J 1 Status
The Exchange Visitor Program is carried out under the provisions of the
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The
purpose of the Act 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. International educational and cultural exchanges are
one of the most effective means of developing lasting and meaningful
relationships. They provide an extremely valuable opportunity to experience
the United States and our way of life. Foreign nationals come to the United
States to participate in a wide variety of educational and cultural exchange
The Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the Office of Exchange
Coordination and Designation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural
Affairs. At the conclusion of their program Exchange Visitor program
participants are expected to return to the home countries to utilize the
experience and skills they have acquired while in the United States.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is very specific with regard to
the requirements, which must be met by applicants to qualify for the
exchange visitor (J) visa. The consular officer will determine whether you
qualify for the visa. Applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet
the requirements to be issued an exchange visitor visa, including the
- That they plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary, specific,
- Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;
- Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and other
binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is designed to help the
Department of Homeland Security and Department of State better monitor
school and exchange programs. Exchange visitor and student information is
maintained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current
information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J
visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and
program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications
via the Internet, to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of
State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United
All exchange visitor applicants must have a SEVIS generated DS 2019
issued by a Department of State designated sponsor, which they submit when
they are applying for their exchange visitor visa. The consular officer will
need to verify your DS 2019 record electronically through the SEVIS system
in order to process your exchange visitor visa application to conclusion.
Unless otherwise exempt, participants whose SEVIS DS-2019 was issued on or
after September 1, 2004 must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to the Department of
Homeland Security for each individual program. The fee may be paid either
through a special web site, via Western Union, or by mail.
Regulations pertaining specifically to the Professor and Research Scholar
categories are found at [22 CFR 62.20].
As participants in these program categories, foreign professors and
research scholars engage in research, teaching, and lecturing with their
American colleagues. Alien physicians in graduate medical education or
training and short-term scholars are not included in this category.
The eligible participant shall not be a candidate for a tenure track
position. Also, professor and research scholar participants may not be in
the United States in J-visa status for any part of the 12-month period
preceding the start date of their programs, indicated on their Form DS-2019.
The 12-month bar is waived if the participant is 1) present in the United
States no more than six months; or 2) participating in the Short-Term
At the discretion of the responsible officer, professors may freely
engage in research and research scholars may freely engage in teaching and
lecturing; this will not be considered a change of category. Incidental
lectures or short-term consultations are permitted with the approval of the
responsible officer so long as they are directly related to the objectives
of the participant's program, and do not delay its completion date. Please
consult the regulations for details.
The responsible officer may extend a participant's program for up to six
months to allow the research scholar or professor to complete a specific
project or research activity. Extensions for a period longer than six months
must be approved in writing by the Department of State. The responsible
officer should submit a written request to the Department on behalf of the
participant, no less than 60 days prior to the expiration of the
participant's permitted three-year period. The fee for extension requests,
payable to the Department of State at the time of application, is $198.
Regulations pertaining specifically to the Short Term Scholar category
are found at [22 CFR 62.21].
A short-term scholar is a professor, research scholar, or person with
similar education or accomplishments who visits the United States to
lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at research
institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational
institutions, or similar types of institutions.
The duration of the program is the time needed to complete the objective,
up to a maximum of six months. The minimum program duration of 3 weeks for
any Exchange Visitor Program category is waived for participants in this
category. Extensions are not permitted.
Short-term scholars may participate in the Exchange Visitor Program at
conferences, workshops, seminars, or other events listed their Forms
DS-2019. Participants may also lecture or consult at institutions not listed
on the Form DS-2019 if the responsible officer issues a written
authorization for such activity. The authorization must be attached to the
participant's Form DS-2019.
Applying for your “J” Visa
Applicants may apply for their visa as soon as they are prepared to do
so. Exchange visitor visa applicants are encouraged to apply for their visa
early to provide ample time for visa processing. Applicants for visas
should generally apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with
jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa
applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more
difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent
As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy
consular section is required for almost all visa applicants. The waiting
time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa
application is strongly encouraged. If you are authorized by your sponsor to
be accompanied by your spouse (husband or wife) and children, they will also
be given a Form DS-2019 and they can apply at the same time. As part of the
visa interview, a quick, two-digit, ink-free fingerprint scan will be taken,
as well as a digital photo. Some applicants will need additional screening,
and will be notified when they apply. Each visa applicant must submit these
forms and documentation.
- DS 2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.
You will need to submit a SEVIS generated Form, DS-2019, which was
provided to you by Brookhaven National Laboratory. All exchange
visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in
the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an
Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on
non-immigrant students and exchange visitors and their dependents (J-2
visa holders). The Immigration Specialist at BNL is responsible for
entering your information for the DS 2019 Certificate of Eligibility for
Exchange Visitor Status into SEVIS. Exchange visitors at BNL are not
part of a U.S. Government-sponsored program and as such will have to pay
a Sevis I-901 fee.
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
The DS-160 form is submitted electronically to the Department of State.
Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process
the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine
an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a
validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period
of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the
passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application;
- One (1) 2x2 photograph. Passport style.
Note: With the exception of the H-1 and L-1, applicants
may also need to show proof of binding ties to a residence outside the
United States which they have no intention of abandoning. It is impossible
to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants'
circumstances vary greatly
- As part of the requirements of the J-1, all J-1
holders and any accompanying J-2 family members
must have basic medical insurance that meets the Dept. of
Sate standards for the J-1 Exchange Program.
- J-1 guests and their
accompanying J-2 family members are signed up for
ACE insurance upon check-in at the GUV Center. This plan
covers basic medical care and repatriations. (for more
information regarding ACE insurance please contact HR's
- J-1 employees and their
accompanying J-2 family members (Appointments 7
months or longer) upon their first few days of employment
apply for regular medical insurance coverage through BNL. In
addition to this insurance they must pay for repatriation
insurance called MEDEX
Last Modified: February 12, 2014
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