According to the Department of State (DOS), the purpose of the J-1 Exchange Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States (US) and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.
The exchange of visiting scholars promotes interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in US and foreign countries. Participants in this program will enter the US with a J-1 visa, identified as “exchange visitors.”
J-1 visiting scholar appointments at the University of Pennsylvania fall into one of the following categories:
Professor: a professor is an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
Minimum stay of three weeks required
Maximum stay of five years
Research Scholar: a research scholar is an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
Minimum stay of three weeks required
Maximum stay of five years
Short-term Scholar: a short-term scholar is an individual coming to the US for a period of up to six months to lecture, observe, consult, and participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, study tours, professional meetings, or similar types of educational and professional activities.
No minimum stay required
Maximum stay of six months (NOTE: no extensions beyond six months under any circumstances)
Specialist: a specialist is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the US to demonstrate his/her special knowledge/skills, observe or consult.
Minimum stay of three weeks required
Maximum stay of twelve months
Limitations for J-1 Professor and Research Scholar Categories
Twelve-Month Bar: A foreign national is ineligible to participate in a professor/research scholar exchange program if he or she has held any J nonimmigrant status within the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the exchange program. This Twelve-Month Bar applies to J-2 dependents as well as principal non-immigrants. The following three exceptions exist:
J-1 transfers to Penn without any gap
Prior presence in J status in the US was of less than 6 months duration
Presence in J status as a Short-Term Scholar
24-Month Bar (also known as the Two-Year Bar): An individual who participates in the Exchange Visitor Program as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar becomes subject to the 24-Month Bar on "repeat participation" in those particular categories after completing his or her program even if the program lasts less than five years. DOS has taken the position that the 24-Month Bar will also apply to J-2 dependents of J-1 Professors or Research Scholars if the J-2 subsequently wishes to return as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.
J-1 scholar status is limited to those who hold University temporary, "visiting" academic positions. It cannot be used for tenure-track faculty positions, regular faculty or support positions, administrative positions, or staff positions.
Be sure to check your own school's internal policy regarding appointments, positions, lengths, and restrictions (e.g. SOM's Visitng Scholar policy). If unsure, please check with the school dean's office.
Also, the J-1 program of the University of Pennsylvania may not be used for clinical appointments to the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine, or UPHS hospitals.
Similarly, the J-1 program of the University of Pennsylvania may not be used for foreign medical graduates (FMGs) who will be involved in clinical activities or for those receiving medical training. FMGs who wish to participate in clinical programs of graduate medical education or training cannot be sponsored by the University's exchange visitor program. The only exchange program authorized to sponsor FMGs as J-1 exchange visitors for internships, residencies, specialized clinical training, and in other positions involving more than incidental patient contact, is the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
Minimum Funding Requirements
A minimum of $21,000 a year ($1,750/month) is required to support a single visiting scholar at Penn; an additional $6,000 a year is required for an accompanying spouse ($500/month) and an additional $4000 a year for each accompanying child ($334/month).
For BPP post docs, must follow the NRSA levels (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gui ... NOT-OD-12-033.html)
The BPP post docs include School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, and School of Nursing (not including UPHS)
For all other post docs, must follow the University stipend levels (www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v57/n34/postdoc.html)
These funds may come from Penn, an outside organization, or the individual may be supported by his or her own resources.
Immigration regulations require proof of sufficient supporting funds before an immigration document can be issued. The funding document must have been issued within the past 12 months. If the funding document is not in English, it should be translated.
Health Insurance Requirements
Unlike any other immigration categories, DOS federally mandates all J-1 and J-2 status holders to carry adequate health insurance coverage. The J-1 scholar must purchase insurance for him/herself and his/her J-2 dependents immediately upon arrival in the US
If the J-1 scholar and/or dependents fail to maintain the mandatory health insurance coverage, they will be in violation of federal immigration regulations; will be subject to termination as a participant; and must leave the US immediately.
DOS required Insurance coverage must meet the following:
Medical insurance must cover the entire period of participation in the Exchange Visitor program.
Medical benefits must provide a minimum of $50,000 per accident or illness.
Medical evacuation must be covered in the amount of $10,000, minimum. (Medical evacuation is emergency medical transportation to the home country.)
Repatriation must be covered in the amount of $7,500, minimum (In the unfortunate event of death, repatriation is the transportation of remains back to the home country.)
