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J-1 Exchange Visitors

STOP: Contact Faculty Records to secure an appointed position for your prospective visitor or employee before initiating visa paperwork.

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  • Process and Procedures for Inviting J-1 Exchange Visitors (please read first)

    • The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is an excellent way for departments to invite international scholars to come to Texas State to teach, conduct research or study.  The purpose of this program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of education and cultural exchanges.”  To invite an international scholar, the sponsoring individual/department must first secure an appointment through Faculty Records.  The sponsoring individual/department is responsible for providing campus privileges (such as office space, use of the library, computer labs, parking, etc.).  In addition, arrangements such as housing and transportation should be taken into consideration when inviting someone from abroad.  After the appointment has been approved, the sponsoring individual/department should contact the International Office to assist with the immigration paperwork process. 

      The U.S. State Department has authorized an organization in Austin called Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) to administer the J-1 Exchange Visitor program for Texas State.  TIEC charges a fee of $255 to provide this service.  This is a one-time fee and may be paid by the sponsor or scholar.  TIEC, which is a vendor in SAP, will forward an invoice to the sponsoring department or they can bill the scholar who may pay by check, money order, or credit card.  The International Office acts as intermediary between the sponsor and TIEC to facilitate the process and assist the sponsor with meeting Program requirements such as providing orientation and cultural activities for the scholar.

      The process involves six parties:
      1) The Department of State (DOS),
      2) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
      3) Responsible Officers (TIEC),
      4) The Texas State International Office,
      5) J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Sponsors (you),
      6) Exchange Visitors (your invited scholar or student (and their dependents, if any)),
       
      Related Estimated Costs
      TIEC processing fee (can be paid by Sponsor or Exchange Visitor)                                     $255
      SEVIS fee (paid by Exchange Visitor online to DHS)                                                         $180
      Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee (paid by Exchange Visitor to DOS)                 $140
      Nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (paid by Exchange Visitor to DOS)                  
      varies by county, see http://www.usembassy.gov/
      Estimated living expenses for J-1 Scholar                                                                                     $1200/month (suggested minimum)
      Estimated living expenses per dependent (if applicable)                                                                  $500/month (suggested minimum)
      Estimated costs for fulltime J-1 Student accepted into a degree program                                         consult with International Office
       
      Responsibilities of Sponsors
      • Communicate with your prospective Exchange Visitor and obtain required information and documents from them. It is recommended that this process begin at least three months before the anticipated arrival of the Exchange Visitor to the U.S.
       
      • To invite your prospective Exchange Visitor, please submit the following required documents to the International Office:
       
      Documentation for Professor, Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar, Student Intern and Non-degree Student Categories:
       
      1. A completed and signed TIEC J-1 Exchange Visitor Information Sheet (see attachment B);
       
      2. A copy of an invitation letter from the sponsor or department addressed to the scholar (see attachment C);
       
      3. Proof of current funding/financial support in which the total amount of funds available must be stated;
      These original financial documents should guarantee the equivalent at least $1200 a month for living expenses; this information can be included in the invitation letter.
      _ A letter of support from the scholar’s financial sponsor such as home government, U.S. government, Texas State, or an international organization; and/or
      _ A bank statement or a letter from the scholar’s financial institution.
       
      4. A copy (scanned or faxed is fine) of the Exchange Visitor’s passport biometrics (identification page) including:
      Name, picture , and expiration page(s) and any extension of validity pages; also copies of biometrics of spouse or dependents under the age of 21 who will accompany the Exchange Visitor, if any.
       
      5. The scholar's curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé (not necessary for student categories);
       
      6. Documentation of the scholar's English proficiency;
      It is required that a method be identified that was used to determine that the English level of the proposed J-1 Exchange Visitor is sufficient for the activities in which he or she will participate. The following are suggested methods of determination provided by TIEC.
      ·         Adequate scores on English proficiency tests such as IBT, IELTS, and TOEIC or other standardized tests in English such as GRE and GMAT
      ·         Interview(s) with the scholar by faculty at your institution who determine that the scholar has sufficient English proficiency. This could be by phone, Skype, etc.
      ·         Evidence from the scholar's professional experience and accomplishments that indicates a sufficient level of English proficiency, such as their publications written in English, number of courses taught in English or number of presentations given using English, etc.
      7.  (Only applicable if the Exchange Visitor has previously been in the U.S. in J-1 Exchange Visitor status)
      Copies of previous DS-2019s for J-1/J-2 status issued by any other U.S. institutions;
       
      Dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors (J-2 Dependent)
      Prospective Exchange Visitors should indicate whether or not they plan to have any family members accompany them.  If so, they must complete the relevant section on the second page of the TIEC J-1 Exchange Visitor Information Sheet and supply copies of the passport biometrics pages for each dependent. In addition to the $1200 per month for living expenses for the Exchange Visitor, proof of financial support is required for each J-2 Dependent. (Minimum $500 per dependent per month)
       
      The International Office and TIEC
      After gathering the above required documents, please email them to international@txstate.edu or fax them to the office to 245-8264. Upon receipt of all of the documents, the International Office will forward them to TIEC in Austin. TIEC will produce a DS-2019 which is a form that will be used by your Exchange Visitor to apply for their J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.
       
      TIEC charges a fee of $255 per Exchange Visitor to provide these services. This is a one-time fee. No additional fees will be charged except for express mail service when requested. TIEC, which is a vendor in SAP, will forward an invoice to your office or bill the Exchange Visitor. However, the fee may be paid prior to issuance of the DS-2019 by check, money order, or credit card. TIEC can usually process DS-2019s and mail them to the International Office within one week of receipt of all required information. You will be contacted when the DS-2019 is ready for pickup at the International Office. You will be responsible for sending the DS-2019 to your Exchange Visitor or you can request that TIEC FedEx it directly to the Exchange Visitor and bill you or the Exchange Visitor.
       
      Important:  Notify the International Office immediately if an Exchange Visitor cannot arrive within 30 days of the program start date.  TIEC will have to amend the Exchange Visitor’s DS-2019 by deferring the start date and issuing a revised DS-2019, which has to be mailed to the Exchange Visitor.
  • Key Regulations & Procedures for J-1 visiting Researchers & Professors & their J-2 Dependents

    • The Exchange Visitor Program provides opportunities for internationals come to the United States for a variety of educational and cultural exchange purposes under the sponsorship of a school, an agency, or an organization that has been designated as an exchange visitor sponsor by the United States Department of State.

      The Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) in Austin is a designated sponsor for the exchange visitor program at Texas State University. The Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for J-1 Exchange Visitors at Texas State is located at TIEC. The RO and ARO are the only people who have signing authority for the program. Therefore, any employment permission for J-1 Exchange Visitors at Texas State must be arranged by the International Office with the Officers in Austin.  PLEASE do not work without authorization from the RO or ARO. Participation in unauthorized employment is in violation of the regulations, results in loss of your J-1 status and subjects the exchange visitor to termination from the program.

    • Categories of Exchange Visitor

      There are 10 categories of Exchange Visitor however TIEC is authorized to issue a DS-2019 for the categories of Professor, Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar (Max: 6 months), Student Intern, Non-degree Student, and Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral Student.  Here are the categories in which you can consider inviting exchange visitors:
       
      Short-term Scholar/ Professor/ Researcher Categories
      These categories refer to individuals who are in the U.S. as visiting researchers or professors under the auspices of the US Department of State and a Designated Program Sponsor. They are eligible to receive payment from the organization listed on Form DS-2019 as the source of funds and/or the Designated Program Sponsor for a period of validity as stated on the DS-2019.  Under limited circumstances, J-1s may receive compensation from other institutions provided prior written authorization from the RO of their Designated Program has been secured. The DS-2019 authorizes the above stated employment. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is not required.
      *Professor or Research Scholar
      A professor is defined as: 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.
      A research scholar is defined as: An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research 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.
      Academic credentials:  Professors and Research Scholars are expected to have appropriate academic or similar credentials. Sponsors are bound by the requirement that they "screen and select prospective Exchange Visitors to ensure that they are eligible for program participation," and that they ensure that the "program is suitable to the Exchange Visitor's background, needs, and experience."
       
