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J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

J-1 Overview

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was developed by the United States government in conjunction with governments of countries around the world to serve as a forum for educational and cultural exchange. The program provides opportunities for thousands of students, scholars, and other academics to spend time in foreign countries learning skills and sharing their knowledge and culture.

In the United States, the Exchange Visitor Program is presently monitored by the Department of State. Organizations such as the University of California, Davis have been designated by the Department of State as sponsoring institutions for the J-1 Exchange Visitor program. International visitors who participate in this program in the United States receive J-1 status, which classifies them as members of this exchange program.

The official program description of the UC Davis Exchange Visitor Program is:

A program to provide study, teaching, research, observation, consultation, sharing of skills, cross-cultural activities or a combination of these.  It is conducted by UC Davis and institutes and organizations with which it is affiliated for students, professors, researchers, short-term scholars and specialists.

Who is Eligible for J-1 Visa Status? 

J-1 status is used for professors, research scholars, short-term scholars and specialists for temporary participation in approved programs of teaching, research, observation and consultation. The two most common types of J-1 visitors to UC Davis are research scholars and professors. Postdocs, lecturers, visiting scientists and visiting researchers are all eligible to apply for a J-1 visa. Undergraduate Student Researchers may also apply for a J-1 visa to participate full-time in a prescribed course of study or research project toward a degree at their home institution.

Participation Requirements for Scholars

  • Scholars must participate in a program that furthers research or teaching objectives and has appropriate activity as described under the definitions of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Scholars must not be subject to any bars to program participation based on previous time spent in the U.S. in another J status.
  • Scholars must possess sufficient funding to cover expenses for the duration of their visit.  
  • Scholars must maintain health insurance coverage for the J program duration, including coverage for J-2 dependents, as mandated by the Department of State;
  • Scholars must possess appropriate academic or similar credentials for program activity.
  • Scholars must possess sufficient knowledge of English to participate in their program.
  • Scholar must not be a candidate for a tenure-track position.
  • Requirements Related to Remote Work
  • Due to the nature of the J Exchange Visitor Program, a U.S. Department of State Directive requires J-1 scholars to be predominantly engaged in in-person J-1 program activities. This means at least 60% of their time must be spent at the department location (i.e. no more than two days of remote work out of five days) as outlined in the directive.
    • It is immediately in effect for new J-1 scholars with a program start date on or after July 1, 2023, and effective on January 1, 2024, for current J-1 scholars with an initial program start date before July 1, 2023.
  • Funding documentation must show that minimum requirements for living expenses are met for the J program duration:
    • J-1: $2,200 per month
    • J-2 spouse: $700 per month
    • For each J-2 child: $350 per month

J-1 Scholar's Responsibilities

  • Scholars are responsible for fees related to the SEVIS fee and the visa fee, charged by the US Embassy.
  • If scholars wish to be accompanied by their spouse or children under age 21 when they arrive, they must inform the department and follow instructions for requesting J-2 DS-2019 documents.  If scholars wish to have their family join them, they must make a request for J-2 DS-2019 documents after arrival.  
  • Scholars must notify SISS within 10 days of any address change while in the US.
  • Scholars must maintain health insurance coverage throughout their J-1 program for themselves and any dependents.
  • Scholars must notify SISS of any program-related changes (source of finances, department location, etc.).
  • Scholars must request a signature on their DS-2019 by completing an eForm in iGlobal if they leave the US and plan to re-enter in the same J-1 scholar program.
  • Scholars must complete a scholar departure eForm in iGlobal and submit to SISS after program completion and before leaving the US.

Resources for Departments

Learn more about host department responsibilities, information about how to request form DS-201 and how to amend a DS-2019 form that has been issued.