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J1 Exchange Visitors

Theses visas are for visiting professors, research scholars and short-term scholars. They are a part of the Exchange Visitor Program. In order to sponsor an Exchange Visitor, ISSS will issue a Form DS-2019 (pre-visa document required for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa) with the assistance of the sponsoring department. 

DS-2019 Application Process

Departments wishing to sponsor a visiting professor, research scholar or short-term scholar must submit the below fully-completed forms as well as required support material as explained within the forms. These forms and all support material can be submitted via email in PDF format to isss@drexel.edu. The J-1 Exchange Visitor application package must only be submitted by the sponsoring department. Visa wait times vary from consulate to consulate. This will inform the department in choosing a realistic program start date. You can consult with ISSS in advance to choose a state date. 

Timeline

STEP 1
The hosting department and the exchange visitor (EV) will need first to fulfill the export control procedure by filling out the necessary information here; Non-Immigrant Export Compliance Questionnaire. This can be completed by the visitor with help from the host or vice versa.

Should you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact comp.export@drexel.edu. Upon clearance from them, the hosting department should contact submit required documents listed on the J1 Exchange Visitor Application Checklist to ISSS.

STEP 2
After ISSS receives all required forms the process for issuing the DS-2019 will begin. This will be completed within 10 business days.

STEP 3
After the completion of the previous steps, the endorsed DS-2019 along with other important pre-arrival information will be mailed at the provided international mailing address. Upon receipt the EV should apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy accordingly.

NOTE: If the EV is in the U.S. already they should contact the ISSS office directly regarding either a possible Change of Status to J-1 or transfer-in if the EV carries an ACTIVE J-1 visa status at another U.S. institution.

STEP 4
Upon J-1 visa approval and arrival in the U.S. the EV will need to complete the visa validation process by meeting with the ISSS ARO within 10 days of arrival to the United States.

Exchange Visitor Categories

The following are brief descriptions of the J-1 categories. Although a department may request a certain category for an Exchange Visitor (EV), International Students and Scholars Services will make the final determination of the appropriate category for the EV. For more information on the EV categories you can review the General Guide [PDF]. 

Professors and research scholars may be sponsored as exchange visitors only if they have appropriate academic or similar credentials, will participate in a program that "promotes interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries," and have planned activities that are compatible with those objectives.

Professor

Professor is an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

Departments should be aware that "the participant shall not be a candidate for a tenure track position" [22 CFR 514.20(d)(i)]. Although the position may be a permanent position at Drexel, the department and the exchange visitor (EV) must agree that the EV's time in the position will be temporary. The maximum length of stay for a J-1 professor is 5 years.

Research Scholar

Research Scholar is an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor. The maximum length of stay for a J-1 research scholar is 5 years.

Once the EV's program ends, ISSS must complete the EV's SEVIS record. This means that the EV would be unable to reenter the US as a J1 Research Scholar or Professor for two years. The EV could, however, enter as a tourist or H-1B (if not subject to 2 year home residency), etc.

The Department of State does not specify minimum academic credentials. However, as a general rule, a master's degree or a bachelors degree with extensive experience in the relevant field is adequate documentation of bona-fide research scholar status, although undergraduate students have been successful in the obtaining a J-1 research visa.

Short-term Scholar

Short-term Scholar is defined as: "a professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museum, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions" [22 CFR 514.4(b)]. The maximum length of stay for a short-term scholar is 6 months. The short-term scholar is not permitted to apply for an extension of stay.

Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Certain exchange visitors are not eligible for lawful permanent residency or to change to another visa status in the US until they have resided and been physically present in their country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for a total of at least 2 years following departure from the US in J-1 status. These restrictions apply to an exchange visitor:

  1. whose participation in the program for which he came to the US was financed in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the US government or by the government of the country of his nationality or last legal residence;
  2. who, at the time of admission or acquisition of [exchange visitor status] was a national or resident of a country which the US Department of State, pursuant to regulations prescribed by it, designated as clearly requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skill in which the alien was engaged.

Waiver of the 2-year home-country physical presence requirement

Under certain conditions, an exchange visitor may apply for a waiver of the 2-year home-country physical presence requirement. However, International Student and Scholar Services may not assist with J-1 Program Waivers. The US Department of State believes this to be a conflict of interest for J-1 program sponsors.  Please review the Department of State website for instructions and guidance on waiving the two-year foreign residence requirement, 212 (e).

Repeat J-1 Participation-Restrictions

24 Month Bar [22 C.F.R. § 62.20(d)(2)]

Exchange Visitors who participate as Professors or Research Scholars are not eligible to participate in another program as a Professor of Research Scholar until 24 months after the completion date of their previous program. There are no exceptions for programs of less than 6 months. In other words, if an exchange visitor (EV) has completed the program as a J-1 research scholar or professor the 24-month (two-years) bar on repeat participation applies to him/her and the J-2 dependents (if any). As a result, both J-1 and J-2 holders will not be able to return to the U.S. as a J-1 research scholar or professor until (2) years later.

NOTE: The 24-month bar on repeat participation for J-1 research scholars does not prohibit J-1 research scholars from returning to the U.S. in any other non-immigrant status, such as tourist, student, or H-1B employee. Returning in J-1 short-term scholar status may be possible, preapproval of exchange visitors activities must be obtained from the ISSS office. If you have concerns, please contact the ISSS office before you leave.

12 Month Bar [22 C.F.R. § 62.20(i)(2)]

Individuals who have been present in the United States in any "J" classification, other than short-term scholar, and who have participated in a program of more than 6 months, are not eligible to start a new program as a Professor or Research Scholar until 12 months after the completion date of the previous program.

Health Insurance

The United States Department of State (DOS) requires health, accident, repatriation, and medical evacuation insurance for participation in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Drexel University (the sponsor) requires each exchange visitor to have valid insurance that covers the exchange visitor and accompanying dependents during the period of time that the exchange visitor participates in the sponsor's exchange visitor program. This is explained in detail in one of the required forms listed above as well as here:

Employment for J-2 visa holders

J-2 dependents wishing to apply for employment authorization must make an appointment with International Students and Scholars Services. A J-2 dependent spouse may apply for employment authorization from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provided that the income from this employment will be "used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal alien." [8 CFR 214.2(j)(1)(v)(A)]