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J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Overview

UMBC uses the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa to welcome visiting researchers, professors, students and collaborators from around the world.

The category was created “to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges,” according to the U.S. Department of State.

The J-1 visa category includes various types of visitors, and each category has its own rules and opportunities.

Types of J-1 Exchange Visitors

Within the overall J-1 visa status, there are several different types of visitor. Each category is used for different purposes and valid for varying lengths of time.  UMBC is approved to host the following categories of J-1 Visitors:

Short-Term Scholar

  • Goal of Visit: lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills
  • Visit Length: 1 day – 6 months
  • Restrictions on Returning to the US: None, unless subject to the 212(e) 2 Year Home Residency Requirement 
  • Ability to Work in the US: Can work on UMBC’s campus in position associated with purpose for visit, and can be approved by UMBC IES Office for work off-campus in occasional lectures and short-term consultations associated with the goal of the visit

Research Scholar

  • Goal of Visit: Researching (primary focus), teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting
  • Visit Length: 3 weeks – 5 years
  • Restrictions on Returning to the US: May not return in J-1 Researcher or Professor categories for 24 months
  • Ability to Work in the US: Can work on UMBC’s campus in position associated with purpose for visit, and can be approved by UMBC IES Office for work off-campus in occasional lectures and short-term consultations associated with the goal of the visit

Professor

  • Goal of Visit: Teaching (primary focus), researching, lecturing, observing, and/or consulting
  • Visit Length: 3 weeks – 5 years
  • Restrictions on Returning to the US: May not return in J-1 Professor or Researcher categories for 24 months
  • Ability to Work in the US:  Can work on UMBC’s campus in position associated with purpose for visit, and can be approved by UMBC IES Office for work off-campus in occasional lectures and short-term consultations associated with the goal of the visit
  • Tenure-Track faculty positions are NOT eligible for a J-1 visa, and should be hired as H-1b employees

Student

  • Goal of Visit: Pursue a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral Degree, with financial support exclusively from home government, US government or international organization
  • Visit Length: Duration of degree program plus any “Academic Training” work experience
  • Restrictions on Returning to the US: Must be outside of the US for at least 12 months to return in the J-1 Researcher/Professor categories; otherwise, no restrictions unless subject to the 212(e) 2 Year Home Residency Requirement 
  • Ability to Work in the US: Part-time, on-campus work; “Academic Training” for off-campus work, up to 18 months for Bachelor’s and Master’s students, and up to 36 months for Doctoral students

 

Basic Requirements Overview

All J-1 Visitors must provide proof of the following:

  • Evidence of adequate funding for entire visit
  • Health insurance that meets State Department standards for entire visit
  • Current passport, valid for at least 6 months
  • Adequate English language skills to be able to complete the goal of the visit, participate in cultural exchange and manage day to day tasks

After providing the required documents in collaboration with their sponsoring department, a prospective J-1 visitor will be issued a DS-2019 document from the IES Office, which is needed to apply for a J-1 visa.

J-1 visitors already in the US are also welcome to transfer to UMBC from their current school.

 

Next Steps to become a J-1 Visitor at UMBC

  • Complete the J-1 Scholar application with your sponsoring Academic department
  • Apply for and receive J-1 visa for visitor and any dependents (spouse or children) OR complete J-1 transfer process if already in the US in J-1 status
  • Enter the US and Check-in with the UMBC IES Office
  • Understand and follow J-1 rules, including work opportunities, while in the US in J-1 status
  • Participate in cultural programming to engage in a cultural exchange with your American hosts
  • Update our office with any changes in your J-1 program
  • Understand your ability to return to the US after completing your J-1 program