J-1 Visiting Scholars

SCSU's Process for Hosting a J-1 Scholar (Short-term or Research) can be found here. (Appendix B is available upon request)

If you have any questions about SCSU's J-1 Scholar process, do not hesitate to email OIE at oie@southernct.edu.

From the U.S. Department of State


What is the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP)?

The EVP provides opportunities for around 300,000 foreign visitors per year to experience United States (U.S.) society and culture and engage with Americans. There are fifteen different categories under the J-1 visa program, of which, thirteen categories include privately-funded programs that are implemented under the auspices of the Office of Private Sector Exchange in the Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Department designates more than 1,400 for-profit, non-profit, or federal, state, and local government entities to conduct such private sector programs.

Exchange visitors on private sector programs may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. In addition to the thirteen private sector exchange categories listed below, the J-1 visa program also includes two categories that are publicly funded: International Visitors and Government Visitors.


Who Comes on the EVP?

EVP participants are young leaders and entrepreneurs, students, fledgling and more seasoned professionals eager to hone their skills, strengthen their English language abilities, connect with Americans, and learn more about the U.S. Most individuals choosing to come to the U.S. on a J-1 visa exchange program are funded privately. J-1 visa exchanges include a cultural component that gives participants the opportunity to engage more broadly with Americans and share their own cultures with their U.S. host communities. They return home eager to stay connected, to expand their networks, and to explore future exchange opportunities as "citizen ambassadors."


Where can I learn more about the EVP?

Find out more about J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program.

Hosting A J-1 Visiting Scholar at SCSU

If you are approved by the appropriate Dean and Department Chair to participate as a Visiting Scholar for three weeks or longer at Southern, the Office of International Education will contact you to request information required in order for SCSU to issue your DS-2019 (for immigration purposes) and to place you in the appropriate J-1 visa category: Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar. 

  • Interview Process: The Scholar's SCSU faculty host will conduct an interview with the scholar to complete the OIE's J-1 Exchange Visitor English Proficiency Interview Form.
  • Receive a Letter of Invitation: An official Letter of Invitation will also be issued to the J-1 Visiting Scholar stating the name of the faculty host or hosting department, the appropriate staff contact in the OIE, and federal requirements regarding mandatory health insurance for J-1 Scholars.

Receive Your DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J-Nonimmigrant)

Documentation showing Proof of comprehensive health insurance and proof of sufficient funds/finances (to support the Exchange Visitor and all dependents for the duration of his/her stay) are required in order for the OIE to issue the DS-2019.

  • Proof of health insurance: SCSU partners with ISO to provide health insurance coverage for J-1 Exchange Visitors. If your current comprehensive health insurance policy provides coverage for overseas travel that meets U.S. federal minimum requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors (medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness; repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness – additional details available here) you may request a waiver of the ISO policy through ISO. Contact ISO at waivers@isoa.org.
  • Proof of finances: showing sufficient funding to cover you (and any J-2 dependents, if applicable) may be presented in the form of personal bank statements, a letter from your home university (if they are issuing funds), or a notification of travel award, grant, scholarship, or fellowship.

Upon receipt of comprehensive health insurance and proof of finances, a draft of the DS-2019 will be sent for review and confirmation that all information is accurate. The finalized DS-2019 will then be express mailed to the mailing address specified by the scholar.

Pay the SEVIS (I-901) Fee

Before you can apply for your J-1 visa, you must pay the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. Canadian citizens (who don't need a visa to enter the United States) must also pay this fee.

How to Pay

The easiest payment method is online, but you can also pay by mail or Western Union.

The SEVIS I-901 fee is $220.00 for J visa applicants and is non‐refundable. However, in the unlikely instance that your visa application is denied, you may reapply for a new J-1 visa within 12 months without having to pay a new SEVIS fee. 

Apply for your Visa with your U.S. Embassy or Consulate

You'll apply for your visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to you. Check the Consulate or Embassy's website for application instructions. The US Department of State lists appointment and processing wait times.

Once you have applied and received your visa, please contact the OIE to confirm that you have been issued a visa and to notify the office of your travel plans/itinerary information.

Travel to the U.S.

When you have received your J-1 visa, you can arrange your travel. You can enter the US as early as 30 days before the program start date on your DS-2019 (but no earlier).

Document Checklist

Make sure you have the following items with you at all times.

  • Your passport, valid for at least six months from your entry date
  • Your DS-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (receipt or Form I-797)
  • Welcome Letter and/or Letter of Invitation from Southern Connecticut State University
  • Original financial documents proving sufficient funding, as reflected on your DS-2019
  • Medical records: certificates of immunizations and vaccinations, and any prescriptions or necessary medical documents
  • Documents demonstrating your intent to return to your home country the U.S. once you've completed your period of stay at SCSU

After arriving in the United States, J-1 Exchange Visitors must must come to the Office of International Education (OIE) with their passport and DS-2019 to be welcomed and validated in SEVIS.