The deductible must not exceed $500 per accident or illness.
The University’s employee health insurance plan coverage varies, so check for specific coverage. If the J-1/J-2 is covered under the Penn's postdoc insurance plan, s/he meets the DOS insurance coverage requirements. Some of Penn’s employee health insurance plans do not cover repatriation and medical evacuation. Thus, the J-1/J-2 should purchase supplemental insurance to cover repatriation and medical evacuation. Failure to secure or maintain adequate health insurance will result in termination of the J-1 program participation.
Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement
J-1 individuals who have received funding from their government or the US government for J-1 program participation, or whose skills are deemed to be in short supply by the home country (i.e. on the "Skills list", are obliged to leave the US upon completion of their programs. The two-year home country residence requirement does not, however, apply in all cases, since there are many countries that do not maintain a list of skills in short supply.
Exchange visitors who are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement must "reside and be physically present" in their "home" country for an aggregate of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits. For more information, click here.
While they are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement, they are ineligible for the following benefits:
They are not eligible to change their nonimmigrant status within the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (international organization) statuses
They are not eligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card) status
They are not eligible for an H visa (temporary workers and dependents), or an L visa (intracompany transferees and dependents)
In some cases, this Requirement may be waived upon recommendation of the home government or on other grounds. The final authority to grant the waiver lies with USCIS.
Please note that once J-1/J-2 receives either a waiver approval notice (from USCIS) or a waiver recommendation (by DOS), he/she is no longer eligible for any extensions, etc. as he/she is no longer considered as a bona fide exchange visitor by DOS, which oversees the J exchange visitor program. He/she can, of course, finish his/her current exchange program until the end date listed on the current DS-2019. Thus, a J-1/J-2 should plan the timing of a waiver application carefully.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirement
All J-1 scholars at Penn are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a directly related field and have demonstrated relevant experience in their field of expertise.
In very limited extenuating circumstances, an exception might be made. If the prospective J-1 scholar is an undergraduate student in his or her home country, include, with the completed J-1 request, a letter written on the student's behalf from a professor or advisor at the home institution overseas, describing how the proposed research project will enhance the person's educational objectives and explaining why the research could not be conducted at the home university/country.
Special Documentation for Scholars with Non-Penn Site of Activity
In general, all J-1 scholars will conduct their activities at Penn. In rare situations, the J-1 activity might occur at a non-Penn site under the full, day-to-day supervision of a regular full-time Penn faculty member. In such cases, attach a letter from the Chair of the hosting department that includes the following:
Dates of visit
Nature of activities
Site(s) of activity, including full address
How the J-1 activity will be part of the Penn department’s on-going research projects/programs
Official relationship between the Penn department and the non-Penn site of activity
Name and title of full-time Penn faculty or PI who will supervise the J-1 program activity throughout the J-1 scholar’s stay in the US
Special Documentation for Foreign Physicians
Penn departments that sponsor foreign medical graduates (FMG) to participate in non-clinical exchange programs, either with no patient care or where patient contact is incidental to the physician's primary activity of teaching, research, consultation, or observation, must append a letter to the J-1 Request Packet.
The letter, addressed "to whom it may concern" and signed by the dean of the School of Medicine or School of Dental Medicine, or the departmental chair, should be presented by the FMG along with the DS-2019 at the US consulate when applying for a visa to enter the United States.
No Patient Care
If no patient care is involved in the J-1 scholar’s duties, the letter must state, verbatim:
"This certifies that the program in which [name of the J-1 scholar] is to be engaged is solely for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research and that no element of patient care services is involved."
Incidental Patient Contact
If incidental patient care is involved in the J-1 scholar’s duties, the letter must state, verbatim:
The program in which [name] will participate is predominately involved with observation, consultation, teaching, or research.
Any incidental patient contact involving [name] will be under the direct supervision of a physician who is a US citizen or resident alien and who is licensed to practice medicine in Pennsylvania.
[Name] will not be given final responsibility for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Any activities of [name] will conform fully with licensing requirements and regulations for medical and health care professionals in Pennsylvania.
Any experience gained in this program will not be creditable toward any clinical requirements for medical specialty board certification.
