International Scholar Relations

Inviting J-1 International Scholars

Host College/Department

Please read the following information carefully before you begin the invitation process.  Please email J1program@westernu.edu with questions.

J-1 Visa or H-1B Consideration

Before beginning the hiring/invitation process, please keep in mind that the J-1 status is not appropriate for visitors who intend to work in excess of 5 years or are seeking an H-1B visa and/or Green Card.  If you are hiring a Post Doctoral Fellow, you may find it ultimately easier to submit an H-1B application for her/him instead of a J-1 visa. Please contact the Office of Human Resources gabracosa@westernu.edu regarding a H-1B visa application process. 
Individuals who intend on pursuing advanced degrees while in the states may not do so on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.  J-1 Exchange Visitors are prohibited from matriculating into a degree-seeking program while on the J-1 visa.  WesternU is not currently approved to offer a J-1 student visa.
In addition, a prospective J-1 scholar may be subject to the “Two Year Bar” Home Residency Requirement based on skills or funding and may later need to file for a timely and costly waiver of this requirement or, if they have been in the U.S. on a J-1 visa previously, they may be subject to the “Twelve Month Bar“.

Two-Year Bar 

As of May 2005, regulations governing the Professor and Research Scholar categories were amended (22 CFR 62.20) to extend the duration of program participation for professors and research scholars from three years to five years (and beyond five years for participants in federally-funded research programs –G-7).  A participant is not eligible to return to the United States in the professor or research scholar category for a period of two years (24 months) immediately following completion of a five-year period.

Twelve-Month Bar 

An applicant under consideration for a J research scholar or professor visa does not quality if he/she has been in the United States on a J visa more than six of the twelve months preceding the new program’s start date.  A participant in the short-term scholar category is exempt from this bar.

Invitation Process Timeline

Plans to invite an individual in the J-1 visa category must begin early as it may take anywhere from one to four months for the entire Exchange Visitor process.  This process Flow chart  graphically demonstrates the steps that are necessary once a candidate has been identified.

J-1 Employee – Position Approval Required

To begin the invitation process, approval for the J-1 employee position must first be processed in the People Admin system before the J-1 RO/ARO can request a DS-2019 Form in the SEVIS program.  Questions regarding the People Admin hiring process should be addressed to sbales@westernu.edu in the Office of Human Resources.

Issuance of DS-2019 Form

The J-1 RO/ARO will require the documentation listed below before issuance of the DS-2019 Form. It is important that the host department provide all information requested. Missing information will cause unnecessary delays in the J-1 visa approval process. 

Department Letter of Invitation

An offer letter is a critical part of J visa approval process by the U.S. Embassy in the scholar’s homeland. It should be succinct in content and must include the following information (you may contact us for a suggested format and template):
  1. Name of Host College at WesternU;
  2. Name of inviting faculty/direct supervisor;
  3. Description of the Exchange Visitor’s program objective and proposed activities
  4. proposed Program Start and End Dates;
  5. Source of financial support with a minimum $2000 per month for non-academic expenses (housing, transportation, University annual parking fee $470.00, insurance, etc.)
  6. In addition: $500 for spouse; $250 for each dependent should be allowed per month, when applicable.
  7. Statement of medical insurance requirement for the J-1 and their J-2 dependents for the entire visit in the U.S.  If the scholar is not an employee, evidence of medical insurance documents must be in translated into English and must meet DOS regulations described below on this page.
J-1 eligibility for WesternU’s retirement plan is dependent on a number of factors.  Please contact our office to determine if your scholar is eligible to participate.  J-1 Post Docs scheduled to be at WesternU for one year or longer are eligible for a two-week paid time off (PTO).  J-1 Post Docs do not accrue vacation time. Unused vacation shall be forfeited upon departure from the University.

