J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM INFORMATION
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was developed by the Department of State (DOS) in 1961 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. J-1 scholars are nonimmigrants pursuing a specific program objective at academic institutions in the United States, as designated by the Department of State (DOS) and the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). J-1 scholars are categorized as research scholars, professors, short-term scholars, or specialists. UT Dallas Human Resources (HR) staff members are DOS-designated Responsible Officer (RO) & Alternate ROs (ARO) for UT Dallas EVP.
The Department of State recently published a rule regarding key changes to the Exchange Visitor regulations affecting the J Professor and Research Scholar categories. These changes were implemented into the online SEVIS system on November 17th and became effective on November 17th, 2006.
Major changes include:
5 Year Rule
The maximum period of participation for J Professors and Research Scholars was raised from three years to five years. The period of participation is a five-year period, which starts from the program begin date on the DS–2019. This means that exchange visitors on these two categories may now extend up to 5 years, if needed. The five-year period is a “continuous” period given to a participant on a “use or lose” basis.
2 Year (24 Month Bar)
A new 24–month (two-year) bar on repeat participation in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories was instituted for those who complete their program participation. This means that any scholar who comes to the United States for any length of time in the Professor or Research Scholar categories will not be able to come back to the United States in the F-1 or J Professor or Research Scholar categories for a period of two years. This rule is does not replace the 2 year home residency rule which continues to be in effect.
Application of the 5 Year Rule and the 24 Month Bar
- The 5 Year Rule and the 24-Month Bar will apply only to those who:
- Are currently in the United States in J status in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for any length of time and
- will complete their J program on or after the date the new rule becomes effective
- New incoming J Exchange Visitors on the Research Scholar or Professor categories
FLOW-OF-EXCHANGE VISITOR PROCESS
1. Department offers the foreign national a temporary position at UT Dallas.
2. J-1 Request Form is filled in by the foreign national and the department.
3. Department provides the following to HR:
- Copy of offer letter and acceptance.
- J-1 Request Form signed by the dean.
- If foreign national will not be compensated by UT Dallas, visitor must provide the following to HR:
- Letter from supporting institution stating amount of pay and length of time.
- If support is from personal funds, foreign national must provide a copy of bank statement showing adequate funds.
- As of 9/1/2007 the minimum monthly amount for support (from all sources) is $2000 per month for the visitor, with an additional $500 a month to be provided for each dependent that may accompany them.
To obtain a J-1 visa, the Exchange Visitor must show the United States consulate the following:
- A DS-2019 form produced in SEVIS by HR.
- A passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Evidence of intention to stay in the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing the program objective.
- Financial ability to cover the cost of living in the United States.
- Proof of SEVIS fee payment (see www.fmjfee.com) for more information or to process payment
MAINTAIN VALID STATUS
- Be aware of the DS-2019 expiration date ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) -- Do not let the document expire.
- Pursue the activity described as the site of activity and subject/field descriptions on the DS-2019.
- Health insurance is required at all times for J-1 Exchange Visitors and dependents in United States and must meet Department of State (DOS) standards (see insurance requirements) links to UTD Insurance Requirement Sheet
- Report to HR ( email@example.com ) any change of home address or phone number within 10 days of move.
- Submit timely extension or transfer requests links to UTD Request to Transfer Out Form to HR.
- If Exchange Visitor completes program before DS-2019 expiration date, contact HR to update SEVIS record
TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
- When traveling outside the United States, J-1 Exchange Visitors/dependents must have their DS-2019 signed for travel by HR, a valid passport and visa for re-entry to the United States.
- Research Scholars: engage primarily in research activities; 5 years maximum.
- Professors: engage in teaching primarily; 5 year maximum; cannot be tenure-track. 5 years maximum.
- Short-term Scholars: engage in research, teaching, observing or consulting activities; 6 months maximum.
- Specialists: engage in consulting, observing or demonstrating specialized knowledge/skills in which scholar is expert; 1 year maximum.
Program Objective is the activity outlined on the DS-2019 form and in the Exchange Visitor’s SEVIS record. Based upon:
- Subject/Field code and description.
- Subject/field remarks (job description in SEVIS record).
- Site of Activity.
- Implication: Exchange Visitor’s J-1 program objective is specific. If Exchange Visitor desires to leave current position he/she can only transfer to another location if the program objective remains the same.
- Occasional Off-campus Consultations and Lectures.
- Must be directly related to J-1 program objective and cannot delay the completion of program.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is designed to help the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State better monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. Exchange visitor and student information is maintained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on nonimmigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the Internet, to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United States. Select SEVIS to go to the Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Internet site and learn more.
All Exchange Visitor applicants must have a SEVIS generated DS 2019 issued by a Department of State designated sponsor, which they submit when they are applying for their exchange visitor visa. The consular officer will need to verify your DS 2019 record electronically through the SEVIS system in order to process your exchange visitor visa application to conclusion. Exchange Visitors must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to the Department of Homeland Security for each individual program. The fee may be paid either through a special web site, via Western Union, or by mail. See SEVIS-901 Fee or SEVIS for further information on how to pay the fee.