      Five-year maximum, three-week minimum participation: A professor or research scholar may be authorized to participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete his or her program, provided such time does not exceed five years. The minimum program duration for a Professor or Research Scholar is three weeks. The five-year period is not an aggregate of five years. It is a continuous five-year period given to a participant on a "use or lose" basis. The five-year period begins on the program begin date. It is not possible to extend an Exchange Visitor Professor or Research Scholar's participation beyond five years. In addition to the general eligibility rules, participation in the Professor or Research Scholar categories is subject to the following additional conditions unique to participation in those categories:
      • The prospective Exchange Visitor cannot be a candidate for a tenure track position
      • Prior participation in any J category may subject the prospective Exchange Visitor to a "12-month bar"
      • Prior participation in the Professor or Research Scholar category may subject the prospective Exchange Visitor to a "24-month bar" on repeat participation
      *Short-term Scholar
      Caution: this category should only be used for those scholars who are coming for a short period and have no plans to continue beyond the 6-month limit.
      A short-term scholar is 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, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. 
      In addition to the language of the regulation itself, this may also be helpful when determining whether the short-term category is appropriate for the planned activities of the Exchange Visitor:
      • "Educators, scientists, research fellows, writers, museum administrators, librarians, and similar persons of recognized expertise are examples of participants appropriate for this category."
      • "The goal of short-term scholar exchanges is to increase the velocity of the interchange of knowledge and skills and collaborative research efforts between foreign and American scholars. This may be accomplished by providing foreign scholars the opportunity to share ideas with their American colleagues, participate in educational and professional programs, confer on common problems and projects, and thereby promote improved professional relationships and communications."
      • "...this category is intended only as a vehicle for short-term collaboration and interchange..."
      The maximum duration of stay as a Short-Term Scholar is 6 months.  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. Short-term scholars are not subject to the three-week minimum length of program requirement to which most other Exchange Visitors are subject. And so, their stay can be anywhere from one day to six months. 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.

      In general, a change of category is not permitted. At the discretion of the U.S. Department of State, an exchange visitor may be permitted to change categories (i.e. change from a J-1 Research Scholar to J-1 Student). A change of category must be consistent with and related to the participant's original objective. Sometimes, a change in category is considered a change of objective and is not permitted. If the exchange visitor applies for a change in category and it is rejected by the U.S. Department of State, the exchange visitor is expected to leave the country within 30 days of receiving the notice or within 30 days of the expiration date of the exchange visitor's current DS-2019, whichever is later. An approved application for change of category should be received by the J-1 exchange visitor before the exchange visitor begins activities in the new category. The exchange visitor is considered to be in legal status while the application is under consideration by the U.S. Department of State.

       

    • Definition of "employment":

      "Employment" is any type of work performed, or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, or for any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other compensation for work performed, the activity is not defined as "employment, but is considered to be volunteer work."

      The exchange visitor may receive compensation from the sponsor when the activities are part of the visitor's program. To work for any employer other than the school named on the DS-2019, you should make an appointment to see an international student advisor. The employment must be directly related to your program objectives, incidental to your program activities, and should not delay completion of your program. In addition, it must be approved by your department head or supervisor.

      With the sponsor's permission, professors and research scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations. These activities must be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor program, incidental to the exchange visitor's primary program activities, and not delay the completion date of the exchange visitors program. 

      The exchange visitor is prohibited from engaging in unauthorized employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment is in violation of the regulations and subjects the exchange visitor to termination from the program. One form of unauthorized employment is working or continuing to work without a valid DS-2019. In other words, any work performed after an DS-2019 has expired is unauthorized

    • The maximum program length is 5 years. Please note that J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to leave the United States within 30 days of the date your department indicates you have completed your program, even if the period on your DS-2019 is longer.

    • Requests for extensions are initiated by having your department complete and submit a new DS-2019 request form to the International Office. You should begin this process at least two months prior to the end date on your current DS-2019. Your extension will be processed at TIEC. Once your DS-2019 is completed, you may pick it up at the International Office.

    • Prior to traveling outside the U.S. with the intent to return in your current program status requires the signature of the RO or ARO in Austin. If you plan to travel outside the United States please notify the IO at least three weeks before you plan to leave so we can recommend what type of documentation you may need and so that there will be enough time to obtain the signature or documentation. When you travel outside the United States and you plan to return to the United States during the time of your J-1 program, you must take a properly endorsed DS-2019 with you. Under some circumstances it will be necessary for you to obtain a new DS-2019. If your visa and your DS-2019 are valid, it is likely that you will only need a signature of the RO or ARO on the back of your current DS-2019. Please bring your current DS-2019, passport, and I-94 card with you when you come to our office.

