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International and Postdoctoral Services Office newsletter for J-1s and J-2s. 
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The J Connection

November 2019

Beware of phone and email scams

Scam artists go to great lengths to trick you out of your personal information or money. By educating yourself and knowing how to identify and report scams, you can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.  
scam
noun
: a dishonest way to make money by deceiving people

verb

     1. : to deceive and take money from (someone)
     2. : to get (something, such as money) by deceiving someone

Definition from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
Here are some government resources that will help you protect yourself from scammers:

NEW J-1 EXCHANGE VISITORS
Welcome your new colleagues to Augusta University

We'd like to welcome all of our new J-1 exchange visitors who have arrived recently!

Check out photos of your new colleagues on the IPSO website by clicking the button below. 
New J-1 Exchange Visitor Photos

TRAVEL
Traveling outside the U.S.?

If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., you may request a travel endorsement appointment up to 60 days in advance. 

When you come to our office for your appointment, remember to bring your passport, visa, I-94 and travel letter from your department. 
Request an Appointment

TAXES
You may need to renew your expiring ITIN

ITINs are tax processing numbers issued by the IRS that you, your spouse or your dependents must use to file a U.S. tax return if you are ineligible for a Social Security Number.

Why would my ITIN expire?
There are two reasons an ITIN would expire at the end of this year:
  • You did not use your ITIN on a U.S. tax return at least once for tax years 2016, 2017 or 2018
    or
  • Your ITIN has the middle digits 83, 84, 85, 86 or 87 (For example: 9NN-83-NNNN) and has not already been renewed.
For more information, see the IRS website.

If you have questions, contact Augusta University Tax Specialist Rebecca Wagner

REMINDERS
Don't let your passport or DS-2019 expire

Foreign passports may not expire while in the U.S. If your or your dependent’s passport is within 12 months of expiration, we recommend that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of your home country to ask about the process for renewing your passport. 
 
The Form DS-2019 may not expire either. If the end date on your Form DS-2019 is within 6 months of expiration, please see the "Extending Your J-1 Status" section on our website. 

Your J-1 visa IS allowed to expire

It's okay if the J-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the U.S. 

You will be able to remain in the United States during your authorized period of stay, even if your visa expires. J visitors should have a “D/S” for “duration of status” on their Form I-94. As long as your DS-2019 is valid and your are engaged in your J program activities, you are authorized to be in the U.S.

If you travel outside the U.S. and your J-1 visa is expired, you will likely need to renew it before re-entering the U.S.

For more information, see the Visa FAQ page.

WRITING HELP
Need help writing? Check out the AU Writing Center

Augusta University's Writing Center offers free one-on-one writing consultations for all students, postdocs, faculty, and staff — including all J-1 exchange visitors. 

They have locations on both the Health Sciences Campus and the Summerville Campus. 
For more information or to request an appointment, please visit the Writing Center website.

SAFETY
Safety tips for this holiday season   

While enjoying this holiday season, we want you to be safe. While visiting local places in Augusta or anywhere in the U.S., please follow these safety tips to protect yourself and ensure a happy and safe venture:
  1. Be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to those around you.
  2. Do not walk alone in poorly lit areas.
  3. If approached by a stranger, move quickly to a place where there are other people.
  4. When in public places always look alert and confident.
  5. Do NOT accept rides from strangers or people you do not know very well.
  6. When out shopping, carry your bags and purse close to your side.
  7. Do not leave valuables in your car in full view of would-be thieves.
  8. Keep doors to your home locked.
  9. When walking to your car in a parking garage, avoid talking on your cell phone and have keys in hand ready to unlock your car door.
  10. If you feel you are in danger Do NOT be afraid to “make a scene.”
  11. Trust your instincts!
  12. Call 911 for emergencies.

EVENTS 
Holiday events in Augusta and nearby

CHRISTMAS PARADES
Augusta Christmas Parade
When: 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6
Where: Broad Street, Downtown Augusta

Columbia County Christmas Parade
When: 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8
Where: Intersection of Evans Town Center Dr. & Evans to Locks Rd.

North Augusta Christmas Parade
When: 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8
Where: Downtown North Augusta
OTHER CHRISTMAS EVENTS
Evans on Ice
When: Nov. 21 - Jan. 6
Where: Evans Towne Center Park

Lights of the South
When: Nov. 22 - Dec. 30 (closed on Christmas)
Where: 633 Louisville Rd., Grovetown, GA

Holiday Tours of The Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson
When: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in December
Where: 419 Seventh Street, Augusta, GA
For even more Christmas events see the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau website and the CSRA Kids Holiday Guide.
Copyright © 2019 Augusta University IPSO, All rights reserved.


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