J-1 Scholar Requests

Hosting a J-1 Visiting Scholar in your department for the purpose of teaching and/or research makes you a participant in the United States Department of State’s (DOS) Exchange Visitor Program at Georgia State University. The Exchange Visitor Program is for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange, NOT EMPLOYMENT, although many participating in the program may receive funding from Georgia State University. Participation as a host entails rights and responsibilities stipulated in the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961 [Public Law 87-0256] and all subsequent amendments. Prior to completing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Request Form and supporting documents, please carefully read the information below to confirm that the J-1 visa is consistent with the sponsoring department’s intentions with regard to the visiting professor or research scholar.

International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSS) is responsible for administering the Exchange Visitor Program at Georgia State University and for approving and signing all documentation connected with the Exchange Visitor Program (P -1-03559). Effective July 1, 2004, issuing the DS-2019 became a fee-based service provided to departments and current Exchange Visitors at Georgia State University.

The Exchange Visitor Program brings qualified students, professors, research scholars and short-term scholars to the United States for a variety of educational purposes. The exchange visitor is under the sponsorship of an agency, institution, or organization that has been approved by DOS.

The Georgia State University Exchange Visitor program is defined as “a program to provide…lecturing and research opportunities, in the various fields of instruction and research conducted by Georgia State University for professors, research scholars and short -term scholars to promote the general interest of international educational and cultural exchange.”

A prospective J-1 visiting scholar must meet the following criteria before ISSS will issue visa eligibility documents:

  • Will hold a non-tenure track position at Georgia State University
  • Will NOT hold a classified staff or professional position at Georgia State University.  (Positions listed on GSU Human Resources Office of Classification and Compensation’s Job Specifications website are  NOT eligible for J-1 sponsorship)
  • Holds a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. In rare cases, individuals holding a bachelor’s degree with extensive experience in the field of research may hold scholar appointments. ISSS will review such requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Possesses English language proficiency;
  • Possesses adequate financial resources (for self/dependents) to complete his/her program (please see section D of the request form for details)
  • Has not been in the United States in J-1 or J-2 status for 6 or more months during the 12 months immediately preceding the start date of the new J-1 request
  • Will obtain adequate health insurance coverage, as required by federal law
  • Does  NOT seek admission to Georgia State University as a full-time student.  NOTE: J-1 Exchange Student admissions are handled separately through Program Coordinators within each academic department.  Please visit this page or contact your department’s J-1 Exchange Program Coordinator for more information.

For the host department:

International Student & Scholar Services assesses a $100.00 administrative recovery fee for processing an initial or transfer DS-2019.  A $50.00 administrative recovery fee is assessed for extensions to an ongoing J -1 program. ISSS will invoice the administrative recovery fee to the department via Georgia State’s Spectrum financial system.  Departments should provide valid Speedtype and workflow codes in section H of the “J-1 Exchange Visitor Request Form.”

For the visiting scholar:

All J-1, non-immigrant visa applicants seeking initial-attendance entry to the United States are required to pay a $180.00 “SEVIS I-901 fee” to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  This fee is charged to cover the administration and maintenance costs of DHS’ Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  The visiting scholar may pay the fee online or by mail.  For more information, visit  www.fmjfee.com.

The U.S. Department of State also assesses a $160.00 nonimmigrant visa application processing fee. Visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1263.html for more information.

The GSU host department should complete and submit the following forms at least 2-3 months in advance of the scholar’s proposed stay:

Supporting documents include:

  • Exchange visitor’s curriculum vitae
  • Proof of funding
  • Georgia State invitation letter
  • Passport biographical pages of exchange visitor and any dependents

Please note, ISSS will issue the Form DS-2019 within 5-10 business days of receiving a complete request packet from the host department.  The host department is responsible for sending the Form DS-2019 to the visitor in his or her home country.

When the exchange visitor receives the Form DS-2019, s/he should go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a J-1 visa.  If the Consular Office determines that the person is a bona fide exchange visitor, the visa will be granted and the person ma y come to the United States on the J-1 visa. It should be noted that the Consular Officer is required to determine the intent of the applicant, and the Consular Officer’s determination and decision regarding the issuance of a visa are not subject to appeal o f any kind. Citizens of Canada, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Island; British subjects who reside in Bermuda, the Bahamas or Canada; and citizens of Commonwealth Countries who reside in Canada or Bermuda are not required to obtain a J-1 visa in their passport before entering the United States.

