J-1 Visa Category

UAF Departments may host or sponsor Department of State Exchange Visitors (J-1 Visa Category)

  • Sponsoring document is a Form DS-2019
  • Has 13 categories of which we are authorized four: student, professor, short term scholar and research scholar – there are different rules for each category
  • J-1 student must come as part of a recognized exchange or be substantially funded by other than personal or family funds
  • J-1 professor/short term scholar/ research scholar may be self supporting but there must be some reason for the University to be sponsoring them to be here
  • The J-1 category will not be used for individuals being hired in benefit-eligible positions as the result of a competitive recruitment, to include post-docs for positions lasting over 6 months.  These are more appropriately sponsored in the H-1B status. 
  • Dependent is a J-2 who is eligible to study full time/enter a degree program, and work with USCIS employment authorization. At no time may the funds of the J-2 be used to support the J-1 (separate checking/saving accounts are advised; cannot buy food or pay utilities, etc) It is the responsibility of the J-2 dependent to file immigration form I-765 (Request for Employment Authorization) with the USCIS Service Center.  Employment cannot begin until after the employment authorization card has been received by the J-2.

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor program is to promote mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The program provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the U.S. and then return home to share their experiences. University of Alaska Fairbanks is authorized to participate in the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor program in the Professor, Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar and Student categories.

This is an exchange program under a U.S. non-immigrant visa category. The intent of the individual is to come to the U.S. temporarily and leave the U.S. at the conclusion of the program. As such, participants are not eligible for tenure-track positions. The goals of the sponsoring department should be to encourage and support collaborative research and study through the exchange of ideas and information.

In order for individuals to participate in the Exchange Visitor program at UAF, they must be invited and sponsored by a UAF School, Institute or Department. Before inviting prospective Exchange Visitors, please read the category descriptions at the end of this information to make sure your prospective visitor has the credentials necessary to participate in this program. Once all requirements are met, the IPI, by authority of the U.S. Department of State, will issue the form DS2019 to prospective Exchange Visitors. On receipt of the DS-2019 and payment of the SEVIS fee, individuals may apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Checklist
J-1 Authorization Request Form (PDF)
J-1 Beneficiary Information Form (PDF), completed by prospective Visitor

There are no USCIS fees for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. IPI internal processing fees apply. Additionally the U.S. government SEVIS fee must be paid before the proposed visitor applies for the J-1 visa. This fee may be paid on behalf of the visitor by the hosting UAF unit or the visitor.

Fees:
IPI Internal Processing: This must be paid by the hosting unit.
Initial J-1 for Visiting Professors and Scholars (Short-term and Research) : $400
Amendments and/or Extensions: $250

Student Intern : $250 This may be paid by the hosting unit OR the student intern.
Amendments and/or Extensions: $250 must be paid by the hosting unit.

Note: The amendment fee will be waived for initial J-1s if all paperwork and required documentation is received at least 3 months before the requested program start date. The fee waiver will apply for the first amendment only if the visitor is delayed.

SEVIS fee : $180 (as of June, 2018)

Other costs:
Shipping
: Shipping of the completed package with the DS-2019 is the responsibility of the hosting unit.

Health Insurance: J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to have health insurance meeting the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program requirements. This may be paid by the hosting unit or the visitor. See the Insurance link for specific information. Note: The UA employee benefit health insurance does not meet the DOS EVP minimum requirements.

Insurance coverage as required by U.S. federal regulation:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  5. An insurance policy secured to fulfill the requirements of this section:
    1. May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;
    2. May include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and
    3. Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.
  6. Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fill the above requirements must, at a minimum, be: Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of ``A-'' or above, An Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of ``A-i'' or above, a Standard & Poor's Claims-paying Ability rating of ``A-'' or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above, or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country.

Reminders:

  • Verify who will be paying for the insurance (the UAF host department or the Exchange Visitor). Health insurance is a requirement of the U.S. Department of State for all individuals (both primary and dependents) in the J status. The health insurance must be effective from the date of arrival in the U.S. for the duration of the program. It is advisable to have health insurance for the entire stay in the U.S. if the visitor will remain during the 30-day grace period after the program end date. By U.S. Department of State regulation, proof of that insurance must be on file in IPI. Insurance information must be in English . See Department of State regulations for specific policy requirements.
  • Proof of insurance in English before arrival. The individual must have insurance coverage for the entire duration of their stay by U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program regulation. Specific insurance coverage amounts and terms are required. Willful noncompliance with the insurance regulation requires termination of the Exchange Visitor's program immediately. The visitor will need to depart the U.S. immediately to avoid accruing days of unlawful presence in the U.S.

Note: Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which governs health insurance coverage for all people residing in the U.S., exchange visitors may be, or become, subject to the individual mandate provision of the Act if they become U.S. residents for U.S. tax purposes.

UAF Departments or Exchange Visitors may purchase insurance from any provider who meets the minimum coverage and insurance rating requirements. The companies listed below offer plans that meet J-1 mandatory health insurance requirements:

The UAF Office of International Programs and Initiatives does not endorse any plan or insurance provider, nor do we make any guarantees about the quality of coverage or customer service. Please verify that any plan you select meets the insurance requirements, and evaluate options carefully.

