J-1 Scholars

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

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. 

 J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories include:

  • Short-Term Scholar: For a stay of six months or less, for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills; for a stay up to six months.
  • Research Scholar: Primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project; may also teach or lecture; for a stay up to five years.
  • Professor: Primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting; may also conduct research; for a stay up to five years.
  • Specialist: Expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, coming to the U.S. to observe, consult, or demonstrate special skills; for a stay up to one year (Only available in consultation with the ISS Office).

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 J-1 program in the U.S.

The hosting department is responsible for completing the iNAU application. Please note, upon approval of the J-1 Scholar Application, the hosting department is responsible for sending the DS-2019 document, the letter of invitation or employment, and any accompanying information from the Center of International Education to the J-1 exchange visitor. In addition, 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 sand classroom presentations and university activities.

In order to complete the Department Forms and J-1 Visitor Forms, you will need a .pdf of:

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.  


How to Apply

The process of inviting a scholar is initiated through iNAU by host department users. To gain access as a departmental user please visit iNAU and submit the Departmental Access Request e-form, instructions can be found here. In order to apply as or for a J-1 scholar, please read our directions for how to apply as a J-1 Scholar in iNAU as well as the following information. 

Information Needed

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.

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. 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. 

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, or whose 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. 

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.