FMGs who wish to participate in clinical programs of graduate medical education or training cannot be sponsored by the University's exchange visitor program. The only exchange program authorized to sponsor FMGs as J-1 exchange visitors for internships, residencies, specialized clinical training, and in other positions involving more than incidental patient contact, is the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
Hosting Department Responsibilities
The hosting department must consider the following responsibilities and criteria of the J-1 before appointing a scholar in J-1 status:
The exchange visitor may only perform duties limited to the pre-established educational objectives as stated on the DS-2019 form. Any additional employment must be incidental to the visitor's primary program activities, must be directly related to his or her original objectives, and must be authorized in writing by OIP-ISSS in advance.
Be aware of the OIP-ISSS Application Deadlines: The hosting department should submit the request to ISSS 3-4 months in advance, but no later than 6 weeks in advance.
Departments must ascertain that the international scholar has appropriate academic credentials (including English language proficiency) to be appointed to and benefit from his/her J-1 stay at the University.
The scholar and any accompanying dependents must have adequate financial support and health insurance coverage to be eligible for J-1 status.
The intent of the appointment/affiliation with the University must be temporary, and the visitor must plan to return home upon completion of the educational objective.
The exchange visitor must be in valid J-1 status and on Penn's sponsorship before he or she can commence appointment and receive any payment or compensation.
An exchange visitor may not change departments within the University without first obtaining approval from OIP-ISSS. See guidelines below for transfer of departments.
Reinstatement to legal status will rarely, if ever, be granted in the US to scholars who lose their status. The scholar must return home with no guarantee of being issued a visa to return.
J-1 scholars must always be in possession of an I-94 card and a current DS-2019 which accurately reflects their purpose for being at Penn.
Departments should immediately notify OIP-ISSS of terminations or departures of exchange visitors.
The primary advantages of the J-1 status are that it can be obtained relatively easily and quickly, and that it usually allows the spouse and dependents holding J-2 status to work while in the US.
Scholars who are unsure of their future plans with respect to employment at Penn or in the US, and who would be subject to the two-year home country residence requirement would do well to consider alternative immigration classifications.
Form DS-2019 is the document required for a scholar to obtain a J-1 visa. This form is issued by OIP-ISSS upon receipt and review of the J-1 Request Packet submitted by the hosting department.
Plans to invite a J-1 scholar should begin three to four months in advance of the start date of the appointment to allow for case review, document preparation, mailing immigration documents, and visa processing. In some cases, scholar may experience significant delays in visa processing abroad due to possible US government security clearances.
If the J-1 scholar is outside of the US, the department should send the form DS-2019 to the scholar via airmail. The scholar will then take the DS-2019 to the US Embassy or consulate to get their entry visa.
If the J-1 scholar is in the US under the sponsorship of another J-1 program and wishes to transfer their J-1 status to Penn, the hosting department should submit a J-1 Request Packet to OIP-ISSS at least 4-6 weeks before the scholar’s current J-1 status expires.
If the scholar is in the US in another immigration status, the hosting department should consult OIP-ISSS as it could take months to change status to J-1 within the US.
Payment of SEVIS Fee
A scholar must have proof that they have paid this fee to the US government before you visit a US consulate to apply for their J-1 visa or enter the US.
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need visas to enter the US, but they must have proof of payment of the SEVIS fee when they enter the US in J-1 status for the first time.
If they are already in the US and will apply for a change of status to J-1, they must also pay the SEVIS fee before submitting their change of status application to USCIS.
A scholar or academic department may use a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, issued in any country to anyone) and access to the internet can pay the SEVIS fee online and print out a confirmation receipt that you can use as proof of payment.
To pay the SEVIS fee online go to https://www.fmjfee.com/index.jhtml. For “Program Number” enter the University of Pennsylvania’s # P-1-00183. To pay buy mail, please see the SEVIS fee website for instructions.
J-1 New Scholar Orientation/ SEVIS Registration Upon Arrival at Penn
All J-1 scholars are required to attend New Scholar Orientation/SEVIS registration session at OIP-ISSS. Sessions are held weekly, on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30am. The sessions are usually one hour long, and we ask that the scholars arrive promptly on time.
Failure to attend the New Scholar Orientation session within 20 calendar days of the program start date on Form DS-2019 will cause the scholar’s program to be automatically terminated, jeopardizing their legal status in the US.
Please notify OIP-ISSS via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if the J-1 scholar plans to arrive later than expected so that OIP-ISSS may defer the program start date on the DS-2019 to avoid SEVIS auto-termination.
