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J-1 Exchange Visitor Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The US Department of State has authorized the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) to administer the J-1 Exchange Visitor program from Texas State University.

    TIEC charges a fee of $495 to provide this service. This is a one-time fee and may be paid by the sponsoring individual, department, or scholar.

    International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) acts as an intermediary between the sponsoring department and TIEC to facilitate the immigration process. Review the steps below to invite a J-1 scholar.

    1. Each J-1 category has a specific program objective. Review the J-1 Exchange Visitor Category website to identify which category is best for your international scholar.
    2. Once you have decided which category is best, review the Getting Started website to understand which documents are required when inviting a J-1 Exchange Visitor.
    3. Submit required documents to ISSS using the J-1 Exchange Visitor Request Portal to request a DS-2019.
  • Consider and be aware of the Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement. and 12 and 24-month bars (see key J-1 regulations). Some J-1 Exchange Visitors have this requirement which prevents them from changing to another status, like H-1 or F-1.

    A J-1 can apply for a waiver of the Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement. However, once the waiver is approved, no more J-1 program extensions are permitted and the J-1 must immediately apply for a change of status.

    Timing is a real consideration in this scenario. In this case, think of starting with the H-1, instead of the J-1. The H-1 status enables an international to remain in the US for as long as six years, as long as he or she is working with the entity indicated on his or her valid H-1 approval notice.

    Review the Guidelines for Hiring International Faculty and Staff for more information.

  • For repeat participation, the J-1 short-term scholar category is the best option.

    Exchange visitor program periods must be less than six months. Otherwise, the exchange visitor must wait at least one year outside the U.S. before they may begin a new program.

    Review the 12 and 24-month bars for more information.

  • Each J-1 category has a specific program objective with a defined limitation of stay. Review the J-1 Exchange Visitor Category website to identify which the limitation of stay per exchange visitor category.

  • An Exchange Visitor may not arrive more than 30 days before the program start date stated on the Form DS-2019.

  • If a J-1 Exchange Visitor completes the program on or before the program end date, the sponsor or Exchange Visitor must contact ISSS at

    ISSS must notify TIEC to complete the J-1 Exchange Visitor's immigration record upon program completion and permanent departure from the US.

  • Each exchange visitor category has a limitation of stay. A program extension may be granted by TIEC if the limitation of stay has not been exceeded.

    Review each program's limitation of stay on the J-1 Exchange Visitor category website.

    Request a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Extension.

  • The sponsoring individual or department serve as the first point of contact for a J-1 Exchange Visitor.

    International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) serves as the intermediary between the sponsor and TIEC.

    Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) is authorized by the US Department of State to administer the J-1 exchange visitor program.

  • The Form DS-2019 is a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J-nonimmigrant) that is created by a Responsible Officer (TIEC) in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

    The DS-2019 allows a prospective Exchange Visitor to apply for a J-1 visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consular office outside the US. The J-1 visa is necessary for an Exchange Visitor to be granted permission to enter the U.S.

    A sample Form DS-2019 can be viewed on the Study in the States website.

  • The Change of Status (COS) process only changes your status, for example, the classification indicated on your I-94 record and not the visa stamp in your passport.

    To receive the J-1 visa stamp in your passport, you can either:

    1. Apply for a change of status in the US using the Form I-539 (and Form I-539A if you have dependents), then once approved, travel outside of the US and apply for an F-1 visa at a US consulate in your home country to be able to return to the US as an F-1 student.
    • Important Update for in country change of status: Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign. Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions. Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. USCIS will reject any revised Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.
    1. Obtain a Form I-20 from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and return to your home country to apply for an F-1 visa at a US consulate to reenter the US as an F-1 student. Review Steps After Being Admitted and complete Step 1 to request an I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa outside the US.

    Eligibility for change of status to J-1


    Aliens holding nonimmigrant status C, D, K, WB or WT (transit, crewman, fiancée or fiancé, waiver business, or waiver tourist) are not eligible for change to any other status within the U.S., including J-1. A J-2 who is subject to the 212(e) home residence requirement may not change from J-2 to J-1 status in the United States. Aliens who are in good standing in any other nonimmigrant classification may apply to change to any other nonimmigrant status for which they qualify.

For more frequently asked questions, review the Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Common Questions.