Your SCSU Faculty Hoot Loot ID card can be obtained by the University Card Office located in the Wintergreen Building on Wintergreen Avenue. If you are unsure of your SCSU ID number, contact the OIE.

J-1 Research Scholars and J-1 Short-term Scholars who are holding paid positions of employment must obtain an authorized letter from the OIE to take with them to the Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security Number as soon as possible.

Be sure to contact the OIE if a change of address or telephone number occurs so that the OIE can update your records in SEVIS.

If you have plans to travel outside of the U.S. during your J-1 program period, please inform the OIE at least two weeks in advance to receive a Travel Authorization signature on your DS-2019.

What is the 212(e) Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement?

Often referred to as the "Two-Year Rule" or the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement, the 212(e) requires a J-1 Visa holder to return to his/her home country for at least two years at the end of his/her exchange visitor program. This is also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e). If he/she is unable to return to his/her home country to fulfill the two-year requirement, he/she must obtain a waiver approved by the Department of Homeland Security prior to changing status in the United States or being issued a visa in certain categories for travel to the United States.

212(e) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Am I subject to the 212(e)?

As a current or past exchange visitor (J-1) visa holder, you and your dependents (J-2) are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Government funded Exchange Program - You participated in an exchange program that was funded in whole or in part by a U.S. government agency, your home country's government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or your home country's government.
  • Specialized Knowledge or Skill – You participated in an exchange program involving an area of study or field of specialized knowledge that has been designated as necessary for further development of your home country and appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for your home country.
  • Graduate Medical Education/Training - You participated in an exchange program to receive graduate medical education or training.


2. How do I determine if my exchange visitor program was funded by the U.S. government, my home country's government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or my home country's government?

You should consult with your program's Responsible Officer (R.O.) for assistance in making this determination. If your participation in an exchange visitor program was funded either in whole or in part by the U.S. government, your home country's government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or your home country's government, then you are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.


3. What are the bases upon which I can apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?

Review the Waiver Eligibility webpage, which explains in detail the five bases set forth in U.S. immigration law under which you may apply for a waiver of this requirement. You may only apply under one waiver basis, so select the one basis under which you believe you qualify for a waiver or that applies to your situation. The five bases for recommendation of a waiver are:

  • No Objection Statement;
  • Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency;
  • Persecution;
  • Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen (or lawful permanent resident) Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor; and
  • Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program).


4. I am the J-2 spouse or child of a J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. Am I also subject to this requirement?

Yes. A J-2 spouse or child is subject to the same requirements as a J-1 exchange visitor.


5. My J-1 spouse or parent is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and is applying for a waiver. Since I am also subject to this requirement, do I need to apply for my own separate waiver recommendation, Form DS-3035, and pay the fee?

No. You are automatically included in your spouse's or parent's waiver recommendation application. Your spouse or parent will need to list you when completing the application for waiver recommendation, Form DS-3035.


6. If my J-1 spouse or parent obtains a recommendation for waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, will it also apply to me, as a J-2 spouse or child of an exchange visitor?

Yes. If your J-1 spouse or parent receives a favorable recommendation from the Department of State's Waiver Review Division, it will be forwarded to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS grants the waiver to your J-1 spouse or parent, then you will also benefit from that waiver.


7. My J-1 spouse or parent is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, but is not applying for a waiver recommendation. May I, as his or her J-2 spouse or child, apply?

With a few exceptions, J-2 spouses and children cannot independently apply for waiver recommendations when their J-1 spouses or parents are not applying.


8. Exceptions where the Waiver Review Division will consider requests for waiver recommendations from J-2 spouses and children are:

  • when the J-1 spouse dies;
  • when the J-1 and J-2 spouses divorce; and
  • when a J-2 child reaches age 21.

All such cases are evaluated by the Waiver Review Division on a case-by-case basis.


9. If you, as a J-2 spouse or child, believe that your situation merits special consideration based on one of the exceptions above:

You should complete online form DS-3035, pay the processing fee (Steps 1 and 2 of the Instructions), and submit a statement explaining why you are applying for a waiver and your J-1 spouse or parent is not. Your statement should also explain why your situation merits special consideration. As applicable, you must also submit:

  • a copy of your J-1 spouse's death certificate;
  • a copy of the divorce decree from your J-1 spouse; or
  • a copy of your birth certificate, if you are a J-2 child age 21 or over.



Taken, in part, from the U.S. Department of State.