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J-1 Exchange Visitor

The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was designed by the U.S. Department of State to encourage and facilitate both educational and cultural exchange between the United States and other countries.  The EVP has multiple categories in which foreign nationals may come to the United States to engage in research collaboration, instruction and lecturing.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

International Faculty & Scholars offers four categories of exchange visitors; Research Scholar, Professor, Short-Term Scholar and Specialist.

Research Scholar: 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.

Professor: 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.

Short-Term Scholar: 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.

Specialist:  An expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills. 

Forms & Fees

Funding Requirement

Effective July 1, 2013 the State of Arizona’s baseline eligibility rates for public assistance will change.  As a result, we had to reevaluate our funding requirements for J-1 Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars and their J-2 dependents.  Effective for all program start dates that begin on or after July 1, 2013, the funding requirement will be:

$1,772 per month for J-1 and $620 per month for each J-2 dependent.

This is an increase of $92/month for a J-1 and $30/month for each J-2 dependent.

We are required to confirm that funding requirements have satisfied INA 212(a)(4) before we issue the DS-2019.

INA 212(a)(4)

(4) Public charge.-

(A) In General

Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.

Funding Provided in a Range

In addition, when calculating funding from an outside source that is provided in a range, i.e., $1,400 - $1,800/month, we will calculate the guaranteed funding using the lowest rate in the range.  Only the lowest rate in the range is guaranteed.  If there is a deficit in meeting the monthly required funding when using the lowest rate in the range, additional proof of funding will be required before the DS-2019 can be issued.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ian Wilson, International Scholar Advisor.

J-1 Forms

Fee Structure and Services Provided for Employment-based Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Petitions

  • Effective July 2nd, 2012, IFS increased office processing fees.

Services Provided at No Cost by IFS

Initial consultation and/or referral to a UA approved attorney.

Services Included in Fees

  • Processing of petition (I-129, I-140 & DS-2019).
  • Federal Express to USCIS.
  • One (1) copy of petition.

Associated Expenses Not Included in IFS Fees

  • SEVIS and visa fees.
  • Translations, copies, educational and/or credential evaluations associated with initial petition and/or Request for Evidence (RFE).
  • Review of employment-based PR applications filed by a UA approved outside attorney.
  • All USCIS fees, including, but not limited to:
    • Application fee (varies by petition).
    • $500 Anti-Fraud fee (H-1B’s only).
    • Premium processing fee ($1,225 optional).
    • List of current USCIS fees.
Regulations

212(e) Two Year Home Residency Requirement

Many Exchange Visitors are subject to what is known as the two-year home country physical presence requirement of Section 
§212(e) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. It is commonly known as “§212(e)”, “the two-year rule” and “the home residency requirement.” A J-1 Exchange Visitor (and his or her J-2 dependents) may be subject to the §212(e) requirement on one or more of the following bases:

  1. The Skills List. §212(e) applies if the field of study, research, or teaching is listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for his or her country of citizenship or country of past permanent residence.
  1. Funding. §212(e) applies if the Exchange Visitor receives US or home government funding (directly or indirectly)specifically to support the exchange.
  1. Receipt of graduate medical education or training. §212(e) applies if the Exchange Visitor participates in the ECFMG’s Exchange Visitor Program, to receive graduate medical education or training.

How to Know if You Are Subject to §212(e)

If you are subject to the two-year rule, you will have a note to that effect on the bottom of your visa. There is no standard note that will appear, however, examples include “two-year rule applies,” “§212(e) applies,” “subject to home rule.”

What Being Subject to §212(e) Means

                If you are subject to §212(e), you:

                Are not eligible to obtain an H or L visa at a US consular office 

                Are not eligible for lawful permanent residence status

                Are not eligible to change status from J to any other nonimmigrant status from 
                within the US except to “A” or “G”

Complying with §212(e)

To comply with §212(e), an Exchange Visitor must spend two years physically present in his or her home country or place of last legal permanent residence. Time spent does not necessarily have to be continuous. IFS does not provide assistance in applying for a waiver of the §212(e) rule.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation

The US Department of State (DOS) has amended its regulations for J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Professor and Research Scholar categories. The rule states the Professors and Research Scholars can participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for up to five years on a “use it or lose it” basis. It also establishes eligibility requirements for repeat participation in these categories.

