J1 Exchange Visitors
These 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
Starting March 1, 2023, ISSS will charge a $250 processing fee for all new J-1 scholar applications. An additional fee of $150 will be charged for all new applications submitted two months or less prior to the requested DS-2019 start date.
The DS-2019 request should be submitted to ISSS no later than four (4) months before the J-1 scholar program start date. Departments wishing to sponsor a visiting professor, research scholar or short-term scholar must complete the required J-1 Scholar application forms and submit them in one PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org. These forms and instructions are available on the ISSS Hiring Foreign Nationals Portal in SharePoint. Please note: Departments accessing the application instructions for the first time will need to request access to the ISSS Hiring Foreign Nationals Portal.
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.
STEP 1: The hosting department will need first to fulfill the export control procedure by filling out the necessary information here; Non-Immigrant Export Compliance Questionnaire. Should you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com.
STEP 2: While waiting for export compliance approval, the hosting department can begin assembling the materials required for the DS-2019 Application. Departments accessing the application instructions for the first time will need to request access to the ISSS Hiring Foreign Nationals Portal. After ISSS receives all required forms the process for issuing the DS-2019 will begin. Depending on the volume of applications received, ISSS' processing time takes between two weeks and one month.
STEP 3: After the completion of the previous steps, the endorsed DS-2019 will be mailed using the shipping label provided by the department. Important pre-arrival information and instructions will be sent to the J-1 scholar's email provided by the department. 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 reporting their arrival to firstname.lastname@example.org and scheduling a Virtual Scholar Orientation Check-In with ISSS within 10 days of arrival to the United States.
To be eligible for J-1 visa sponsorship, an individual must have an offer from a hosting department at Drexel. The offered position must be visiting and academic in nature. Tenure-track positions and positions that are clerical in nature are not appropriate for J-1 visa sponsorship. Common J-1 position titles include but are not limited to: postdoctoral researcher, visiting professor/researcher, visiting scholar, etc.
J-1 professors, research scholars, and short-term scholars must possess at least a bachelor's degree in their field of study with appropriate experience in the field. Drexel University does not currently offer J-1 sponsorship for individuals who do not possess at least a bachelor's degree.
All J-1 exchange visitors are required to demonstrate English language proficiency. Departments can review the English Language Proficiency Evidence Requirements [PDF].
J-1 exchange visitors are required to hold and maintain health, accident, repatriation, and medical evaluation insurance for the entirety of their program in the U.S. The full list of U.S. Department of State requirements and additional guidance can be found on our Health Insurance Guidelines [PDF].
Exchange Visitor Categories
The following are brief descriptions of the J-1 categories.
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. The maximum length of stay for a J-1 professor is five years.
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 five years.
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 six months. The short-term scholar is not permitted to apply for an extension of stay beyond six months.
J-1 Bars and Restrictions
Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (212(E))
Certain exchange visitors are not eligible for lawful permanent residency or to change to another visa status in the U.S. until they have resided and been physically present in their country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for a total of at least two years following departure from the U.S. in J-1 status. These restrictions apply to an exchange visitor:
- whose participation in the program for which he came to the U.S. was financed in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. government or by the government of the country of his nationality or last legal residence;
- 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 Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement
Under certain conditions, an exchange visitor may apply for a waiver of the two-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 refer to the Department of State for instructions and guidance on waiving the two-year foreign residence requirement, 212 (e).
Once the U.S. Department of State has issued a favorable recommendation of the waiver, the J-1 exchange visitor will no longer be eligible for several J-1 benefits, including:
- J-1 extension
- J-1 transfer
- Issuance of a new J-1 visa
Please note that the J-1 waiver application process can be time-consuming, with some case processing taking a year or longer. Applying for and receiving a J-1 waiver does not automatically extend one's legal stay in the U.S.
Individuals who have previously been in the U.S. in a J-1 research scholar or professor category must wait at least 24 months.
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 six 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.
J-1 Program Extension
Starting March 1, 2023, ISSS will charge a $150 rush fee for any J-1 extension requests submitted less than one month prior to the scholar's DS-2019 expiration date.
If the hosting department wishes to extend their J-1 program (and they have not exhausted the total time permitted under their J-1 program category) an Extension Form should be completed. The Extension Form should be accompanied by the following:
- An updated offer letter signed from the department that includes the new program end date and any compensation that the scholar will receive
- Updated proof of financing
- Updated proof of health insurance for the J-1 and any dependents to be covered for the extension period.
- These documents must all be sent as a PDF to email@example.com for processing of the DS-2019 extension. These requests should be submitted no later than one month prior to the scholar’s current DS-2019 program end date.
- J-1 Scholar Extension Request [PDF]
- J-1 Departure Form [PDF]
J-1 visa holders may sponsor their spouse and/or children under the age of 21 to accompany them using the J-2 dependent visa category. To request a J-2 dependent DS-2019, the J-1 principal visa holder should submit the following documents:
- J-2 dependent biographical information (located in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Applicant Request Form)
- Passport of J-2 dependent
- Proof of relationship (i.e., marriage certificate for spouse or birth certificate for child)
- Additional proof of funding (required to demonstrate $600/month of funding for spouse, and $400/month of funding per child)
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Visit during office hours to drop off/pick up documents or to request a travel signature.
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