J -1 SPECIAL FEATURES
Extension of Program
- Exchange Visitors can extend their program beyond the current DS-2019 expiration date up to the J-1 category’s maximum.
- Dean submits an email to HR ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) requesting the extension for a designated period of time. Provides proof of funding in advance of expiration date and proof of insurance coverage (if not on UTD employee insurance).
- J-2 dependents are extended as a result of J-1’s extension.
- J-1 Exchange Visitors can transfer from one EVP to another or change departments within an EVP, if the original objective is the same.
- If a J-1 Exchange Visitor desires to transfer to UTD from another school, approval must be given by the current EVP and UT Dallas HR. Change will be made in SEVIS and UT Dallas will print a new DS-2019.
- Transfer or change of department can occur without Exchange Visitor leaving United States.
Transfer Procedures, if transfer to UT Dallas is appropriate
- Submit HR letters from current and proposed UT Dallas dean stating the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s program objective will not change as a result of the transfer.
- Provide HR a copy of current DS-2019, copy letter of offer letter from UTD department and form or letter from current EVP requesting UTD to accept the transfer.
- HR coordinates with other EVP to set “transfer release date” in SEVIS.
Transfer from UTD to another EVP
- Please provide the name, address, phone number and email of the EVP’s responsible officer or alternate responsible officer of the receiving institution to HR ( email@example.com ).
- HR coordinates with other EVP for final approval and to set “transfer effective date” in SEVIS.
Health Insurance Requirement
- J-1 Exchange Visitors and J-2 dependents are required by the Department of State to have health insurance (including medical evacuation and repatriation benefits) during entire stay in the United States.
- J-1 Exchange Visitors/dependents may enter the United States up to 30 days before the program start date indicated on the DS-2019. Employment is NOT allowed during this time.
- A grace period of 30 days after DS-2019 expiration date is allowed for scholar to prepare for departure. Employment is NOT allowed during this time.
TWO-YEAR HOME RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT - 212(e)
- Two-Year home residency physical presence requirement [212(e)] was designed to help ensure the nonimmigrant, exchange nature of the EVP.
- Subjectivity to 212(e) is noted on the visa stamp and/or the DS-2019 and is commonly based upon:
- Skills List:-- field of study, research, or teaching per country of last permanent residence.
- Funding: if J-1 receives United States or home country government funding specifically to support the exchange.
- Fulfillment of the two years in home residence is counted in the aggregate (it does not have to be fulfilled over a consecutive period).
- Request to be waived from the 212(e) requirement can be made in order to allow J-1 Exchange Visitor to stay in the United States beyond J-1 program. Form I-612. These forms are available through the United States Citizenship Immigration Service.
- J-1 cannot extend J-1 program or transfer to another school or department if DOS issues waiver recommendation.
- Waivers can be granted under following circumstances:
- no objection statement from home government;
- extreme hardship to a United States citizen or permanent resident relative;
- fear of persecution in home country; request from an interested United States Governmental agency.
- The two years must be fulfilled or waived to be eligible for change of visa status within the United States to any other nonimmigrant status, H-1B or permanent residency (PR) (exception: changes to A or G visas).
- Note: In certain cases, J-1 can apply for different visa category at United States consulate abroad before 212(e) is fulfilled/waived, excluding H-1B, PR.
- Spouse or unmarried minor child (Under age 21) of a J-1.
- Maintain separate DS-2019; Duration of Status is the same as the J-1.
- Subjectivity to 212(e) based upon and linked to J-1 subjectivity, thus it cannot be waived separately.
- May enroll in degree-seeking academic programs or non-degree study.
- May not remain in the United States if J-1 is absent for longer than a temporary period (i.e.: conference, short trips abroad).
- May be employed within the United States with Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- May pursue a volunteer position without EAD: must be a legitimate volunteer position; cannot receive any compensation, or promise of future compensation, including financial.
- J-2 dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for work authorization, provided the income from such employment will be for the support of the dependent(s), and not for the principal J-1. Form I-765 (Gov Link)
- Do not begin employment until EAD for approved employment authorization is received. The EAD is a small card that indicates the approved employment start and end dates. Employment is not permitted before the approved start date or after the approved end date.
- USCIS practice is to limit issuance of all EADs to no more than 1 year. In any case, J-2 employment authorization may not exceed the program duration indicated on the principal’s DS-2019, and is valid only if the J-1 is maintaining status.
- If permission for employment is granted, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is issued and is valid for any kind of full-time or part-time employment for the period of time stated on the EAD.
Documentation for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765 Includes instructions and address for application. (Gov Link)
- Application fee:
- 2 Passport-style photos.
- Copy of DS-2019s for J-1 and J-2.
- Copy of I-94 card (front and back) for J-1 and J-2.
- Copy of Passport I.D. page(s) for J-1 and J-2.
- Copy of Visa Stamp for J-1 and J-2.
- Copy of all previous Employment Authorization Documents (EAD cards).
- Monthly Expense Budget – See Sample.
- Letter from J-2 stating why the employment is desired and that employment is not to support J-1.
- A J-2 dependent must file form I-765 with all supporting documents each time an extension of employment is necessary.
Last Updated: September 24, 2013