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J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

Exchange Visitors participate in the US Department of State Exchange Visitor Program. The J-1 is divided into multiple Exchange Visitor categories, each designed for a specific type of exchange activity. Exchange Visitors participate in a sponsor's exchange visitor program within one particular exchange visitor category, which should reflect their primary activity.

Texas State University works with TIEC to authorize prospective Exchange Visitors a Form DS-2019 for only the following six categories:

  • Professor
  • Research Scholar
  • Short-term Scholar
  • Student:
    • Degree-seeking (bachelors, masters, doctoral)
    • Non-degree
    • Intern

Review the Department of State - Exchange Visitor Program Category Requirements Guide.

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  • The professor category is for a foreign national who enters the U.S. for the primary purpose of teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at accredited post-secondary academic institutions, museums, libraries or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsoring organization.

    Professor must:

    • Not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
    • Not have participated in and completed a professor program within the last 24 months preceding the beginning date of their new program’s commencement;
    • Not have participated in a J-Visa program for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of a professor program unless he or she meet one of the following exceptions:
      • The participant is currently in a professor program and is transferring to another institution in the US to continue his or her current J-1 program;
      • The participant’s prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J-visa program was less than six months in duration; and
      • The prior participation was as a short-term scholar.

    Benefits

    Educational enrichment: Professors facilitate the exchange of ideas and research in a variety of fields between people of the U.S. and people of other countries.

    Limitation of Stay

    3 weeks to 5 years

    Extension

    A professor may extend his or her stay up to the 5 year maximum or transfer to another program within that period, but extensions beyond 5 years are not permitted.

    Payment

    This category is eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the designated sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    The Form DS-2019 authorizes the above stated employment. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the professor category triggers the 24-month bar restrictions. Professors who have entered the U.S. under the Exchange Visitor Program or who have acquired such status while in the U.S., and who have completed his or her program are not eligible for participation as a professor or research scholar for a period of 24 months following the end date of such program participation as identified on the Form DS-2019.

    Sponsors are required to:

    • Screen and select qualified foreign nationals to further education, research and exchange initiatives;
    • Monitor the Exchange Visitor’s stay in the U.S., ensure that they are progressing in the work being performed or the research being conducted; and
    • Ensure that they are involved in cross-cultural programs where they can learn about the U.S. and its people.
    • Ensure exchange visitors have appropriate academic or similar credentials.
    • Ensure that the program is suitable to the Exchange Visitor's background, needs, and experience.

    Sponsors must ensure the following for the Exchange Visitor:

    Language Proficiency: Verify that Exchange Visitors have the education and credentials necessary to carry out the activity for which they are entering the U.S. and that they have sufficient proficiency in the English language to function in an English-speaking environment.

  • This category is for a foreign national who enters the U.S. for the primary purpose of conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. A research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

    The research scholar’s appointment to a position shall be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent.

    Incidental lectures or short-term consultations are permitted with the approval of the responsible officer (TIEC) so long as they are directly related to the objectives of the participant’s program, and do not delay the exchange program’s completion date.

    Research Scholars must:

    • Not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
    • Not have participated in and completed a research scholar program within the last 24 months preceding the beginning date of their new program’s commencement;
    • Not have participated in a J-Visa program for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of a research scholar program unless they meet one of the following exceptions:
      • The participant is currently in a research scholar program and is transferring to another institution in the U.S. to continue their current J-1 program;
      • The participant’s prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J-visa program was less than six months in duration; and
      • Any prior participation was as a short-term scholar.

    Benefits

    Educational enrichment: Scholars facilitate the exchange of ideas and research in a variety of fields between people of the U.S. and people of other countries.

    The exchange of research scholars promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

    Limitation of Stay

    3 weeks to 5 years

    Extension

    A research scholar may extend his or her stay up to the 5 year maximum or transfer to another program within that period, but extensions beyond 5 years are not permitted.

    Payment

    This category is eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the designated sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    The Form DS-2019 authorizes the above stated employment. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the research scholar category triggers the 24-month bar restrictions. Research Scholars who have entered the U.S. under the Exchange Visitor Program or who have acquired such status while in the U.S., and who have completed his or her program are not eligible for participation as a professor or research scholar for a period of 24 months following the end date of such program participation as identified on the Form DS-2019.

    Program Sponsors are required to:

    • Screen and select qualified foreign nationals to further education, research and exchange initiatives;
    • Monitor the visitor’s stay in the U.S., ensure that they are progressing in the work being performed or the research being conducted; and
    • Ensure that they are involved in cross-cultural programs where they can learn about the U.S. and its people.
    • Ensure exchange visitors have appropriate academic or similar credentials.
    • Ensure that the program is suitable to the Exchange Visitor's background, needs, and experience.

    Sponsors must ensure the following for exchange visitors:

    Language Proficiency: Verify that exchange visitors have the education and credentials necessary to carry out the activity for which they are entering the U.S. and that they have sufficient proficiency in the English language to function in an English-speaking environment.