Maintaining Legal Status
The J-1 scholar must take care during his/her stay in the US to maintain lawful J-1 status, as failure to do so can have serious short-term and long-term consequences.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps the J-1 scholar can take to ensure that the stay in the US remains valid:
Following the J-1 scholar’s initial entry to the US, he/she should attend New Scholar Orientation (Mondays and Fridays at 10:30am) at OIP-ISSS within 20 calendar days of the program start date of Form DS-2019.
Be aware of the DS-2019 expiration date. This is not the J-1 visa (sticker) expiration date. If the J-1 scholar’s appointment at Penn is being extended, the hosting department must contact OIP-ISSS to have the DS-2019 form extended at least six weeks prior to the current DS-2019 end date.
Keep the passport valid. Passports can be renewed by the J-1 scholar’s home country consulate in New York or Philadelphia or by the embassy in Washington, DC. The DOS maintains a complete list of Foreign Embassies in the US.
Make sure the J-1 I-94 card is always marked “J-1” and “D/S.” It is much harder to correct errors once you leave the immigration inspection site (e.g. airport). Should your I-94 card contain any errors by an immigration officer, immediately meet with an OIP-ISSS advisor.
Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity the J-1 scholar is permitted to do is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019 form at the pre-determined site(s) of activity in SEVIS. If you are unclear about your approved activity and site(s) of J-1 activity, contact OIP-ISSS. The J-1 scholar must consult an OIP-ISSS advisor in advance if he/she wishes to take up any other work during the stay. See the section on occasional lectures and consultations below for more information.
If offered a comparable position at another college or university, discuss plans with an OIP-ISSS advisor in advance to make sure that the required J-1 transfer procedure can be accomplished. See information on the transfer of J-1 sponsorship below.
Comply with DOS federal health insurance requirements for J-1 scholars and their families. See the health insurance requirements below. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of the J-1 program and his/her legal J-1 status in the US.
Report any address change to OIP-ISSS. The J-1 scholars are required to report change of address to DHS within 10 days of the change; however, because the J-1 scholars are entered into the SEVIS system, he/she should inform the address change to OIP-ISSS to update it in SEVIS.
Occasional Lectures and Consultations
Professors and Research Scholars may give occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to their primary activities, if approved by OIP-ISSS in advance.
To work for any organization other than Penn in the position described on your DS-2019 form, the J-1 scholar must first obtain approval in writing in advance from his/her J-1 Responsible/Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO), who represents your J-1 sponsor and issues Form DS-2019.
The RO/ARO must evaluate the proposed occasional lectures or consultations in terms of the J-1 scholar’s program objectives, and then decide whether or not it would be appropriate. For most J-1 scholars at Penn, the University is his/her sponsor and his/her J-1 RO/ARO is one of OIP-ISSS advisors.
If the J-1 scholar is being sponsored by an agency (e.g. IIE), and if uncertain how to reach the appropriate RO/ARO, an OIP-ISSS adviser will help finding out, but Penn RO/ARO has no authority to grant permission to accept an occasional lecture or consultation opportunity.
J-1 Scholar Occasional Lectures or Consultations Recommendation & Request
The term occasional embodies the concept of single events rather than an ongoing activity. To ensure that "occasional lectures or short-term consultations" do not interfere with and are in keeping with the activities of your J-1 program, they:
must be directly related to the objectives of your Exchange Visitor program;
must be incidental to your primary program activities; and
must not delay the completion of your Exchange Visitor program
If such activities will involve wages or other remuneration, he/she will be working not as an employee but as an independent contractor, meaning that the J-1 will not have an employer-employee relationship with the person or institution paying the J-1 scholar, and will not complete Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification,” in order to start work.
Extension of J-1 Sponsorship
If the hosting department wishes to extend the J-1 scholar’s appointment/affiliation with the University, they must complete the J-1 Scholar Application eform and submit it to OIP-ISSS at least six weeks before the current J-1 status expires (date as noted in section 3 of Form DS-2019).
Keep in mind that the same criteria required for the initial appointment must be maintained or met in order to extend the appointment.
Transfer of J-1 Sponsorship
If the J-1 scholar wishes to transfer from one J-1 sponsor to another, he/she must seek clearance from the original/current program sponsor. Once the program sponsor (i.e. OIP-ISSS for Penn) has transferred the J-1 scholar's SEVIS record and the new institution has produced a DS-2019, the J-1 scholar is then considered under the sponsorship of the new program.
