International Scholar Relations

Rules & Regulations

Visiting Scholars

It is important that you understand and abide by the DOS J-1 Exchange Visitor Program regulations, U.S. laws and sponsor rules. Regular contact with J-1 RO/ARO at J1Program@westernu.edu will help you to keep current with any changes which may affect your J-1 status. Some requirements of the Federal regulations you will find described on this page. 

Valid DS-2019 Form

International Scholars are required to have a valid and unexpired DS-2019 Form. Sponsors may terminate an International Scholar's program for violating U.S. Laws, International Scholar Program regulations or the sponsor's rules governing their particular program.

Notification of Address Change

U.S. law requires that visiting scholars report any change of address. If scholars change their address or telephone number, complete or withdraw from their program early, they must inform the J-1 RO/ARO. Prompt notification of any change is important to WesternU's compliance with the U.S. Department of State J-1 Progam sponsorship notification and reporting requirements.


Restrictions on Repeat Participation for Professors and Research Scholars

Since this is an immigration classification intended to promote educational and cultural exchange, there is an expectation that J-1 status holders will return home to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the U.S. As a result there are certain restrictions placed upon individuals who have previously been in the U.S. in J-1 status. These restrictions apply to individuals who have completed their previous J program and seek to return to begin a new program as either a Research Scholar or as a professor.

Twelve Month Bar:

A person who previously held J status in any category other than short term scholar for more than six months cannot begin a new J-1 program in either the Research Scholar or Professor classification until the individual has been outside the U.S. for twelve months or more. (please note, this bar does not prevent someone who is actively engaged in a J program from transfering his/her J-1 sponsorship to another institution.

Twenty-Four Month Bar:

A person who has been in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category and has completed their period of exchange (i.e. have used the full five years of maximum eligibility in this classification or have ended their period of exchange prior to the end of their five years of maximum eligibility) may not return to the U. S. in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category for 24 months.  This bar does not prohibit entry to the U. S. in other immigration categories.

Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212e):

This rule may affect participants in any category of J-1 exchange visitor if:

  • They received financial support from U. S. or foreign government
  • Exchange Visitor's home country's government has a Skills List that includes their profession or field of research/study
  • Exchange Visitor has come to the U. S. to seek graduate medical training

If an Exchange Visitor is subject to the Two-year Home Residency Requirement, it will be noted on their U. S. visa. 

Changes of immigrant status within the US are also not possible unless this requirement is waived. Information on obtaining a waiver of the two year home residency requirement is available at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html#12

Activities and Program Provisions

A J-1 International Scholar who has entered the United States in one program category is required to engage in that category and the subject/field of activity indicated on their Form DS-2019. The J-1 Scholar must comply with the specific program provisions of the regulations relating to their program category. Changing a J-1 category from International Scholar to Student or Student to International Scholar is not possible once the J-1 International Scholar enters the U.S., scholars/professors are here to teach or to perform research. They may enroll in courses as long as it doesn't interrupt their primary, original objective; they may not, however, enroll in a full-time degree-seeking course of study.

Mandatory Health Insurance

J-1 International Scholars and their dependents (J-2s) are required by law to carry Health Insurance throughout the duration of their visit in the U.S. including during a transfer from one university to another J-1 sponsor and/or during the extension of the scholar's current J-1 program.  Please email J1Program@westernu.edu regarding your medical insurance coverage.

Incidental Employment/Occasional Lectures or Consultations

J-1 International Scholars can be paid for occasional lectures or consultation off campus but only with written authorization from the J-1 RO/ARO at J1Program@westernu.edu

Procedures for approval:

Occasional lectures or consultations must be submitted in advance and in writing for approval by the RO/ARO and must be documented in SEVIS.

If wages or other remuneration will be involved, the exchange visitor must provide to the RO/ARO:

- a letter from the inviter that sets forth the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult including the duration, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation, and description of such activity; and

- a letter from his/her department supervisor recommending such activity and explaining how it would enhance the exchange visitor's program.

The RO must review these letters and "make a written determination whether such activity is warranted, will not interrupt the exchange visitor's original objective and satisfies the criteria set forth in section (g)(1) of this paragraph."  Code of Federal Regulations 22 C.F.R § 62.20 (g)(2)(ii)

Transfer to Another J-1 Sponsor Institution

International Scholars may transfer from one sponsor to another only if they are released by the first sponsor as required by DOS regulations. A transfer must be clearly consistent with the intent and purpose of the original program objective and category. A transfer does not extend the length of the maximum program duration of the category. Health Insurance must be in effect as long as the scholar is in the U.S. and may be obtained with the new sponsor.

Program Extension

An International Scholar's program may be extended at the sponsor's discretion to the extent permitted by the DOS regulations. Sufficient funds must be available to support you and any dependents if a new Form DS-2019 is to be issued. Financial documentation will be required from the J-1's supervisor indicating funds are available to extend the program. This extension should be requested at least 45 days in advance of the Program End Date on the DS-2019 Form. Proof of continued health insurance benefits for the J-1 and J-2's will also be required. Please contact the J-1 RO/ARO J1Program@westernu.edu regarding an extension request.  For J-1 employees, the Office of Human Resources; Payroll Administrator; and, Sponsored Programs and Contract Management (if applicable).

Grace Period

When a J-1 International Scholar has completed his or her program, a 30-day grace period begins. During these 30 days, he/she may remain in the U.S. and prepare to leave. The scholar is not permitted to work during the grace period. The scholar cannot exit the U.S. and re-enter as a J-1 during the grace period.

NOTE: Extensions and transfers will not be processed during the 30-day grace period

J-2 Dependents - Benefits and Limitations

  • Dependents of J-1 International Scholars(J-2s) may be employed after receiving authorization from USCIS.   
  • J-2 Dependents are subject to the Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212.E) as is the J-1 International Scholar.
  • J-2 dependents cannot remain in the US after the J-1 completes their program or if the J-1 is out of the U.S. for more than one month.
  • J-2 dependents can study full-time or part-time, but they must carry adequate health insurance equivalent to the standards set for the J-1.

International Scholar Program Information

The International Scholar Program regulations are located in the Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations are generally available for review at the offices of responsible officers, universities, law schools, or large public libraries. They are also available on the Internet at http://exchanges.state.gov/jexchanges/exchange-visitor.html. Additional requirements that may apply to you are set forth in the International Scholar Program Regulations. Review a copy of the current regulations and consult with your responsible officer.

The address, telephone and fax numbers, and web site address of the International Scholar Program, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State are:

SA-44, Room 734
301 4th Street, SW Washington, DC 20547.
TEL: 202-401-9810
FAX 202-401-9809


Updated:  August 2015