Greetings Prospective Scholars!
Welcome to International Scholar Relations (ISR) Web site. We are pleased to have international scholars join our WesternU family where, in the University's humanistic tradition, students, employees, and the public are treated with respect, caring and compassion.
For additional information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, please email: J1Program@westernu.edu.
The information provided on this page is a concise overview about the J-1 Program as sponsored by WesternU. To ensure that your J-1 visa application process is efficient, it is extremely important that you read all information provided on this web site very carefully and follow the instructions. This will help to avoid unecessary delays in the processing of your visa application.
Please keep in mind that this web site is a "living document" that will be updated as needed for adherence to Department of State Homeland Security rules and regulations.
Commonly Used Acronyms or Abbreviations:
|DOS||Department of State|
|USCIS||U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services|
|WesternU||Western University of Health Sciences|
|ISR||International Scholar Relations|
|OHR||Office of Human Resources|
|J-1 RO||J-1 Responsible Officer|
|J-1 ARO||J-1 Alternate Responsible Officer|
The J-1 International Scholar Program operates under the auspices of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the International Scholar Program 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 in a mutual effort to promote world peace.
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.
The U.S. Department of State designates sponsors to administer individual International Scholar programs. Sponsors are U.S. organizations such as government agencies, academic institutions, educational and cultural organizations, and corporations. Western University of Health Sciences is one such sponsor.
Sponsors offer International Scholar cross-cultural activities that will expose them to American society, culture, and institutions. International Scholar are encouraged to voluntarily participate in activities that provide them with an opportunity to share their language, culture, and history with Americans.
Each J-1 Program Sponsor has a specific description under which that program must operate with the assistance of designated individual(s) of the University staff who are responsible for the administration of that particular J-1 program. This page will provide you with general information about the J-1 scholar status to help you understand the benefits and responsibilities of this J-1 status. All questions or concerns regarding our J-1 Program should be directed to the office of ISR at WesternU.
WesternU has been approved to bring International Scholars to the University in the following categories:
A professor or research scholar may be authorized to participate in an International Scholar Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program providing the program does not exceed five years.
A J-1 specialist may be authorized to participate in the International Scholar Program for the length of time needed to complete the program, which may not exceed one year.
A J-1 short term scholar is limited to a maximum of six months.
J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) & Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)
J-1 sponsors will appoint individuals as an RO and ARO to advise and assist visiting scholars. These officers issue the Certificates of Eligibility Form DS-2019, and conduct official communications with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) on behalf of the J-1 visitor. Should the J-1 visitor have questions about the regulations or any aspect of the exchange program, the initial and primary contact is the J-1 RO or ARO whose name you can find in Block 7, at the bottom right of the DS-2019 form.
Maintaining J-1 Status
As a J-1 visiting scholar at Western University, you will have been admitted to the U.S. for a specific period of time to engage in a particular research or teaching activity, as described on your DS-2019 form. You must take care during your stay to maintain lawful J-1 status, as failure to do so can have serious long-term consequences for you. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your stay in the U.S. remains valid:
- Be aware of the expiration date of your status. This is not your visa expiration date; it is the ending date in section 3 of your DS-2019 form. If your appointment at the University is extended, the hiring department must contact the J-1 RO/ARO before the current expiration date to have the DS-2019 form extended as well.
- Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity you are permitted is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019 form. You must consult the J-1 RO/ARO (J1Program@westernu.edu), if you wish to take up any other work during your stay. (See information on "incidental employment.")
- If offered a comparable position at another college or university, discuss your plans with the J-1 RO to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.
Comply with DOS health insurance requirements for J-1 visa holders and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status. ·
Keep your passport valid. Passports can be renewed by your consulate in Los Angeles. For information about the nearest consulate check http://www.embassy.org
Extension of Stay
To request an extension of your J-1 status up to the maximum period allowable under the regulations, you must bring a letter signed by the supervising faculty member stating the proposed dates of the extension and the amount and source of the funding to the office of ISR, J-1 RO/ARO. The J-1 RO/ARO will prepare a new DS-2019 reflecting the extended period. Your request for an extension must be completed before the end date as noted on your DS-2019 form.
(Approval Notice: A Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration form, Notice of Action, Form I-797 that says that USCIS has approved a petition, or request for extension of stay or change of status.)
Transfer of J-1 Program
An International Scholar may transfer from one designated program to another designated program. The J-1 RO/ARO will verify your immigration status and program eligibility, prepare an DS-2019 form and you must secure the written release of the current sponsor in Section 8 of the new Form DS-2019. Program transfers for professors or research scholars must be effected from within the U.S. and within the five years allowed to International Scholar in these categories. The transfer procedures must be completed prior to the end date as noted on the form DS-2019.
Incidental J-1 Employment
J-1 scholars are expected to conduct the exchange activity at the location(s) listed on the DS-2019 form. Additional employment is not permitted, unless the proposed employment is incidental to the activity listed on the DS-2019 form and is pre-approved by the J-1 RO/ARO.
Employment J-2 Dependents
The spouse and/or minor children of a J-1 International Scholar hold J-2 status. If you wish to have your family join you in Pomona in J-2 status, you must show that you have sufficient finances to support the additional expense. Persons in J-2 status may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for permission to work in the U.S. For further information visit J-2 employment.)
The information on this page is only a brief overview. The following links will provide additional detailed information:
- Applying for a J-1 Visa
- Pre-arrival Planning
- Travel Guidelines
- Arrival Guidelines
- Arrival at WesternU
- Rules and Regulations Affecting J-1 International Scholars
- Maintaining Your J-1 Visa Status
- Mandatory Health/Accident Insurance
- Obtaining a Social Security Number
- Physical Presence Requirement
If you cannot find the information you need in these areas, please email J1Program@westernu.edu for additional information.