Exchange Visitors in the Professor and Research Scholar categories are subject to a two-year ban on repeat participation in those categories after completing or breaking the continuity of a five-year period of eligibility. The two-year bar applies in two circumstances:

  1. If the Professor or Research Scholar completes a full five years of a program participation with one or more sponsors.
  1. If, before the full five-year period is over, the Professor or Research Scholar completes his or her program. In this case, the individual’s SEVIS record becomes INACTIVE. He or she is not eligible to access the unused time and must wait two years before beginning a new program as a Professor or Research Scholar.

Therefore, in order to access a full five years of eligibility, the SEVIS record must be kept ACTIVE. This requires a continuous period of program participation. If a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar’s DS-2019 end date is reached, he/she must either 1) extend his/her J-1 status under the UA exchange visitor program; or 2) transfer to another exchange visitor program. The SEVIS record will automatically become INACTIVE the day after the DS-2019 end date.

The 24-month bar should not be confused with the two-year rule, 212(e). These are two completely different regulations. The two-year rule, 212(e), may apply to anyone who enters the U.S. on a J visa. The 24-month bar only applies to J visa holders who enter the U.S. in the Research Scholar or Professor categories.

The 2-year bar on repeat participation does not require the individual to reside in his or her home country as does 212(e), nor does it require that the scholar leave the United States. It requires only that he or she not be in J Professor or Research Scholar status for two years before becoming eligible for a new five-year period of program eligibility in J Professor or Research Scholar status.

12 Month Bar Provision

The general provisions of the 12-month bar is that an Exchange Visitor 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 forth on his or her Form DS-2019.” This general rule is the modified by three exceptions:

  1. J-1 Transfers
  2. Presence in J status of less than 6 months
  3. Presence in J status as a Short-term Scholar

The 12-month bar does not apply to those who are subject to the 24-month bar. In other words, those individuals who are subject to the 24-month bar will not be subject to an additional 12-month bar.

J-1 Health Insurance Requirements

Important:  The US Department of State (DOS) regulations require that all J-1 principal and J-2 dependent non-immigrants in residence at U.S. institutions of higher education to have specific medical insurance coverage by the time of the J-1 Program start date as outlined below. (22 CFR 514.14 and 22 CFR 62.14)

US Department of State Requirements

  • medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • a co-payment not greater than 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness
  • a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • a waiting period for pre-existing conditions that is reasonable by current industry standards
  • coverage for activities inherent to the exchange program (i.e., flight training for an aviation school)
  • repatriation of remains in an amount of $7,500
  • expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000

Health Insurance Options

You must submit a copy of your health insurance policy, in English, showing that the coverage meets DOS requirements and is in effect by the start of your J-1 Program.  You will submit this during your orientation at IFS, and your SEVIS record will not be validated until you have done so.  If you do not have health insurance in effect as of the J-1 Program start date listed on your DS-2019, you will be required to purchase a policy.

  • Coverage from Home Country
    Visitors are welcome to bring health insurance for themselves and their dependents from their home countries for the duration of their J-1 Program, providing the insurance documentation is in English showing that coverage meets DOS requirements and is in effect by the start of the J-1 Program.
  • Eligible for The University of Arizona Employee Benefits
    Please check with your university department regarding your eligibility to enroll onto The University of Arizona Faculty/Staff Insurance.  If you are, find out when your orientation will take place and when your UA employee benefits will take effect.   This is important to know because you will need to purchase an insurance policy providing coverage that meets the DOS requirements that are in effect by the start of your J-1 Program until your UA employee benefits take effect, meaning that you may need to purchase a health insurance policy that will cover you during the gap period.
  • Arriving with No Health Insurance Coverage
    If you do not have health insurance in effect by the start of your J-1 Program, you will be required to purchase The University of Arizona endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan.  
Resources & Links
Fulbright Scholars

The Fulbright Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).  The University of Arizona (UA) is fortunate to host Fulbright Scholars throughout the year.  These prominent scholars come to the UA to collaborate with UA Faculty in their areas of expertise.  This prestigious award program promotes global exchange and internationalization at the UA.  More information is available on the Fulbright Scholar Program website.