J-1 Exchange Visitor Program


The objective of J-1 exchange visitor program is "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges." [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961]

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for the express purpose of promoting international educational exchange of expertise and stimulating collaborative teaching and research efforts.  Exchange is truly at the core of the program  based on this philosophy and directive.

The J-1 program provides opportunities for international scholars and students looking to learn about US culture and to gain practical experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

More information can be found on the Department of State website.  

Who Qualifies as a J-1 Exchange Visitor? +

J-1 Exchange Visitors can be a visiting researcher, professor, student, or specialist from a country outside of the United States who has been approved to enter the United States for a specific purpose and for a limited amount of time.   

Categories and Maximum Lengths of Stay: 

• Professor or Research Scholar: Five year (this includes postdoctoral associates and fellows)
• Short-term scholars: Six months
• Visiting research student (non-degree): Two years
• Student intern: One year

Sponsorship:

J-1 visa holders must be primarily funded by either Rutgers, their host university, government agencies, or other legitimate agencies for the duration of their stay. Only 25% of funding requirements may come from personal finances.

Status Document:

DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility

Funding requirements:

J-1 Funding requirements can be found here

Families:

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 who will accompany J-1 visa holders during their time in the United States must obtain a J-2 visa.

Special conditions:

Exchange Visitors may only be employed by their sponsoring department at Rutgers. Occasional lecturing and consultation outside of Rutgers is allowed only with vetting and permission in advance by Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services.

International student interns (paid or unpaid) may only work for their sponsoring department at Rutgers for up to 32 hours per week. 

Visiting Research Students (non-degree) may only be employed by the sponsoring department at Rutgers for a maximum of 20 hours per week. They can only work on projects that will enhance their approved research plan.

J-1 Student Interns vs Visiting Research Students  

The J-1 Student Intern category is reserved for students who are currently in a degree program abroad and seek to visit Rutgers to engage in a project/research-based internship that is integral to the curriculum of the home institution's degree program to which the intern will return. International student interns (paid or unpaid) may only work for their sponsoring department at Rutgers for up to 32 hours per week.   

The J-1 Visiting Research Student category is reserved for students who are currently enrolled in a degree seeking program outside of the US, and are coming to Rutgers to conduct research that is necessary for, or integral to, completion of a degree at their home institution.  Visiting Research Students (non-degree) may only be employed by the sponsoring department at Rutgers for a maximum of 20 hours per week. They can only work on projects that will enhance their approved research plan. 

J-1 Exchange Visitor Responsibilities +

1. The total period of J-1 authorization may not exceed 5 years. This includes time previously spent in J-1 status at another institution.

2. J-1 EVs must submit for approval from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), in writing, any intent to change their work location, title, job duties, or research area prior to the change(s) taking place.

3. J-1 EVs may not accept any employment, on or off campus, which is not listed on the form DS-2019 without first obtaining written authorization from a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) at ISSS.

4. J-1 EVs and their J-2 dependents must maintain health insurance coverage that meets the university level of requirements, valid for the duration of the J-1’s program.

5. J-1 EVs must report to ISSS the end of their affiliation with Rutgers by submitting a J-1 Request to “Close SEVIS Record” through the Sunapsis portal.

6. If a J-2 dependent leaves the U.S. and returns permanently to their home country prior to the J-1, ISSS must receive a “Request to Close J-2 Dependent Record” through the Sunapsis portal.

7. Before traveling outside the U.S. with the intention of re-entering under the J-1 status, foreign nationals must have their form DS-2019 endorsed by an RO/ARO at ISSS. A J-1 travel authorization e-form, approved by the EVs supervisor, must be submitted to ISSS through Sunapsis, before the intended travel date.

8. J-1 Exchange Visitors may not be out of the US for more than 30 days, while in active status unless previously authorized by ISSS and the host professor.

9. Applications for extension of the J-1 status must be submitted by the sponsoring department to ISSS no less than 2 months prior to the program end date indicated on the form DS-2019.

10. J-1 EVs are not eligible for extensions or transfers of the J-1 status if the beneficiary has received a "no objection" letter from the Department of State or a waiver from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services in relation to 212(e); also known as the 2-year home country residence requirement.

