Hosting J-1 Visiting Scholars

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Hosting J-1 Visiting Scholars

When bringing foreign nationals to campus, it is strongly recommended for UD Departments to contact CGPS as early in the process as possible. To assure there will be no delay in the start of the program, please submit the request and supporting documents to CGPS at least six (6) weeks prior to the desired program start date.

Please note that immigration regulations are subject to change and can vary depending on your particular case or situation. Always consult an ISS  advisor for the most accurate information. CGPS is here to help you and your visitors navigate the immigration process.

Academic departments interested in hosting an exchange visitor must submit the following to CGPS at least six weeks prior to the requested start of the visiting scholar’s program at the University:

  1. DS-2019 Request Form for J-1 Visiting Scholars.
  2. A copy of the UD offer letter with start and end date of the program as well as any funding provided by the university.
  3. Proof of funding (if UD is not funding the scholar).
  4. Export Control Certification (found on the Forms webpage) for J-1 Visiting Scholars signed by the Research Office. This is required for all J-1 scholar requests.
  5. Department Authorization Form (if the department is paying the International Service Fee) or Payroll Deduction Form (both found on the Forms webpage).
  6. A completed FedEx or DHL International Air bill to ship the immigration documents to the scholar.
  7. A copy of the applicant’s passport ID page.

Once all required documents are received, CGPS will prepare a DS-2019 Form (“Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status”) and send it to the exchange visitor along with instructions on paying the SEVIS fee and applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate. Consular processing times vary by country and city.

UD Departments are responsible for informing CGPS if anything about the Exchange Visitor (EV) position changes, including funding, job duties, or site(s) of activity. Failure to inform CGPS of changes could result in fines for the University and violation of immigration regulations for the EV. Specifically:

  1. Report any changes in site(s) of activity: An EV is only allowed to work in the position approved and in the site(s) of activity indicated on the DS-2019 request. An EV cannot work in a different position or undertake any other activities, unless pre-authorized and approved by CGPS.
  2. Report any changes in research or employment (job duties, salary, and geographic location): The host department is required to notify CGPS of any such changes before they occur.
  3. Report any changes in program dates: Notify CGPS if the EV leaves or is terminated 15 days or more before the requested end date. Notify CGPS if the EV is delayed more than 10 days from the requested start date.
  4. Report any changes in funding: If payment from the University of Delaware or other sources needs to be added or removed from the DS-2019 form, contact CGPS before the changes occur. Funding information must be reported in the SEVIS system.
  5. Out of Country Update: Notify CGPS exchange visitors are continuing their programs for 6 weeks or more outside the United States. This update must be reported to the U.S. Government and UD departments are required to monitor the activities and welfare of the EV while abroad.

IMPORTANT: Exchange visitors under the Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar or other university level categories are not permitted to conduct activities or programs in preschools, primary and secondary school systems, summer camps, or other local community activities for K-12 students.

Main J-1 Categories:

  • Research Scholar: HR Categories – Post-doc, Limited term researcher, Visiting scholar, etc.; 5 year max.
  • Professor: HR Categories – Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Instructor, etc.; 5 year max.
  • Short term scholar: HR Categories – any mentioned above; 6 month max. When a scholar completes his/her program, he/she is permitted to remain in the U.S. for 30 days but is not permitted to work or be paid.

Other J Related Visa Categories:

  • J-1 Specialists (rarely used): Potential HR Categories – Athletic Trainer, Assistant Coach, Curator, Librarian, others; 1 year max. If you think your visitor might fall into this category, contact CGPS before filling out the Request for Visiting Scholar Form.
  • J-2 Dependents: Spouses and Children (under age 21 and unmarried) of J-1 status holders; Duration tied to primary J-1 status holder. May study in the U.S. May apply for work authorization.

The minimum amount required for 1 year is $15,000 per scholar, $5,000 per dependent spouse, $3,000 per dependent child. E.g. for a family of three (scholar + spouse + child) funding must be at least $23,000 per year. If the scholar is not staying a full year the amount can be divided by a monthly rate of 1,250 per scholar, $417 per dependent spouse, $250 per dependent child. Funding can come from any combination of UD, personal/family funds, home government or home institution funds. Proof of funding is required before a DS-2019 form can be issued.

As of January 5, 2015, UD is required, by the Department of State, to verify that each prospective exchange visitor:
“possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language . . . successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.”

There are three ways a department can verify proficiency. The department can verify an applicant’s English language proficiency:

  • through a recognized English language test like TOEFL or IELTS,
  • by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or
  • a documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option. Please refer to the suggested interview template found on the Forms webpage.

As evidence of proficiency, along with the completed J-1 Request Form, the department should submit to CGPS one of the following forms of documentation:

  • the visiting scholar’s score report from an English language test,
  • the prospective visiting scholar’s signed documentation from an academic institution or English Language School, or
  • the results of an evaluation interview (provided directly on the request form, no additional documentation required.

