UMD: A Globally Connected University

End of Year Announcements

End of Year Announcements

Holiday Travel 

As we head into the holiday season, many of our international faculty and scholars have made plans to travel home or on vacation overseas. We have emailed the checklist below to your international faculty and scholars for review.  

 Travel documents for H-1B and J-1 Scholars:

  • H-1B employees will need the following documents for travel:
    • Valid Passport - the passport should be valid six months beyond their entry date
    • Valid H-1B visa (Canadians are visa exempt)
    • Travel Packet including copy of I-797 approval notice
    • Original “tear-off” sheet from I-797 approval notice
    • Two recent paycheck stubs
  • J-1 Scholars/Interns and Trainees will need a travel signature for their DS-2019 from an ISSS Faculty and Scholar Advisor.   We have asked that they visit ISSS at least two weeks before they plan to travel.   J-1s will travel with the following documents:
    • Valid passport - the passport should be valid six months beyond their entry date
    • Valid U.S. visa (Canadians are visa exempt)
    • Valid DS-2019 signed for travel
    • Current proof of financial support

J-1 Scholar Orientation

We will hold our last J-1 Scholar Orientation for the year on Thursday, December 19, 2019.   Please follow-up with all of your new December arrivals to make sure that they check-in at  with ISSS and attend one of the J-1 Scholar Orientations on December 5, 12 or 19, 2019.  We will not hold orientation on December 26. We will resume J-1 Orientations on Thursday, January 2, 2020.  

Travel and the New I-94 Process

Upon entry into the U.S. after the holidays, ISSS recommends that International faculty and scholars review their electronic I-94 record at to ensure it is correct, specifically the end date of their status.  

  • If the employee is in J-1 status, the I-94 record will reflect an expiration date of "D/S"
  • If the employee is in H-1B status, the I-94 record will reflect an expiration date that matches their I-797 H-1B Approval Notice.  If it does not match, please ask the employee to schedule an appointment with an ISSS faculty/scholar advisor.

New International Faculty and Scholars Arriving During the Holidays

Just a reminder that some of your international visitors will be arriving for the first time in the US during the holiday period.  Please ensure that you inform your newly arriving researchers/scholars and professors that the university is closed December 25, 2019 through January 1, 2020 and no services will be available. If the international visitor is on-campus and have an emergency, please direct them to our website for procedures to follow while the University is closed.

Staffing and Appointments with a Faculty/Scholar Advisor

ISSS is available to meet with international faculty/scholars by appointment only, Monday - Thursday.  Please note that Fridays we are closed to the public for processing.  Please ask the scholar to email Mimi Lemma at or Elaine Song at to schedule the appointment.  

ISSS has hired a new Program Specialist, Ashley Reynolds, who will provide administrative support to the International Faculty/Scholar Team. Ashley was previously employed at ISSS as a graduate assistant.  She worked with the International Student Advising team, providing F-1 OPT and  orientation workshops to degree-seeking international students.  Ashley will be working with the International Faculty/Scholar Advising team to assist with case status questions, PHR appointments, iTerp access issues, alerts, J-1 health insurance compliance.  You can reach her directly by email at and by phone at 301.405.1617.  Please help me in welcoming Ashley to our team!     

H-1B Employment

We are currently experiencing lengthy processing times of 8 months at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as an increase in the number of Requests for Further Evidence. It is critical that departments submit requests in iTerp for initial and extension petitions at least 6 months into the future.  Please note that we continue to receive urgent requests for H-1B extensions filed with less than three months for processing.  This jeopardizes the employee’s ability to continue their employment, remain in the US. and their ability to renew their driver’s license.   For these last minute submissions, USCIS charges a premium processing fee of an additional $1,410.00 to expedite each case.  With a timely submission, we can avoid this additional fee. 

Processing times for responding to Requests for Further Evidence is 30 days.  ISSS works closely with the department to prepare a comprehensive and evidentiary response.  Once USCIS receives the University’s response and supporting documentation, USCIS has 15 days to adjudicate the petition, under premium processing.

Note: Effective November 29, 2019, USCIS is increasing the premium processing fee from $1410.00 to $1440.00 for all I-129 and I-140 petitions.  

J-1 Exchange Visitors

This is a reminder that requests for Initial J-1 DS-2019s must be submitted NO LESS than 3 - 4 months before the start date.  This allows time for university department and ISSS processing and grants the employee sufficient time to apply for a US visa, undergo background checks (4 - 6 weeks), handle their personal matters and travel to the US to find housing and settle-in before starting their position.  In addition, scholars entering the U.S. with funding from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) require additional time to complete CSC requirements before departing their home country.  Please allow three weeks for ISSS processing.  Requests are processed in the order that they are received. 

J-1 Extension Requests submitted through iTerp may be submitted 3 months before the end date.  This will allow us sufficient time to review eligibility requirements for the extension, collect proof of health insurance coverage and verify proof of funding.