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.

Departments who wish to host a J-1 visiting scholar or student intern must fully complete and submit the appropriate request forms AND all required supporting documents through iStart at least 2-3 months in advance of the visitor’s proposed start date at Georgia State. In addition, please note that our expected processing time for new scholar requests is 3-5 business days, barring any export control verification delays.

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 (please refer to the Department of State requirements here);
  • Possesses adequate financial resources (for self/dependents) to complete his/her program. You can demonstrate adequate funding for yourself and any J-2 dependents during the period of the proposed extension (at least $1513/month for yourself, $500/month for your spouse, and $300/month for each child under 21).
  • 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
  • Can meet export control requirements. Export Controls are federal laws and regulations that prohibit the unlicensed export of certain commodities or information
    for reasons of national security or protections of trade. Export controls usually stem from one or more of the following reasons:

    • The nature of the export has actual or potential military applications or economic protection issues;
    • Government concerns about the destination country, organization, or individual; and/or
    • Government concerns about the declared or suspected end use or the end user of the export.
  • 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.

J-1 scholars must demonstrate that they possess adequate financial resources to support themselves and their dependent(s) for the duration of their stay.

The minimum financial requirements are as follows:

  • $1,513 per month for the scholar
  • $500 per month for a spouse on a J-2 dependent visa (in addition to the above)
  • $300 per month for each J-2 dependent child under age 21 (in addition to the above)

For the host department:

International Student & Scholar Services assesses a $150.00 administrative recovery fee for processing an initial or transfer DS-2019.  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 when prompted.”

For the visiting scholar:

All J-1, non-immigrant visa applicants seeking initial-attendance entry to the United States are required to pay a $220.00 “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.

PLEASE NOTE: The J-1 scholar request process has transitioned to an electronic format via our iStart platform.  You may review the details of iStart HERE.

The GSU host department should complete and submit the electronic forms at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the scholar's proposed stay.

In order to access the e-forms, you must first request departmental access.  We have created a step-by-step instructional guide on how to access the e-forms here:




All supplemental documentation will be available in links within the e-forms.  For your convenience, please see the following list of supplemental documents that will need to be submitted as part of the J-1 request process. The first e-form will require the invitation letter from the department to the scholar. Please see below for a sample and list of required information.

J-1 Scholar Invitation Letter from Department

  • Example: Sample Invitation Letter
  • Must include:
    • OneUSG Appointment Title
    • Field of Work
    • Department
    • Program Dates
    • Source of Funding
    • Verify English Proficiency
    • Provision of Work Space

(Please note that the Export Control and English Language Proficiency Evaluation forms can now be done directly through iStart, and it is no longer necessary to submit PDF versions.)

The e-form process will e-mail the scholar with their requisite forms for completion.  The scholar should be prepared to upload:

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Proof of funding
  • GSU 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.


A department wishing to transfer a J-1 Scholar to Georgia State University from another J-1 sponsor may do so as long as:

  • The transfer is consistent with the goals of the original program objective
  • The J-1 scholar is currently in valid program status
  • The transfer occurs BEFORE the expiration date on the J-1 scholar’s current DS-2019 form.
  • The transfer will not extend the scholar’s stay beyond the permissible duration for his/her category

The department will initiate the transfer-in process via the iStart process outlined in the Instructional Guide, choosing “J-1 Scholar Transfer Request” in Step 9.

Aside from providing all required supplemental documentation, departments should be prepared to provide the contact information (name, phone, and email address) of the advisor at the prospective scholar’s current institution, as they will be an active participant in the transfer-in process.

*For transfer-in scholars it is most important to submit the request at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the proposed start, as the scholar’s advisor from their current institution will require time to provide ISSS with important immigration information.

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 may 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 of 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 six categories of exchange visitors:  student intern, professors, researchers, short-term scholars, specialist, and non-degree seeking exchange students. Each category permits specific kinds of activities and has its own maintenance of stay requirements, limitations of stay and employment options.

When trying to determine the J-1 Exchange Visitor Category, ask yourself these questions:

  • How long will this scholar be visiting your department?
  • What will be the scholar’s working title and primary job duties during their stay?

*Note: no visiting scholar can hold a permanent or tenure-track position during their visit.

The answer to the questions above will guide you to the appropriate exchange category below:

Time at GSU Primary Duties Exchange Category
3 weeks – 5 years Teach and lecture Professor
3 weeks – 5 years Conduct research or consult on research projects Research Scholar
No minimum – 6 months Short-term lecturing, observing, consulting, training, research, and/or demonstrating special skills Short-Term Scholar
3 weeks – 1 year Be admitted to and participate in a bona fide, Georgia State internship program Student Intern
3 weeks – 1 year Specialist (*issuance in this category is quite rare)


For a more detailed definition of the categories above, please review the information below:

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, research, 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 exchange 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 wishing to host an Exchange Visitor should complete the J-1 request process at least two to three (2-3) months prior to the intended start date, in order to allow time for unanticipated delays in government processing, security checks, and visa issuance.  Our normal processing time for new scholar requests is 3-5 business days. Upon receipt of a complete request, ISSS will issue a Form DS-2019 and Welcome Packet no later than 10 business days after. Failure to accurately complete all items on the J-1 Exchange Visitor e-Form Request and to submit required supporting documentation will delay DS-2019 issuance.


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.


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.