The scholar may not take up appointment with the new program until the transfer process has been successfully completed. The transfer of J-1 program sponsorship must be completed prior to the individual's termination from the previous J-1 program and before the current DS-2019 form expires. For scholars transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, the hosting departments should complete the J-1 Request Packet including the Transfer-In Request form for J-1 scholars. Please note that time spent in a previous program(s) prior to the transfer will be counted toward the maximum stay allowed.
If you wish to transfer your J-1 status from Penn to another institution, please use the Transfer Out Request for J-1 Scholars.
Procedures for J-1 Scholars Seeking to Transfer Departments within Penn
Scholars who wish to change departments must document that the change does not constitute a new "activity" (e.g., a different area or field of research) on their part. Such documentation consists of a letter from both the current and prospective supervisors, which contains the following information:
A letter from the scholar's current supervisor; describing in detail the present duties of the scholar and proposing that the scholar continue to enhance his/her career through the new appointment. The present supervisor should demonstrate awareness of the nature of the new appointment, which should be related to the job function of the existing appointment.
A letter from the prospective supervisor; noting the duration of the new position, describing in detail the duties the scholar will be performing, and stating that these are related to the research area or specialization of the scholar. The new supervisor should demonstrate awareness of the previous duties of the scholar.
Upon receipt of these letters and J-1 Request Packet (eform) ISSS will prepare a DS-2019 form to reflect the new position.
After Completion of J-1 Stay
Scholars and J-2 dependents will be afforded a 30-day grace period to leave the US from the program end date or the DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier. Please advise that the J-1/J-2 may not leave the US during the grace period and re-enter as J-1/J-2 using Form DS-2019. The grace period cannot be used to work in the US.
J-2 Dependent Status for Spouses and Children
The spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the J-1 scholar are eligible for J-2 dependent status. Each J-2 dependent must be in possession of own DS-2019. When completing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Data Form provided by the J-1 scholar's hosting department, the J-1 scholar should fill in the section requesting information on any dependents accompanying him/her to the US.
When requesting a dependent DS-2019 after the student or scholar is in the US in J-1 status, he/she needs to submit the Request for Dependent I-20 or DS-2019form with the appropriate financial funding information.
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for employment authorization from the USCIS as long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1 scholar. See our J-2 Work Authorization website for more information.
J-2 children are permitted to enroll in elementary or secondary schools while in the US. Currently, the regulations do not have a prohibition on J-2s engaging in post-secondary study full-time. The duration of the J-1 scholar's stay is stated in item 3 of the DS-2019. If the J-1 scholar is eligible and applies for an extension of stay, the dependent's period of stay will automatically be extended. To obtain the updated DS-2019 for J-2 dependent, the J-1 scholar should include the J-2's information on the appropriate extension request form.
The J-1 scholar should consult with OIP-ISSS regarding extension procedures.
J-1 Scholar Application Instructions for eform
Request access to iPenn. The same authorization gives you access to submit H-1B and J-1 Scholar applications. If you are a new BA or have not been authorized for H-1B eform, please complete the authorization form and contact email@example.com for requisite training.
After attending training, you will receive an email with detailed instructions, summarized here:
Log into Your iPenn Case List at http://www.upenn.edu/oip/isss/ba
Choose "Add New Case" to add the person to Your iPenn Case List.
Click the person's name in Your iPenn Case List, then select "J-1 Scholar Application"
After you complete the first portion of (2) J-1 Scholar Data Form, an email will be sent to the scholar with instructions to complete their part of the form within 3 days. The scholar will also have instructions to submit J-2 Dependent Request and J-1 Scholar Transfer Request if applicable.
In order to complete the (3) J-1 Scholar Department Confirmation Form, please print and upload the required form(s) including the J-1 Scholar Deparment Confirmation Form, signed by the department chair to confirm the J-1 Scholar request.
You will be able to complete the final form (4) Penn Internal Processing Fee for J-1 Scholar only after all other forms are completed.
There is no need to submit paper documents as all documents are uploaded in PDF format. You will receive email in case of any questions or when the DS-2019 is ready for pickup at OIP-ISSS. The normal processing time is approximately 3 weeks.
If you have to submit payment by check instead of providing budget code, you can complete the required eform online and send in a paper check by mail or carrier. The DS-2019 process won't start until the day we receive your check.
[ Last edited by JunJr on 2012-5-18 at 12:36 ]