The J-1 Exchange Visitor program is used for temporary appointments such as postdoctoral appointments, non-tenure track, salaried faculty positions, non-salaried Visiting Scholars, and other temporary academic staff appointments. The J-1 visa is also used for visiting students. It is an appropriate visa for all unpaid academic appointments and many paid ones. It is not appropriate for tenure-track positions or for positions involving anything more than incidental (such as observing) clinical patient contact or care.
J-1 Visa Categories
The J-1 visa has different categories. UVM is authorized to issue J-1 immigration documents (DS-2019s) for a limited number of these categories.
Program Duration: 1 day to 6 months
Short-Term Scholars may be authorized a period of stay for up to six months to lecture, observe, consult, participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, study tours, professional meetings and/or similar types of educational and professional activities. Extensions beyond six months are not permitted.
Program Duration: 3 weeks to 1 year
Specialists are defined as individuals who are experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the US for observing, consulting or demonstrating their special skills. A specialist may not fill a permanent or long-term position of employment while in the US. This category is not intended for experts covered by the research scholar, professor, short-term scholar or foreign physician in graduate medical education or training categories. The maximum period of stay is one year.
Program Duration: 3 weeks to 5 years
Professors and research scholars may be authorized to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program providing the program does not exceed five years.
Professors are those primarily involved in teaching, lecturing, observing and/or consulting in their fields of expertise. Professor may also engage in research unless disallowed by their sponsor.
Research scholars are those who are primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project in their fields of expertise. Research scholars may also teach or lecture, incident to their research, unless disallowed by their sponsor.
- Five Year Rule: The maximum length of program for J-1 exchange visitors in the Research Scholar and Professor category is five years. The five year maximum stay for a J-1 research scholar/professor is not counted in the aggregate. The five year “clock” begins with the start date on the DS-2019 form and this status remains available until the end of five years or the date the J-1 program is concluded, whichever is earlier.
- The initial DS-2019 will be issued for the duration of the appointment and can be extended up to a maximum of five years.
Program Duration: 3 weeks to 2 years
Students enrolled at an institution overseas occasionally come to UVM to work with a UVM faculty member on research related to their home degree. Students who come in this category are not enrolled in a full slate of coursework at UVM; instead, they may be enrolled in Grad 902 or 903 as a Visiting Graduate Student. This category requires that more than half of the funds covering the J-1 visitor's expenses are from a source other than personal funds. Students enrolled in courses full time typically are exchange students who are coming to UVM through a program formalized through the Office of International Education and the Provost’s Office. If you are uncertain what type of student you are seeking to bring to UVM, or how they should come to UVM, please call the OIE to discuss.
Program duration: 3 weeks to 12 months
Participation in the Student Intern subcategory is available only to foreign students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States, whose US internship will "fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution." Student interns may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each foreign degree/major.
Note: Participants in special programs may have particular restrictions. International medical graduates and visiting Fulbright scholars are two examples.
International Medical Graduates
International Medical Graduates coming to the US to pursue graduate medical education or training must be sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). Consult ECFMG for sponsorship requirements.
If there is no or only incidental patient care, UVM may issue J-1s for programs that primarily involve consultation, observation, teaching and/or research.
Visiting Fulbright Scholars
UVM does not process DS-2019s for Fulbright Scholars, but the Office of International Education still needs to be apprised that these scholars will be on campus. The Office of International Education is the official institutional contact for Fulbright for scholars they sponsor to be on our campus. Business managers in departments which will host a Fulbright Scholar should complete the "Other Cases - New Employee or Visitor" eform in iStart, and indicate the Fulbright connection.
Faculty may be contacted by prospective Fulbrighters regarding potential placements. If a faculty member/department is amenable to hosting a Fulbright Scholar, the prospective scholar will first need to notify her/his country’s Fulbright Commission to communicate the intent to join UVM for the fellowship period. The in-country Fulbright Commission will then contact the Institute of International Education in the United States which administers the Fulbright Program. At this point, an IIE representative will initiate contact with the Office of International Education regarding formal acceptance paperwork.
