Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is love of humanity ~ Hippocrates ~
While immigration law is complex and subject to frequent revision, inviting international scholars to WesternU need not be a complex and perplexing task. However, advice on individual cases should always be sought from University International Scholar Relations (ISR) with regard to the J-1 visa application required documentation and process.
These J-1 web pages will provide basic information about immigration classifications and procedures and discuss in some detail the roles and responsibilities of the host department. This information is meant to advise departments, but not serve as a substitute for individual consultation. Please email J1Program@westernu.edu for additional information.
Because of the complexity of the federal regulations affecting nonimmigrant employment in the United States and because of the frequent changes in these regulations these pages are considered "a living document" requiring ongoing updates. We urge you to consult International Scholar Relations, J-1 RO/ARO J1Program@westernu.edu prior to making any appointment for a J-1 scholar to come to WesternU.
International Scholar Program
The J-1 International Scholar Program is administered by the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, in the Bureau of Educational ad Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. The J-1 Program at WesternU is overseen by the Academic and Government Division.
J-1 Visa Status/Purpose
Those who enter the United States with a J-1 or J-2 (family members) visa are called International Scholars. The J-1 Visa may be used by those coming to the U.S. to study, teach, conduct research, or receive training. The purpose of the J-1 Visa Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the U.S. and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage scholars to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries. WesternU, as a J-1 sponsor, must make a good faith effort to achieve the fullest possible reciprocity in the exchange of persons. The term reciprocity is interpreted broadly and does not require a one-for-one exchange of persons or activities.
The J-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, and participants in the J-1 International Scholar Program are expected to return to their home countries when they complete their programs. Entry into the United States as a participant in the International Scholar Program is granted with the understanding that participants will complete the objectives of a single program category.
Exchange Visitor Eligibility
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 following:
- That they plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary, specific, limited period;
- 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 visit.
Participants in the professor and research scholar programs are subject to the following conditions:
- Must not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
- Cannot have participated in and completed a professor or research scholar program within the 24 months preceding the beginning date of their new program's commencement.
- Cannot have participated in a J visa program (including J-2 dependents) for all, or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of the new program’s commencement, unless they meet one of the following exceptions:
- The participant is currently in a professor or research scholar program and is transferring to another institution in the United States to continue their current J-1 program;
- The participant's prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J visa program was less than 6 months in duration.
- The participant was as a short-term scholar;
Exchange Program Duration
The minimum duration of any exchange program is three weeks, except for participants in the Short Term Scholar category with no minimum up to 6 months or those exchange visitors sponsored by the Federal Government. The maximum duration varies by category. See "J-1 Catagories" for a detailed description for each category.
International Scholar Selection
Research scholars, professors, short-term scholars and specialists, hereinafter, referred to as International Scholars, may be invited to WesternU only if they have the appropriate academic credentials and will participate in activity that furthers interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between WesternU and research and educational institutions of other countries.
One of the important characteristics of the J-1 International Scholar program is its temporary nature, which means the International Scholar's appointment to a position at WesternU must be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent. The International Scholar cannot be a candidate for a tenure-accruing position. Of course, the candidate s background and field of expertise should also be relevant to the proposed activities a WesternU.
In all cases, the international visitor must have a faculty sponsor who is willing to take responsibility for hosting the visit. Individuals who join the University in J-1 status are not eligible for degree study at WesternU.
It is the responsibility of the nominating College's department faculty to make four primary determinations prior to extending an invitation to a foreign national:
- the program is suitable to the International Scholar's background, needs and experience;
- the International Scholar has the appropriate academic and professional credentials to perform the activity to be pursued;
- the International Scholar possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the program;
- the International Scholar will have adequate financial support, either from WesternU or other sources, to live an adequate lifestyle in the local community. (A minimum of $1200 per month for non-academic expenses - housing, transportation, insurance, etc. - is recommended. Additionally, $500 for spouse and $250 for each dependent should be allowed per month.)
The International Scholar s proposed activity is permitted by the regulations.The inviting college/ department will need to provide documentation in support of these determinations by submitting a Request for DS-2019 Form. The Department of State (DOS) uses the DS-2019 Form to collect and maintain information about J-1 International Scholars throughout the USA. The J-1 RO must log into the SEVIS web site to generate the DS-2019 which will then be returned to the department to forward to the International Scholar. The DS-2019 will be utilized for WesternU record keeping and for the J-1 RO to ensure WesternU remains in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the variety of government agencies involved in this International Scholar process.
Advantages/Limitations of J-1 Visa
A J-1 International Scholar is an individual primarily conducting research, observing research, or consulting to researchers in connection with a research project. The research scholar can also teach or lecture unless disallowed by the program sponsor.
Benefits to the J-1 classification include:
- Quick processing (J-1 RO can usually issue the J-1 document within 10 days)
- J-2 dependents can apply for work permission from the immigration service
Limitations of the J-1 classification include:
- Limit on the amount of time in the category and limits on repeat participation
Important Note for Repeat Visitors
Individuals who participate in the J-1 Program in the Research Scholars or Professors categories are subject to a 24-month bar between program participation. This means that an individual who has completed a program in Professor or Research Scholar Status cannot return to the US as J-1 Professor or Research Scholar until they have been outside the US for 24 months. Individuals who have been in the US in ANY "J" category, including J-1 Student and J-2 dependent are subject to a 12 months bar for subsequent participation as a Research Scholar or Professor.
For additional information regarding temporary visa types, please visit: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html#9
If Your Scholar will be a WesternU Employee
If the prospective scholar will be an employee of the University, the inviting college must first submit a position request in the Human Resources People Admin system confirming College approval and funding before submitting the J-1 documentation to International Scholar Relations (ISR).