J-1 Scholars

ISSS: J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Information: Inviting and Hosting an Exchange Visitor

Links for J-1 Scholars

Information about the J-1 Program

Through the U.S. Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, foreign nationals may visit the United States temporarily to teach, lecture, study, observe, conduct research, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Designated sponsoring organizations facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into the United States to participate is these programs. At the conclusion of the program, participants are expected to return to their home countries.


The U.S. Department of State has designated NAU as one of the J-1 program sites for professors, researchers, short term scholars and specialists to participate in salaried or non-salaried positions.  Exchange Visitors come with a temporary non-immigrant J-1 status, limited by the type of program and the invitation from the hosting department, and they must engage in the professional activity at NAU for which they are invited by a hosting department. Professors and researchers are allowed a maximum of 5 years in J-1 status, short-term scholars a maximum of 6 months, and specialists a maximum of 1 year. Those who spend more than 6 months in J-1 professor or researcher status have additional restrictions about returning to the U.S. in J-1 status following the completion or ending of their program in the U.S. link to the Rules and Regulations for J-1 Exchange Visitors.

The J-1 program cannot be used for a tenured or tenure-track position. Please contact an International Scholar Adviser to discuss other options for those positions.

The hosting department is responsible for the official invitation, providing information and assistance to the visitor regarding office/lab space and equipment/computer access, travel to Flagstaff, housing, transportation, child care, health care providers, human resources, and university/community orientation. Visitors are expected to participate in department and classroom presentations, and university activities.

The International Scholar Adviser is responsible for issuing all J-1 immigration documents, advising on all immigration related concerns, providing health insurance information and determining compliance, and assisting the host, visitor and accompanying family as needed.  The International Scholar Adviser is also responsible for maintaining current J-1 Exchange Visitor information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This is the process used by the US Department of Homeland Security to issue all immigration related documents and to record specific information about the visitor’s program, financial support, and address while in the US. 

NAU also hosts J-1 government sponsored students (IREX, Fulbright, Muskie, etc.) and J-1 Exchange Students. Information about the student programs is not included here.

NOTE: Immigration regulations are subject to change.

Inviting a Visitor

Contact International Scholar Adviser to discuss your interest in bringing an international professor, researcher or specialist to campus for a temporary position. If the J-1 Exchange Program is the best option, you will need to complete the DS-2019 Request Form. The
DS-2019 is the U.S. Department of State document that the visitor needs to request a J-1 visa and enter the U.S. 


The DS-2019 Request Form will be sent to you as an e-mail attachment. Please do not send this to the visitor.  This is to be completed by you, the host, with the financial information and signatures from the chair, dean and/or director. The visitor must have at least $1500 USD per month available for the program at NAU.

Please complete the health insurance section to the best of your knowledge. The International Scholar Adviser will provide information to the visitor about the options which must meet the
J-1 program requirements. This is, of course, one of the most peculiar concepts for visitors to understand: deductibles, exclusions, co-pay, etc.

A Personal Information Form for the exchange visitor will also be sent as an e-mail attachment.  Forward this to the visitor to complete. A scanned or faxed copy of the passport information page for the visitor and each accompanying family member must be included and returned to you. 

Submit the DS-2019 Request Form, financial information and the Personal Information Form to the International Scholar Adviser. If the information meets the guidelines, the DS-2019s for the visitor and each family member will be issued, usually withintwo working days. The
DS-2019(s), a welcome/information letter, and a brochure from the Department of State will be returned to you to send to the visitor with your department letter of invitation.

The exchange visitor will need to pay a J-1 $180 USD (subject to change) SEVIS fee, make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate, complete the visa application forms, and pay the visa application fees. Information about this process will be sent to visitor.  (Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement but not the SEVIS fee, and must present the DS-2019 and SEVIS fee receipt to the U.S. immigration officer at the border.)  The visitor needs to check the Department of State web-site and/or contact the nearest U.S. consulate in his/her home country or country of current residence to learn the process for a visa application. 

Upon arrival at NAU, the visitor must make an appointment with the International Scholar Adviser to check-in. An appointment may be scheduled by calling the Center for International Education at (928) 523-2409. Documents will be reviewed for the SEVIS compliance and for the health insurance requirement. Visitors who are employed by NAU will be referred to Human Resources for payroll, benefits, and the ID number. To obtain an ID and NAU  computer access for a non-paid visitor, complete the Affiliation Type Application Form.