Compass Benefits Group
Gateway USA
International Student Protection
ISO
PSI Health Insurance

J-1 Exchange Visitor Category Descriptions

Professor
An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor. (22 CFR 64.2(e))

Research Scholar
An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor. (22 CFR 62.4(f))

Note: For prospective Exchange Visitors who are currently enrolled in a master's degree program at a non-U.S. university, you must complete a statement that details 

  1. the specific role at UAF,
  2. the specific tasks and activities to be completed during the program, the specific goal/objectives of the program, 
  3. the knowledge or skills the Exchange Visitor will gain during the program, and 
  4. the method for evaluating/assessing whether the goals and objectives were met.
  5.  

The only exception to this policy is for people specifically hired in a research technician or similar position with a clearly defined position description. A clear exchange program objective consistent with the Exchange Visitor Program educational and cultural goals must be shown.  This cannot be used for foreign nationls being hired as a result of a competitive recruitment.  Students who have not completed a U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent are not eligible for the Research or Short-term Scholar categories. They may be eligible to participate as a J-1 Student Intern.

Short-Term Scholar
A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at the research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. (Regulation 22 CFR 62.4(b).) Short-term scholars may also participate in collaborative research. Note: for definition purposes only, as UAF is not authorized the Specialist category, a Specialist is an individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills. (22 CFR 62.4(g))  

Note: For prospective Exchange Visitors who are currently enrolled in a master's degree program at a non-U.S. university, you must complete a statement that details 

  1. the specific role at UAF,
  2. the specific tasks and activities to be completed during the program, the specific goal/objectives of the program,
  3.  
  4. the knowledge or skills the Exchange Visitor will gain during the program, and 
  5. the method for evaluating/assessing whether the goals and objectives were met.  

The only exception to this policy is for people specifically hired in a research technician or similar position with a clearly defined position description. Students who have not completed a U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent are not eligible for the Research or Short-term Scholar categories. They may be eligible to participate as a J-1 Student Intern.

Student
An individual who is studying in the U.S. enrolled in a full course of study at a secondary accredited educational institution and admitted into in a degree program culminating in a degree or non-degree program with a predetermined educational objective. College and university students are eligible for the Exchange Visitor Program only if at any time during their studies in the U.S. , they meet one of the following four criteria:

  • They or their program are financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. Government, the participant’s home government or an international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute;
  • The exchange program is carried out pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. Government and a foreign government;
  • The exchange program is carried out pursuant to a written agreement between:
    • An American and foreign educational institution
    • An American educational institution and a foreign government
    • A U.S. state or local government and a foreign government:
  •  OR The student is supported substantially by funding from other than personal and/or family sources.

J-1 Student Interns

J-1 Exchange Visitor Eligibility, Restrictions, and Other Considerations

The individual is eligible for J-1 status per 22 CFR 62.20(d) as follows :

Visitor eligibility: An individual may be selected for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a professor or research scholar subject to the following conditions:

  • (i) The participant shall not be a candidate for tenure track position; and
  • (ii) The participant has not been physically present in the United States as a nonimmigrant pursuant to the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J) (in J status) for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement set forth on his or her Form DS-2019, unless:

(A) The participant is transferring to the sponsor's program as provided in Sec. 514.42; or

(B) The participant's presence in the United States was of less than six months duration; or

(C) The participant's presence in the United States was pursuant to a Short-term scholar exchange activity as authorized by Sec. 514.21.

Academic Credentials for Professor, Research Scholar and Short term Scholar categories :

Professors and Scholars are expected to have appropriate academic or similar credentials. Generally a prospective exchange visitor in these categories should have at least a bachelor’s degree with appropriate experience in the specific field.

A student is required to be enrolled as a full-time student, either 12 undergraduate or 9 graduate credits. Non-degree students attending UAF are limited to 24 months of participation.

A professor or research scholar has a maximum period of five (5) years with no possibility of extension. The program must be at least 3 weeks in duration. The authorization is issued on a per-year basis, to ensure that the health insurance requirement is maintained. This category requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree and extensive experience.

A short-term scholar has a maximum of six (6) months or less with no minimum duration of stay. There is no extension beyond the 6-month limit. This category requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree and extensive experience.

While universities are not required to complete export control certifications for J-1 Exchange Visitors, we must comply with any and all export control regulations when hosting international scholars who may have access to regulated technologies. This form is a tool for working with OIP and the Office of Research Integrity to determine if an export control license is required, and then provides documentation for the exchange visitor during the visa granting process to show that all regulatory requirements are being met.

Export Control Certification Form (PDF)

Fact sheet about export control (PDF)

The individual must reside at UAF, unless another or multiple sites are listed on the DS-2019.

All categories are subject to the two-year home residence regulation if 1) they receive funding specifically for the exchange from their home government or the U.S. government, or 2) their field or study or specialty is on the home country skills list.

Following participation in the professor and research scholar categories, visitors must wait 24 months before returning in either of these categories.

The UAF J-1 Visa Request form must be received by the Office of International Programs with original signatures and all supporting documentation before the DS-2019 can be prepared.

Questions or Additional Information

Contact Joanna Cruzan or Kyle Johnson if you have questions or need additional information.