  • Professors, research scholars, and other individuals with similar education or accomplishments who travel to the U.S. for a short-term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train or demonstrate special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. Examples of short-term scholars are: educators, scientists, research fellows, writers, museum administrators, librarians, and similar persons of recognized expertise.

    Short-Term Scholars must:

    • Be a professor or research scholar or someone with similar education and or experience.

    Benefits

    Educational enrichment: Participants collaborate on special research projects, teach a semester at a college or university, or lecture, consult or observe in a variety of settings in education and research in the U.S.

    Engage in short-term collaborations and interchange of research between foreign scholars and their American colleagues, participate in educational and professional programs, confer on common problems and projects, and thereby promote improved professional relationships and communications

    Limitation of Stay

    1 day to 6 months

    Note: The maximum duration of stay is six months; No program extension will be considered; and No change of category will be considered.

    Extension

    A short-term scholar may extend his or her stay up to the six-month maximum or transfer to another program within that period, but extensions beyond 6 months are not permitted.

    Payment

    This category is eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the Designated Program Sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    The Form DS-2019 authorizes the above stated employment. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the short-term scholar category does not trigger the 12-month or 24-month bar restrictions; therefore this category would be ideal for a scholar who would like to be able to return on an annual basis to the U.S. without restriction.

    Program Sponsors are required to:

    • Screen and select qualified foreign nationals to carry out exchange initiatives;
    • Monitor the Exchange Visitor’s stay while in the U.S. and assist with any issues that may occur;
    • Ensure that the foreign national is successfully carrying out the responsibilities for which entry to the U.S. was granted;
    • Ensure exchange visitors have appropriate academic or similar credentials;
    • Ensure that the program is suitable to the Exchange Visitor's background, needs, and experience;
    • Ensure that exchange visitors are involved in cross-cultural programs where they can learn about the U.S. and its people;
    • Ensure that the exchange participants and his/her dependents, if any, are covered by health insurance; and
    • Ensure that exchange visitors have sufficient finances to participate in the program and to support their spouse and dependents, if any.
  • A full-time student pursuing a degree objective at a degree-granting, post-secondary, accredited academic institution

    College/University Students must:

    • Be financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of their home country, an international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute, or supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds; or
      • Some institutions define substantial as at least 51% of the funding requirement must come in the form of scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, or similar forms of non-personal or family support.
    • Be carried out according to an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government, or according to a written agreement between American and foreign educational institutions, an American educational institution and a foreign government or a state or local government in the U.S. and a foreign government.

    Benefits

    • School Credit: University/college students may engage in degree-granting programs until completion
    • Employment: Students may engage in part-time employment under certain conditions, including good academic standing at their host institution.
    • Academic training: Students may participate in academic training with or without wages or other remuneration during their studies with the approval of the academic dean or adviser and the responsible officer (TIEC). The responsible officer must determine eligibility and provide "written approval in advance," and the student's SEVIS record must be updated to reflect the approved academic training, before the student begins the training.

    Limitation of Stay

    3 weeks to length of time needed to complete academic program

    Extension

    Degree-seeking students do not need to apply for a program extension since they are admitted to the U.S. for the duration of stay needed to complete the J-1's academic program. There is no regulatory limit on the time a student is permitted to remain in the U.S.

    Payment

    This category may be eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the Designated Program Sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    Employment

    This category may be eligible for work authorization. Authorization must be obtained from TIEC prior to engaging in work. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required. For more information review the Employment tab on the Key Regulations website.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the degree-seeking student category for more than 6 months does trigger the 12-month bar restrictions for J-1 Exchange Visitors returning for initial participation as a Professor or Research Scholar.

    Program Sponsors Sponsors are required to:

    • Secure sufficient background information on the students to ensure that they have the academic credentials required for enrollment; or
    • Ensure that the foreign national has been admitted to, or accepted for a student internship program offered by, the post-secondary accredited academic institution.

    Sponsors must ensure the following for participants:

    • Ensure that they pursue a full course of study at a post-secondary accredited academic institution in the U.S.
  • A student engaged full-time in a prescribed course of study which does not lead to a degree. Non-degree student must come through an established exchange program.

    College/University Students must:

    • Be financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of their home country, an international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute, or supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds;
      • Some institutions define substantial as at least 51% of the funding requirement must come in the form of scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, or similar forms of non-personal or family support.
    • Be carried out according to an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government, or according to a written agreement between American and foreign educational institutions, an American educational institution and a foreign government or a state or local government in the U.S. and a foreign government; or
    • Pursue a non-degree program must be enrolled full-time in a prescribed course of study.

    Benefits

    • School Credit: University/college students may engage in degree-granting programs until completion or non-degree granting programs for no more than 24 months.
    • Employment: Students may engage in part-time employment under certain conditions, including good academic standing at their host institution.
    • Academic training: Students may participate in academic training with or without wages or other remuneration during their studies with the approval of the academic dean or adviser and the responsible officer at their sponsor organization.