Department Request for DS-2019 Form (DRF)


The DRF Department Request for DS-2019 Form must be completed by the host department supervisor and the visiting scholar and signed by the College Dean; the inviting faculty member and the prospective scholar in BLUE INK
The prospective scholar must provide the following documentation: 
  • Copy of passport photo page for J-1 and accompanying dependents (J-2s);
  • Sufficient Financial Documentation – if, funded by other than WesternU;
  • Copy of all diplomas earned by the visiting scholar;
  • Copy of the Exchange Visitor’s current CV/resume;
  • Copies of immigration documents – if the scholar is already in the U.S.
  • Copies of marriage and/or birth certificates if the scholar will be bringing dependents to the U.S.
  • Documentation of English language proficiency

J-1 Program Activity Location

The location (off Pomona or Lebanon campus) where the J-1 scholar’s research/education activity will take place must be clearly defined on the Department Request for DS-2019 Form.
Please read the following statement from the US. Dept. of State Regulations:
22 CFR 62.20(f) – “Professors or research scholars shall conduct their exchange activity at the location(s) listed on the Form DS-2019 which could be either at the location of the exchange visitor sponsor or the site of a third party facilitating the exchange. An exchange visitor may also engage in activities at a location not listed on the Form DS-2019 if such activities constitute occasional lectures or consultations.”

DOS Requirements for J-1 Health Insurance

All J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents are required to maintain health and accident insurance coverage during their program. The Department of State, Homeland Security regulations specify a minimum level of coverage as follows:
  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the International Scholar to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

J-1 Health Insurance Program at WesternU

The following statement must be in the offer letter to a prospective J-1 employee who is benefits-eligible:
“As a J-1 employee who is benefits-eligible (working at least 30 hours per week), the University will provide BETA health and emergency insurance; however, J-1 scholars are required to purchase at a minimal cost to the scholar,  supplemental medical insurance either with Blue Shield or Kaiser in order to meet the Department of State’s medical insurance requirements for Exchange Visitors.  If you intend to bring dependents (J-2s), they will also be required to meet the same mandatory minimums of the J-1 exchange program.  On your date of hire, an employee orientation will be scheduled for you by your immediate supervisor to meet with the Office of Human Resources Benefits Representative for detailed information about your supplemental insurance benefit options.
The following statement must be in the offer letter to a prospective J-1 non employee:
“It will be your responsibility to purchase health insurance for you and any dependents who will be coming with you to the United States.  The policy must meet the minimums set forth by the U. S. Department of State.  You must provide evidence of insurance coverage in ENGLISH that meets the minimum standards of the regulations for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.”
The Host College/Inviting Faculty is responsible for emailing J1Program@westernu.edu with the scholar’s Date of Arrival on campus as well as scheduling an orientation with the Office of Human Resources Benefits personnel. Any questions, the scholar may have, will be answered during the OHR orientation.

Reporting J-1 Scholar “Change of Status”

As a J-1 Program Sponsor, WesternU is required to monitor J-1 participants to the extent appropriate for the category, and ensure that J-1 activities are consistent with the category indicated on the Form DS-2019.  Host Colleges and J-1 supervisors must inform all exchange visitors that they are required to keep them apprised of any “change of status” activites as follows:
  • intent to transfer to another university,
  • intent to travel both inside and outside of the U.S.
  • seeking application for a waiver of 212e (as noted on JVisa).
  • petitioning for an H-1B visa,
  • seeking application for a Green Card,
  • change of address or phone number,
  • report the birth of a child (J-2) while in the U.S. (passport and proof of medical insurance are required for all J-2s)

Host College/Professor Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the host department to help the visiting scholar secure housing and transportation from the airport to the University.

  • Insure that the sponsoring faculty member will not be on sabbatical or other leave during the stay of the visiting scholar; if he or she is taking leave, an alternate supervisor, who will be available to meet the visiting scholar’s needs, must be specified in writing to the ISR office J-1 Responsible Officer (RO).
  • Provide appropriate office and laboratory space as needed by the visiting scholar to meet the goals of his/her visit.
  • Assist the visiting scholar and his/her family with locating an appropriate place to live and related needs.
  • Provide professional contacts and support for the visiting scholar member during his/her visit.
  • Insure that the visiting scholar visits ISR upon arrival at the University for orientation required by federal regulations and completes any processes required by the University.
  • Insure that any difficulties which arise during the visiting scholar’s  stay at WesternU are brought to the attention of the J-1 RO in ISR.
  • Request extensions of exchange visitor’s program in a timely manner.
  • Inform the J-1 RO when exchange visitor completes his/her program and exits US.

J-1 Scholar Travel Out of Country

30-day Absence from the U.S. J-1, H-1B and some other nonimmigrant classes and their families affected.
Absence from the U.S. of more than 30 days can cancel, terminate or end your J, H, O, etc. status. You will need to start your status all over again. There are a few exceptions. Do not even consider being abroad more than 30-days without reviewing this information and making an appointment with an international advisor to discuss your plans.

Updated:  August 2015