All exchange visitors (both J-1 principals and J-2 dependents) are required by federal regulations to have medical and accident insurance, as well as medical evacuation and repatriation insurance in effect for the duration of their exchange visitor program. In addition to being required by law, this requirement serves to protect exchange visitors and their dependents from unanticipated medical expenses.

If the J-1 is considered a UD employee and is eligible for UD benefits:

  • Medical coverage for the scholar and their dependents is provided by either Blue Cross or Aetna, but coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains is not covered and must be purchased separately for each individual (including J-2 dependents).
  • Separate evacuation and repatriation insurance can be purchased online. The coverage must meet the minimums in the chart below. An example of coverage that meets the requirements is the BETA Scholastic Plan (Basic Emergency Travel Assistance Plan).

If the J-1 is a UD Postdoctoral Fellow who is eligible for the UD Student Health Insurance Plan:

If the J-1 is not eligible for either student or employee health plans:

  • Scholars and dependents must purchase health insurance that meets the requirements in the chart below. For examples of coverage that meet the requirements, contact CGPS.

The insurance coverage for both J-1 and J-2s must meet the following requirements:

Medical Benefits

(Minimum coverage per accident or illness)

Medical Evacuation

(Minimum coverage)

Repatriation of Remains

(Minimum coverage)

Deductible

(Maximum permitted per accident or illness)

$100,000

$50,000

$25,000

$500

 

All J-1 visa holders must prove to CGPS that he/she and his/her dependents have medical insurance that meets the Department of State’s requirements. If an exchange visitor is unsure whether the insurance they plan to buy meets the Department of State requirements, the exchange visitor should contact CGPS before making the purchase.

Scholars must contact CGPS before accepting any type of outside employment or short-term consultation, including unpaid activities, as it may affect their legal status. A scholar may participate in some outside activities, but there are limits.

Scholars can only participate in occasional short-term consultations or lectures if the activities:

  • are directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor's program,
  • are incidental to the primary program, and
  • do not delay the completion date of the program.

Before participating in such outside activities, the exchange visitor must provide CGPS with an invitation letter from the institution and obtain written permission from his supervisor at UD. In turn, CGPS will issue a letter granting permission for this activity. CGPS must also report this activity in SEVIS.

Departments must immediately notify CGPS of any serious incident or allegation involving a J-1 Exchange Visitor sponsored by the University of Delaware the same day the incident or allegation occurs. Incidents are defined as situations that have or could endanger the health, safety, or welfare of an exchange visitor or otherwise could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or University of Delaware’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute. Examples of reportable incidents or allegations include, but are not limited to:

  • J-1 Death
  • J-1 is Missing
  • J-1 Suffers Serious Illness or Injury (e.g., brain injury, severe burn, major surgery, communicable disease, serious mental health incidents, any condition requiring hospitalization of 48 hours or more, etc.)
  • Litigation (related to a sponsor’s exchange visitor program, in which sponsor or an exchange visitor may be a named party)
  • Incident Involving the Criminal Justice System (e.g., arrest, charges, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Sexually-Related Incidents or Abuse (an incident or allegation involving sexual exploitation, harassment or abuse)
  • Negative Press involving the University of Delaware or a UD department
  • Foreign Government Involvement (including embassy officials)
  • Other Situations J-1 Safety (e.g., natural disasters, civil unrest, outbreaks of violence)

If you have any questions regarding reportable incidents, please contact CGPS immediately so that we may assist you with the process.

J-1 exchange visitors may be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement based on the “exchange visitor skills list” or because they received government funding. This requirement impacts future eligibility for certain immigration benefits. If a J-1 is subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, the requirement also applies to his/her dependents.

Exchange visitors can meet the requirement in two different ways:

  • returning to his/her home country for an aggregate of 2 years, or
  • obtaining a waiver of the requirement from USCIS.

Even if the residency requirement is fulfilled or waived, if the visiting scholar enters the U.S. on another J-1, he/she may be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement again. For example, an exchange visitor comes to the U.S. as a J-1 Short Term Scholar in 2014 and then returns for a second program as a Short Term Scholar in 2015. They may now be subject to the two-year rule twice.

Note regarding current J status holders: Current J status holders who plan to seek a waiver must contact CGPS in regards to their visa status before beginning the waiver process, as it could impact their eligibility for J-status extensions.

Contact CGPS before you start the waiver process. Information on how to apply for a waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement can be found on the Department of State website.

Each immigration situation is different. These rules do not apply to everyone in the same ways. When and how the two-year rule applies varies by case. For more information about how the rule applies to your case, contact CGPS.

An individual who participates in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar becomes subject to a 24-month bar on "repeat participation" in those categories after completing his/her program. This is true even if the program is completed in less than five years. The Professor or Research Scholar must wait for 2 years from the end date of their previous program before beginning a new program as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.

The 24-month bar only limits participation in a J-1 Professor or Researcher program. It does not limit participation in a J-1 Short Term Scholar program, or eligibility for other visas.

There is no waiver for the 24-month bar. Dependents are also subject to the 24-month bar.

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ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at oiss@udel.edu.