- It is possible that a Scholar will be subject to a 2-year home country requirement called Section 212(e) based on either 2 items: If the Scholar will be paid by a home government or if the degree/area of study is on the home country’s Skills List: http://exchanges.state.gov/education/jexchanges/participation/waivers.htm. Thus, when the Scholar returns to his/her home country, the Scholar must remain there for 2 years (not all at once) before being allowed to re-enter the U.S. on a J1 or H1B1 visa. A Short-Term Scholar, who is not subject to Section 212(e) may re-enter within 1 year to obtain another J1 Short-Term Scholar visa.
The spouse and dependent children of a J-1 scholar are eligible for J-2 visa status. Those in J-2 status may study without restriction in the United States. In addition, they may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for an employment authorization document that will allow them to work in the United States.
When a J-1 exchange visitor completed his or her program, a 30-day grace period begins. During these 30 days he/she may remain in the U.S. and prepare to leave. It is not permissible to work during the grace period. Nor may one exit the U.S. and reenter as a J-1 during the grace period.
Extension of Stay
Requesting Form DS-2019
Department faculty who would like to extend the stay of an international scholar must submit the following documents to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to request a DS-2019 for the scholar:
- Offer Letter
- J-1 Request Form (if address or biographic information has changed)
- Health Insurance Attestation Form
- Scholar’s curriculum vitae or resume (most updated)
- Photocopy of the biographical page(s) of the scholar and dependents’ passports
- Original documentation of the funds to support the visitor, expressed in U.S. dollars, if the sponsor is an organization other than Ramapo. If personal funds are shown, a bank statement including the current account balance must be provided with a currency conversion to U.S. dollars.
Please verify that all forms are complete and have been signed by required department personnel before submitting them to ISSS. The ISSS then issues the DS-2019 and mails it to the scholar.
All J-1 exchange visitors must file federal tax forms every year that they are in the U.S. The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if U.S. money is earned, and June 15, if no U.S. money is earned.
Exchange Visitors in the United States are required by law to have a specific amount and type of medical insurance. The insurance must be maintained for the duration of your program in the United States. You may use an insurance program of your own choice as long as it adheres to the requirements. It is imperative that you take responsibility for maintaining the required medical insurance. Failure to do so will jeopardize your legal status in the United States.
NOTE: Medical insurance policies generally do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a pre-existing health condition that may require treatment in the U.S., you may be required to pay cash for such treatment.
Minimum Medical Insurance Required:
- Medical Benefits of at least US$50,000. per person per accident or illness;
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500; and
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000.
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
We do not recommend or endorse any of the insurance policies but have provided this list to assist you in finding an appropriate insurance provider. Contact the insurance companies directly for more information on specific plans and their fees.
This is not a comprehensive list. You may purchase other insurance plans as long as they meet the above insurance requirements.
Compass Benefits Group
The Gateway Insurance Plans
HTH Worldwide Insurance Services
International Student Health Insurance Plans
Helpful Hints from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for your arrival in the U.S.:
- Do not plan to arrive in the United States any more than thirty days before the program start date on your I-20. If you arrive too early, you will most likely be denied entry to the U.S.
- Always carry your passport, SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019, student visa, and I-94 card on your person. Do not put these documents in your luggage.
- In addition to the above documents, USICE recommends that you bring with you:
- Evidence of financial resources;
- Name and contact information for your International Student Advisor at your school.
For more detailed information about your arrival in the U.S., please review this fact sheet on the ICE website:
Directions To Ramapo
Transportation options from the airport to the college are:
Air Brook Limousine Service or Bus
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road (also called Route #202)
Mahwah, New Jersey
Please read the following carefully.
1. Kennedy International Airport
Most overseas flights to this region use Kennedy International Airport. However, if you are able to arrange to arrive at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, your trip will be considerably shorter and less complicated.
Air Brook Limousine Service:
Be prepared to pay in US currency or Traveler’s Checks. (212) 244-7250.
By Bus: the most inexpensive way to get to Ramapo College from Kennedy International Airport is by bus. At Kennedy Airport, inquire at the Gray Line Bus Line counter which will take you to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. The telephone number is 1-800-451-0455. This service is located near baggage claims. Upon arriving at the Port Authority Terminal, do not be discouraged by its large size. Ask a police officer to direct you to the Short Line Bus Line counter. Buy a bus ticket to the bus terminal in Mahwah, New Jersey. At the bus terminal in Mahwah, phone Ramsey Taxi Company at (201)-327-0147. After 10:00PM, it is necessary to phone the Ridgewood Taxi Company at 1-800-445-8294.
2. LaGuardia Airport
Follow the instructions for Kennedy Airport in Making reservations. Phone Air Brook Limousine Service at 1-(212)-244-7250. Follow the directions to Mahwah described above to take the bus to Mahwah, New Jersey. Be prepared to pay in US currency or Traveler’s Checks.
3. Newark Airport
Phone (201)-379-6900. Your destination is Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road (also called Route #202), Mahwah, New Jersey, off of Route #17. Be prepared to pay the driver in US currency or Traveler’s Checks.
Air Brook Express offers convenient, low cost shuttle between Ridgewood, N.J. and Newark Airport with up to 54 trips daily. More Info
This shuttle will bring you to a location on Route 17, close to campus. From there you can call a cab, or arrange for a friend or International Education Staff member or orientation leader to pick you up.
Money Issues and Bank Accounts
During the Scholar Orientation scholars will be taken to a local bank to open accounts and convert currency. The most convenient bank is TD Bank in the Interstate Shopping Center on Route 17, Ramsey.
You will need a variety of clothing while living in New Jersey, because temperatures vary from 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) during the summer months to 10 degrees F (-12 degrees C) during the winter months.
In June, July, and August, very light clothing is needed (shorts, skirts, t-shirts, sandals). However, you should bring at least one sweater and/or light coat.
From September until late November, we experience moderate temperatures. Students usually wear pants, sweaters and a light coat. A raincoat and umbrella is also needed.
From November to early April, heavier clothing such as a heavy coat, gloves and boots (total cost around $150) are needed. Students wear very casual clothing on campus. Pants, blue jeans, shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and parkas are worn by men and women; women also wear dresses and skirts.
Although men rarely wear suits, if you have one, it would be useful to bring for special occasions.
Transportation on Campus
- The Ramapo Shuttle– will take you to local shopping centers and train stations in the area. This service is free. To see the shuttle schedule, please go to:
- The Short line Bus-Goes to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City every day.
Please see: https://www.ramapo.edu/about/shuttlebus/#bus
- Taxi- If no other options are available, you can always call a taxi!!
Ramsey Taxi: (201) 327-9000
Resources in Mahwah
You will find an elaborate guide of hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and local activities in the Mahwah area in The Colleges Online Regional Guide
Please make note of the list of Ethnic dining experiences in Northern New Jersey in that guide.
You should also check for information on places of worship on and off the Ramapo campus in the Regional Guide.
Department of State Exchange Visitor Program
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of United States Department of State. Our J-1 Program is overseen by the Academic and Government Division.
Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation
ECA/EC/AG – SA-44, Room 732
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
PLEASE REFER TO THE VISITING SCHOAR HANDBOOK FOR MORE INFORMAITON.