J-1 Exchange Visitor Classification
The J-1 EXCHANGE Visitor Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. International educational and cultural exchanges are one of the most effective means of developing lasting and meaningful relationship. Exchange visitor participants are expected to return home to share their experiences.
Highlights of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Classification
- Researchers or professors visiting the U.S. for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange under the sponsorship of a Designated Exchange Program Sponsor
- Not used to “fill” vacancies. Cannot be an “advertised” position
- DS-2019 form authorizes employment…the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is not required.
- May receive payment only from the organization listed on the Form DS-2019
- May remain in the U.S. for up to 5 years (DS-2019 issued for up to one year at time)
- May be subject to the two year home country residence requirement
- Visitors who are subject to the two year home country rule are not eligible for change of status to H or permanent resident until they have returned home for at least two years or have been issued a waiver by USCIS
- Must maintain required health and accident insurance coverage for the duration of their program (accompanying dependents must also maintain insurance coverage) J-2 dependents may petition to USCIS for work authorization (EAD card)
- Short-term scholars are appointed for 6 months or less, absolutely no extensions
- Research scholar category EV may be appointed up to 5 years (one year at time)
Dates to Monitor
1. Expiration of DS-2019
- Extensions should be requested at least four weeks in advance (use the instructions below to assist in processing an extension)
- If employment and program will end, process a separation form
2. Expiration date on proof of insurance for visitor (if visitor is paying quarterly, proof of continued coverage must be submitted)
- Expiration date on proof of insurance for J-2 dependents, if applicable
3. I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) expiration date (A new I-9 must be completed or recertified when the current one expires.)
- Instructions for Obtaining a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa - PDF or Word
- Instructions for Extending a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa - PDF or Word
- Request for Arrangements for International Visitor Application Packet - PDF or Word
For additional information, follow this link to the J-1 Exchange Visitor section of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.