    • According to the DOS, an individual who has participated in the Exchange Visitor Program as a professor or researcher becomes subject to a two-year bar on “repeat participation” in those categories under two circumstances:

      i.   If the exchange visitor completes a full five years of program participation with one or more sponsors; or
      ii.  If the exchange visitor completes a particular exchange visitor program, and   the SEVIS record becomes Inactive before the full five-year period is over. In this case, the five-year window is “closed,” the individual is not eligible to access the remaining unused time, and the individual must wait for two years before beginning a new program as a J professor or research scholar.
      The second circumstance subjects the participant to the two-year bar regardless of how much time he or she spent on the program.
      b) Application of Two-Year Bar to Participant Who Completed Programs Prior to SEVIS 5.4.
      The 2-year bar will apply only to those who completed their program on or after the new rule becomes effective.
      c) When the Short-Term Scholar category can be used to avoid the two-year Bar?
      The maximum duration of stay as a short-term scholar is 6 months. Choosing to invite a visitor in the Short Term Scholar category rather than the Professor or Research Scholar categories may require making the expected duration of program participation more defined in advance of the exchange.
       
                      d) Does this two-year bar replace the one-year bar?
       
      No. A former J-1 scholar is not eligible to begin an exchange program as a professor or research scholar based on a DS-2019 issued to begin a new program if he or she was physically present in any J status (including J-2 status) for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement set for on his or her Form DS-2019. In this case, the 12-month bar is applicable. This general rule has three exceptions:
      ·        J-1 transfers
      ·        In J status for less than 6 months. (If he/she was in research scholar or professor category, he/she will be subject to a two-year bar)
      ·    In J status as a short-term scholar
    • Some J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents are subject to this requirement. Upon the completion of the J-1's program objectives, the J-1 and J-2(s) are expected to return to their country within 30 days or within 30 days of the expiration date on your DS-2019, whichever is sooner. If you are subject to this requirement, you are restricted from changing to some other types of nonimmigrant status, and restricted from changing to permanent residency. Under certain circumstances you may apply for a waiver of this requirement. Processing the application may take up to one year.

      Note, if you receive a waiver, you are not permitted to apply for an extension of your DS-2019. Consequently, once the waiver is received, you should take steps to change to some other non immigrant status.It may take up to one year to receive a reply to a waiver application. Therefore, you should make sure that you have sufficient time indicated on your DS-2019 to apply for the waiver.

    • Federal law requires that J-1 Exchange Visitors have health insurance for themselves and their J-2 dependents for the full duration of the J-1 program. The type of health insurance needed must meet specific coverage requirements. If you fail to obtain health insurance or if your health insurance does not meet the necessary requirements for you or your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate your program and report the termination to the U.S. Department of State.    

    • In order to invite family members (i.e. husband, wife, or children) to join you on the J-2 visa you should submit an DS-2019 request form to International Office. After you pick up the DS-2019, you should send it to your dependents so that they may apply for a J-1 visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate.

      J-2 dependents may apply for employment authorization with USCIS as long as the income from the employment is not needed to support the J-1 exchange visitor and his/her dependents. It normally takes from two to three months to receive employment permission (The Employment Authorization Document or EAD) or to renew employment permission. Therefore, applicants should plan accordingly in order to avoid undesired breaks in employment.

      J-2 dependents who want to change to J-1 status must do so at least within 6 months of their initial arrival to the United States while the J-1 participant is still in the U.S. and in lawful J-1 status.

      For more information please make an appointment to see a J-1 Exchange Visitor Advisor.

    • If a J-1 exchange visitor violates his or her J-1 immigration status, it is possible to apply to be reinstated to lawful J-1 status in some cases. Reinstatement applications are approved or denied at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State. If a reinstatement application is not approved, the exchange visitor's program will be terminated and the exchange visitor will be required to leave the United States.