Financial Support

Evidence of financial support must accompany the request for the DS-2019.  A minimum of $1500 USD per month must be available to the visitor. This may be NAU salary, support from other organizations, salary from a home country institution, and/or personal funds.  Support for family is $500 USD per month for a spouse and $400 USD per month, per child.


Previous Time in J-1 Status

If the invited visitor is currently in the U.S. in J-1 status or has previously been in a J-1 program, the applicant must provide evidence of the current and/or previous status by submitting photocopies of DS-2019s, along with passport stamps showing U.S. departure dates. The International Scholar Adviser will determine the visitor’s eligibility for a DS-2019, program transfer, or other options. The U.S. Department has regulations about the amount of time a J-1 professor/researcher must spend out of the US before returning again in J-1 professor/researcher status.


Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

If the exchange visitor is financed either by the U.S. government or home country government, orwhose occupation is listed on the U.S. Department of State “skills list”, the visitor is required to return to his/her home country for two years after completing the Exchange Visitor program at NAU. The International Scholar Adviser can assist visitors who have questions about this requirement, including advisery options from the U.S. Department of State and the waiver application process.


Mandatory Health Insurance

All visitors and their J-2 dependents (spouse and children under 21 years of age) are required to have continuous health insurance that meets the Exchange Visitor program requirements. 


If the visitor is eligible for NAU health insurance benefits, the visitor will need to purchase a supplemental policy to meet the additional medical evacuation and repatriation requirements that are not covered through the NAU policies.  The International Scholar Adviser has information about the supplemental policy.

If the visitor is not eligible for NAU benefits, the J-1 can purchase at policy through Seven Corners. The cost depends on the age of the visitor and the number of dependents accompanying him/her.          

If the visitor has health insurance that s/he plans to use in the U.S., a Verification of Health Insurance Form MUST be completed by the insurance provider. The International Scholar Adviser can provide this form to the visitor, and the vendor must return the form directly to the International Scholar Adviser for review and approval.  If the policy meets the J-1 requirements, no other insurance will be required.

The visitor is responsible for all medical expenses and seeks reimbursement from the provider.  It is the visitor’s responsibility to maintain insurance at all times and to provide the International Scholar Adviser with evidence of extension prior to the end of a current policy.  Visitors who fail to maintain the required health insurance for themselves and dependents will have their J-1 status terminated, the program at NAU will cease, and they will be required to return home immediately.

Change of Address

The exchange visitor is required to report all address changes to the International Scholar Adviser who will make the change in SEVIS, as required by immigration law.


Occasional Lectures

If the visitor is invited to present a lecture or participate in a project elsewhere, prior authorization for the opportunity must be given. Contact the International Scholar Adviser to discuss the procedure.



The exchange visitor may travel with-in the U.S. with no restrictions other than to always carry the DS-2019 and passport with I-94 Arrival/Departure card. If the visitor travels outside the U.S., a travel signature is required on the DS-2019 to facilitate re-entry to the U.S. prior to the end of the program.



Extensions are possible, depending on the type of program. Contact the International Scholar Adviser for the procedure. The visitor must have evidence of extended health insurance when the request for the extension is approved.


Change of Arrival Plans

If the visitor is unable to arrive at the time stated on the DS-2019, contact the International Scholar Adviser with the updated arrival information.  It may be necessary to issue a new
DS-2019 and change the arrival date in SEVIS. This should prevent problems requesting a visa or at the U.S. port of entry.


Transfer of Program

It is possible for an exchange visitor to transfer to NAU from another university. Time spent in J status there will be deducted from the maximum time allowed for the program. If an NAU sponsored visitor wishes to transfer to another university, written approval of this plan must be
submitted by the NAU host to the International Scholar Adviser before the transfer process can be initiated in SEVIS.


If the Exchange Visitor leaves NAU prior to the end date stated on the DS-2019, the host MUST contact the International Scholar Adviser for SEVIS notification. If the visitor completes his/her program on the date stated on the DS-2019, he/she and any dependents have an additional 30 days to prepare to leave the U.S. During these 30 days, the visitor may not be employed or “volunteer” in the NAU position.