The Georgia State University J-1 program is designated to sponsor five categories of exchange visitors:  students, professors, researchers, short-term scholars, and specialists. Each category permits specific kinds of activities and has its own maintenance of stay requirements, limitations of stay and employment opt ions.

Professor - individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institution, museums, libraries or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research. Professors have a minimum stay in the U.S. of 3 weeks and a maximum stay of up to 5 years unless special permission for a longer stay is granted by DOS.

Research Scholar - individual primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. This category also has a minimum stay of 3 weeks and a maximum stay up to 5 years unless special permission for a longer stay is granted by DOS.

Short-term Scholar (STS) - professor, research scholar, specialist or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. There is no minimum stay requirement. The maximum duration of stay is limited to 6 months.

NOTE: Short-term Scholars are expected to complete their J-1 program objective within the 6-month limit.  Any repeated, “revolving door” use of multiple STS visits for the same scholar is not appropriate. In order to ensure the integrity of Georgia State University’s Exchange Visitor program, ISSS will carefully evaluate multiple STS requests for the same J-1 scholar.  For such requests, ISSS may also, at any time, require further written justification regarding how a single program objective is accomplished through multiple STS visits.

J-2 Dependent - a family member is classified as a dependent only if they are coming into the country on a J -2 visa. A family member who is or will be coming into the U.S. in another visa status is not considered a dependent and should not be included on the DS-2019 Request Form. J-2 dependents are usually able to obtain permission to work from USCIS. Instructions are available at ISSS after the J-2 has arrived in the U.S. J-2s who are employed by the University must first receive work authorization from USCIS.

Upon completion of an Exchange Visitor Program in the United States, certain J-1 exchange visitors are required to live in their home country for a period of two years before they are eligible to apply for immigrant status or for another non -immigrant status. The two- year home country residence requirement applies to those exchange visitors who (1) are financially supported by the U.S. government or their home government; or (2) have skills which are needed in their home country, as specified on the Exchange Visitor Skills List; or (3) are medical doctors who have graduated from a foreign medical school and have come to the United States to study or work in the field of medicine. The purpose of the home country residence requirement is to enforce the return of exc hange visitors in order to carry out the educational exchange objectives of the program. Waiver of the residence requirement can be granted by DOS under certain circumstances.

12-Month Bar  (22 CFR 62.20(d)(ii)):

Applies to any Exchange Visitor seeking new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor status and who was physically present in the United States in any J-1 or J-2 status for 6 months or more during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of the newly-requested program.  The Exchange Visitor is not eligible for the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar categories if this is the case; however, s/he may be eligible for the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category.

Does not apply to participants transferring to Georgia State University from another J-1 program or to participants previously in the U.S. in J-1 Short-Term Scholar status. Visitors subject to the 12-month bar cannot begin a new program as a Research Scholar or Professor until 12 months have passed since they were physically present in the U.S. in any J status.  However, they may be eligible to come as J-1 Short Term Scholars or on other visa types.

24-Month Bar (22 CFR 62.20(i)(2):

Applies to any J-1 Professor or Research Scholar with previous program completion on or after 11/18/2006.  An Exchange Visitor is not eligible for repeat participation as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar for a period of 24 months following completion of a previous Professor or Research Scholar program. The 24-month clock begins on the day following the date on which the individual’s previous SEVIS record is made Inactive due to program completion.

A department should begin the J-1 process  at least two (2) months prior to the intended start date in order to allow time for unanticipated delays in government processing, security checks, and visa issuance.  ISSS will issue a Form DS-2019 within 2-5 days of receipt of a complete request package.  Failure to complete all items on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Request Form and to submit required supporting documentation will delay DS-2019 issuance.

Extensions:

It is the scholar’s responsibility to ensure that they are legally present in the U.S. and all extensions are timely filed. If the scholar has time remaining in their J-1 program category and the host department and scholar wish to continue collaboration, the department and scholar may apply for an extension of status. A $50.00 fee will be assessed. If the visitor will return home, ISSS should be notified in writing of the date of departure from GSU. This information is required to complete the scholar’s record in SEVIS.

Transfers:

A J-1 Professor or Research Scholar may transfer to another institution within the 5-year limit.  The next institution prepares a DS-2019 Form and the current sponsor must release them from its sponsorship. For example, a J -1 Research Scholar who has been at Emory for one year may transfer to Georgia State’s J-1 program sponsorship and may stay up to four more years. Many programs have strict restrictions and may not permit a transfer to another program sponsor’s institution; consult with the Scholar Advisor to discuss specific cases.