    Limitation of Stay

    3 weeks to 24 months (including academic training)

    Extension

    Non-degree students are not eligible for a program extension beyond the 24 months.

    Payment

    This category may be eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the Designated Program Sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    Employment

    This category may be eligible for work authorization. Authorization must be obtained from TIEC prior to engaging in work. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required. For more information review the Employment tab on the Key Regulations website.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the non-seeking student category for more than 6 months does trigger the 12-month bar restrictions for J-1 Exchange Visitors returning for initial participation as a Professor or Research Scholar.

    Program Sponsors Sponsors are required to:

    • Secure sufficient background information on the students to ensure that they have the academic credentials required for enrollment; or
    • Ensure that the foreign national has been admitted to, or accepted for a student internship program offered by, the post-secondary accredited academic institution.

    Sponsors must ensure the following for participants:

    • Ensure that they pursue a full course of study at a post-secondary accredited academic institution in the U.S.
  • A student currently pursuing a degree objective at a foreign institution of higher education temporarily participating in an internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives of the student’s degree program in his or her home country.

    Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the U.S. to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.

    Benefits

    • School Credit: University/college students may engage in degree-granting programs until completion or non-degree granting programs for no more than 24 months.
    • Employment: Students may engage in part-time employment under certain conditions, including good academic standing at their host institution.
    • Academic training: Students may participate in academic training with or without wages or other remuneration during their studies with the approval of the academic dean or adviser and the responsible officer at their sponsor organization.

    Student Interns must be foreign nationals:

    • Who are currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S.; or
    • Who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.
    • Who are participating in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s degree program in his or her home country.

    Benefits

    Practical Experience: The program bridges the gap between formal education and practical work experience.

    Limitation of Stay

    3 weeks to 12 months

    Extension

    Student interns are not permitted a program extension beyond the program maximum of 12 months.

    Payment

    This category may be eligible to receive payment from Texas State University as the source of funds and/or the Designated Program Sponsor for a period of validity (from the start to the end date) as stated on the DS-2019.

    Employment

    Internships must be full-time and consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week.

    Repeat Participation

    Participation in the student intern category for more than 6 months does trigger the 12-month bar restrictions for J-1 Exchange Visitors returning for initial participation as a Professor or Research Scholar.

    Limitations/Exceptions for Intern work environment

    • Interns cannot work in unskilled or casual labor positions, in positions that require or involve childcare or elder care or in any kind of position that involves medical patient care or contact. Nor can interns work in positions that require more than 20 percent clerical or office support work
    • Internships are offered in the following occupational categories:
      • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
      • Arts and Culture;
      • Construction and Building Trades;
      • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services;
      • Health Related Occupations;
      • Hospitality and Tourism;
      • Information Media and Communications;
      • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
      • Public Administration and Law; and
      • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations.

    Program Sponsors are required to:

    • Conduct site visits of host organizations that:
      • Have not previously participated successfully in the sponsor’s program;
      • Have fewer than 25 employees; and
      • Have less than $3 million in annual revenue.
    • Collect the following information from all host organizations:
      • Employer Identification Number (EIN);
      • Verification of telephone number, address, brochures, website, etc.; and
      • Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy.

    Sponsors must ensure the following:

    • Participants in programs that exceed six months must be evaluated at midpoint and at the conclusion of the program; and
    • For programs with durations of less than six months, an evaluation is required at the conclusion of the program. All evaluations must be received by the sponsoring organization prior to the end of the participant’s exchange program and must be signed by both the participant and his or her immediate supervisor.

    Hosts are required to:

    • Sign a completed Form DS–7002 – Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) to verify that all placements are appropriate and consistent with the objectives of the interns as outlined in their program applications and as set forth in their T/IPPs. All parties involved in internship programs should recognize that interns are seeking entry-level training and experience. Accordingly, all placements must be tailored to the skills and experience level of the individual intern;
    • Notify sponsors promptly of any concerns about, changes in or deviations from T/IPPs during training and internship programs and contact sponsors immediately in the event of any emergency involving trainees or interns;
    • Abide by all federal, state and local occupational health and safety laws;
    • Abide by all program rules and regulations set forth by the sponsors, including the completion of all mandatory program evaluations;
    • Have sufficient resources, plant, equipment and trained personnel available;
    • Provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring by experienced and knowledgeable staff; and
    • Ensure that interns obtain skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided activities such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several departments, on-the-job training, attendance at conferences and similar learning activities, as appropriate in specific circumstances.

Exchange Visitor Program Limits

Category Minimum Duration Maximum Duration Repeat Participation
Professor 3 weeks

5 years*

Yes (after 24-month bar)
Research Scholar 3 weeks

5 years*

Yes (after 24-month bar)
Short-term Scholar 1 day 6 months Yes (no waiting period)
Degree-seeking Student 3 weeks length of time needed for program Yes
Non-degree Student 3 weeks 24 months Yes
Student Intern 3 weeks 12 months Yes

*Including time spent as either a Professor or Research Scholar.