11. J-1s are only eligible to transfer to another institution if it is to continue the original program objectives. A transfer-out request requires approval from the Exchange Visitor’s supervisor.

12. The J2 dependents' status is contingent upon the continued validity of the J-1's status. Loss of legal status by the J-1 EV represents automatic loss of legal J2 status for his/her dependents.

13. J-2 dependents may not remain lawfully in the U.S. if the J-1 EV is absent from the country for greater than 30 days.

14. J-1 EVs must notify ISSS of changes of address within 10 days of moving.

15. The foreign national's passport must be valid at all times, for at least 6 months into the future.

Challenges and Restrictions +

212(e) or Two-year Homestay Rule

Certain J-1 exchange visitors are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.  These exchange visitors must reside and be physically present in their country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for an aggregate of at least two years following completion of the exchange program and departure from the United States.  These exchange visitors are ineligible to apply for or receive an H, K, or L nonimmigrant visa, nor are they eligible for an immigrant visa or permanent residence status until they have either complied with the foreign residence requirement, or received a waiver.

You will be subject to the 212(e) if: 

(a)  You are participating in an exchange program financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. Government, your home government, or an international organization which received funding from the U.S. Government or your home government

(b)  Your exchange program involves an area of study or field of specialized knowledge (Skills List) that has been designated as necessary for further development within your home country. The skills list can be found here

(c)  You entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

24 MONTH BAR ON REPEAT PARTICIPATION

(Professor or Research Scholar Category Only)

• When your program ends, you and your dependents are barred from starting a new program in the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar Category for 24 months

• You can re-enter in another J-1 category except Professor or Research Scholar, or you may change to another non-immigrant status as long as you are not subject to the 2-year home residency requirement.

• 5 years – “use it or lose it”. Once your program ends, you cannot utilize unused program time for extensions, transfers or to start a new program.

• Only option: “Short-Term Scholar” category (up to 6 months)

12 MONTH BAR

(Student Non-Degree Only)

If you were present in the US in any J-1 or J-2 status (other than J-1 “short term scholar”) for 6 months or more within a 12 month period, you are subject to a 12 month bar from participating in the categories of “Professor or Research Scholar.” This primarily applies to Visiting Research Students (non-degree).

Grace Period for J-1 Visa Holders

• J-1s: 30 days after end date of DS-2019

• Use this time to shop, sightsee, pack, sell your car, etc.

• Absolutely NO employment, NO research, NO teaching or project work

• Do not cross the U.S. border during the grace period – you  will not be able to come back in!

Extension/Transfer of J-1 Status +

Eligibility for extension depends on your situation. Go to your Dept. administrator to discuss this option well in advance of your DS-2019 expiration date

It is not possible to extend an expired DS-2019!

A transfer is possible in certain cases. You must first find another institution that will accept you and your approved research program. You should also discuss your plans in advance with your host professor and Department Administrator.

J-2 Dependents +

The J-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a consular official at a U.S. embassy or consulate for spouses and dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 exchange visitors who accompany or later join the J-1 Exchange Visitor in the United States.

Maximum length of stay:

This depends on the length of the primary J-1 visa holder's DS-2019 status document. J-2 dependents may not remain in the United States after the J-1 visa holder leaves the country, unless the primary J-1 visa holder’s absence is brief and temporary.

Dependent visas are meant for family members who want to visit the J-1 visa holder in the United States for a significant period of time. If your family member will come for three months or less, we would advise you to apply for a B-2 (tourist visa) instead.

Funding Requirements:

J-1 visa holders must show proof of their own support for living expenses, as well as for their dependents during their time in the U.S.

Travel Information for J-1 Exchange Visitors +

If you are a scholar in J-1 status or a J-2 dependent, you will need a travel signature to re-enter the US in J-status after a visit abroad. 

Please log into the RGLOBAL and request a Travel Authorization Signature.  

Be aware, approval from your Host Faculty or Supervisor is required. Allow approximately 1 week for processing.  

Please note Exchange Visitors should not be out of the country for more than thirty (30) days, as it will be considered a disruption of program. 

Helpful Links for J-1 Exchange Visitors +