Upon arrival, all Fulbright Scholars should check in with the OIE.
Hosting a J-1 Exchange Visitor
Ready to host a J-1 Exchange Visitor? Find information on the invitation and visa process below.
In order for OIE to issue the document required for your Visitor to apply for a visa, the host department must demonstrate that the Visitor can demonstrate sufficient funding for their Visit. Funding requirements will increase soon for new requests. Currently, host departments must provide in iStart documents which demonstrate that the Vistor will have the equivalent of $1,900 for each month of the visit to cover the costs associated with housing, food, health expenses, transportation, etc. Actual costs for living in Vermont will vary from visitor to visitor, but the amount needed for a DS-2019 is set as a minimum for all visitors. Additional funding is required if dependents will be joinng the Visitor. Accepted forms of financial documentation include a UVM offer letter and bank statements which belong to the prospective Visitor.
Invitation Process - Requesting a DS-2019
Invitation Process - Additional Paperwork
Additional paperwork is required for non-UVM salaried visiting scholars and visiting graduate students not funded by UVM.
- For Non-UVM salaried Visiting Scholars: A Non-Salaried Visiting Scholar Appointment Form is required for visiting faculty who are fully-funded by external sources and who will receive no salary from UVM. EXCEPTION: UVM does not process DS-2019s for Fulbright Scholars.
- For Visiting Graduate Students not funded by UVM: Please review the Graduate College’s Visiting Graduate Student policy and complete the Visiting Graduate Student request form and submit it to the Graduate College.
Processing and Timeline FAQs
How far in advance should a department request a DS-2019?
DS-2019s should be requested a minimum of 10 weeks prior to date of entry to the US or requested start date, whichever is earlier.
How long does it take for OIE to process immigration documents?
We request a minimum of two weeks processing time for all immigration documents. We will strive to produce documents within 5 business days when possible.
When will the scholar receive their immigration documents after processing?
The OIE sends all documents by UPS Express mail to ensure delivery and the ability to track a package’s whereabouts. Generally, most documents will arrive at locations abroad within 3-5 business days. Visiting students/scholars require original immigration documents; electronic copies are not currently acceptable.
What is the SEVIS fee?
The SEVIS fee is a fee that must be paid by all J-1 visa holders coming to UVM prior to applying for the J-1 visa at a consulate abroad. Currently, this fee is $220 for J-1 students and scholars and is in addition to the visa application fee. Should a department wish to pay the fee for an incoming scholar, please notify the OIE and supply the chart-string you wish to use to cover this fee.
When should the student or scholar have their immigration documents in hand?
At a bare minimum, 8 weeks prior to the arrival date to accommodate the visa application and interview process at a US embassy or consulate abroad. Some consular posts have significant waiting periods for visa processing. In general, most posts strive to provide appointments within two weeks from the student/scholar’s initial request. Visa appointment wait times for a specific consular post can be found on the US Department of State website.
Is there a special process for setting up a new foreign national employee with Human Resources?
Foreign national employees should be set up with Human Resources as any other university hire. Please see this explanation of the UVM Human Resources Process for additional information.
All J-1 visa holders must formally check in with the Office of International Education on or before the first day of work/program activities. To schedule an appointment, please call 802-656-4296. When scheduling an appointment, we will need to know the name and visa category of the new arrival.
During check-in, we will:
- Complete formal immigration check-in in the national immigration database, called SEVIS (F-1 and J-1 visa holders)
- Complete and authorize I-9, for those being compensated by UVM
- Review relevant immigration regulations
- Refer to the Social Security Administration when relevant for SSN application
- Verify required health insurance (J-1 visa holders)
- Provide general orientation and answers about getting settled in Vermont
Please make every effort to request a J-1 program extension in a timely manner. If a J-1 visa holder continues employment beyond the initial program end date, she/he is out of status and working without authorization.
Extension requests should be submitted through iStart.
Still have questions? Contact us at InternationalScholars@uvm.edu or make an appointment at https://calendly.com/uvm-international-scholars/j-1-advising-appointment.