  • The International Office will provide Exchange Visitors with arrival information to help them know what to do and where to go upon arrival in the U.S., including contact information for TIEC (name and telephone number of the RO/ARO) and other points of contact.

    The sponsor should arrange health insurance for Exchange Visitors if they are eligible to receive health insurance through Texas State, or make sure that they will arrange it in their home country.  All J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by law to have health insurance for themselves and accompanying family members in J-2 Dependent status.

  • Upon Arrival of the Exchange Visitor in the U.S.

    • J-1 Exchange Visitors and any J-2 Dependents must report to the International Office as soon as they arrive in the United States, and bring the following:

      1.       The DS-2019

      2.       The passport with J visa

      3.       The I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (small white card stapled in the passport by the Immigration Officer at the port of entry)

      4.       Proof of health insurance

      5.       Health Insurance Statement Form for J Visa Holders

      The International Office will forward a copy of these documents to TIEC.  TIEC must validate the visitor’s program participation in SEVIS within 30 days after the program start date.  To do this, TIEC must have these documents as well as a U.S. address for the exchange visitor in a timely manner.  Failure to validate the visitor’s record within 30 days of the program start date listed in SEVIS will result in automatic cancellation of the record.

    • Federal law requires that J-1 Exchange Visitors be provided with an orientation that upon arrival.  The International Office will provide Exchange Visitors and accompanying family members with an orientation that focuses on immigration and cultural issues and includes, but is not limited to:

      • Life and customs in the United States.
      • Local community resources, such as public transportation, medical centers, recreational centers, and banks.
      •  Available health care, emergency assistance.

      The International Office will provide this orientation however it may also be combined with one that the department provides.

    • To be eligible to participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor program in the United States, Exchange Visitors are required by law to obtain and maintain appropriate medical insurance throughout the duration of their program.  If the Exchange Visitor is benefits eligible at Texas State, he or she will only need medical evacuation and repatriation insurance.  Information about this additional insurance may be obtained at the International Office. 

      MINIMUM INSURANCE COVERAGE REQUIRED

      Major Medical Coverage......................................................................... $50,000

      Medical Evacuation................................................................................. $10,000

      Repatriation of Remains......................................................................... $   7,500

      Maximum Deductible per Accident/illness............................................. $      500

      MINIMUM POLICY RATING

      (Must Comply With One)

      A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above;

      Insurance Solvency International Ltd., rating of “A-” or above;

      Standard and Poor’s rating of “A-” or above

      Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above.
       

      The cost of medical insurance is often based on age of the Exchange Visitor and varies with the provider.  It usually ranges from $100-200 dollars per month.  There are many companies that specialize in J-1 Exchange Visitor medical insurance.  Below are some companies that offer plans which suit Exchange Visitor’s needs.  The International Office does not endorse any company and provides these links for informational purposes only.

    • Federal law requires that cross cultural activities be provided for J-1 Exchange Visitors.  The International Office can make recommendations to the sponsor regarding these activities.  These could consist of attendance at on or off campus events, outings, etc.

      •  Report any changes in the Exchange Visitor’s address to the International Office or TIEC within 10 days of a move.TIEC must update the address in SEVIS within 21 days.

      •   Report immediately to the International Office or TIEC any changes in the Exchange Visitor’s program, especially changes related to the source of funding, program length, and research content.

      • Submit extension requests to the International Office or TIEC at least one month before the end date of the current DS-2019.  Extension requests are not routinely approved by the DOS.  The situation must be unique and exceptional.  There are no extensions for Short-term Scholar.

      •   Submit “Out of Country” requests to the International Office or TIEC in advance if the Exchange Visitor will be outside the U.S. during his or her program.
      • Notify the International Office or TIEC immediately if the Exchange Visitor or any of his or her dependents leave the U.S. permanently before the program end date on the exchange visitor’s DS-2019.

      •  Inform the International Office or TIEC when Exchange Visitors complete their program and leave the U.S.

      • When Exchange Visitors want to travel outside the U.S. they must first obtain a “travel signature” on their DS-2019 to facilitate re-entry.  They should submit their original DS-2019 to the International Office or TIEC one month before the travel along with an email from their sponsor stating approval to travel, and an email from themselves answering the following questions

        a. “How long will you be out of the country?”

        b. “What is the purpose of your travel?”