J-1 Visiting Scholar

UNCW (through the Office of International Programs) may sponsor visiting professors and research scholars as part of the Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program. The Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program was created to foster the exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts. The exchange of professors and research scholars promotes interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

Which J-1 categories may UNCW use?

Definitions of the J-1 scholar categories

  1. Short-Term Scholar - a short-term scholar is an individual coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills. There is no minimum stay required; maximum stay of six months.
  2. Professor - a professor is an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research. Professors may give occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to their primary activities. If such activities will involve wages or other remuneration, the scholar must obtain written authorization in advance from the Office of International Programs (OIP). Minimum stay of three weeks required. Maximum stay of five years.
  3. 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. Research Scholars may give occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to their primary activities. If such activities will involve wages or other remuneration, the scholar must obtain written authorization in advance from the Office of International Programs (OIP). Minimum stay of three weeks required. Maximum stay of five years.

Chart comparing the J1 scholar categories

  Short-Term Scholar Professor Research Scholar
Used for tenure track positions? No No No
Minimum program length 1 day 3 weeks* 3 weeks*
Maximum program length 6 months 5 years 5 years
Approved activities lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project
Subject to the 12 month bar after previous J participation? No Yes Yes
Subject to the 24-month bar on repeat participation? No Yes Yes
Subject to 212(e) two-year home country physical presence requirement? Yes, if EV meets the 212(e) criteria Yes, if EV meets the 212(e) criteria Yes, if EV meets the 212(e) criteria

*The Short-Term Scholar category is recommended for programs lasting 6 months or less.

Twelve-month bar after previous J participation

An alien is not eligible to begin a new J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor program if he/she was physically present in the U.S. in any J status within the past 12 months UNLESS the J status was for less than 6 months or the J status was in the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category (which by definition is for 6 months or less).

Twenty-four month bar on "repeat participation"

Exchange visitors in the J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor category are not eligible to participate in a the J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor category for a period of two years immediately following the completion of their J-1 Research Scholar/Professor program.

212(e) Two-year home country physical presence requirement

Exchange visitors who meet the 212(e) criteria must "reside and be physically present" in their "home" country for a total of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits.

Criteria for being subject to 212(e):

  1. Government funding - An exchange visitor is subject to 212(e) if "participation in the program for which he came to the United States was financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the United States Government or by the government of the country of his nationality or of his last legal permanent residence..."
  2. Exchange visitor skills list - The Exchange Visitor Skills List outlines specialized skills that foreign countries indicate are necessary for the development of their country. If the EV is in the U.S. to develop a skill on his/her country's skills list, then the EV is subject to 212(e).

Aliens are not eligible for the following benifits while subject to 212(e):

  1. They are not eligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card) status
  2. They are not eligible for an H visa (temporary workers and dependents), an L visa (intracompany transferees and dependents), or a K visa (fiance and dependents)
  3. They are not eligible to change their nonimmigrant status within the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic), G (international organization), or U (victims of qualifying criminal activity) statuses.

What is the procedure to host a J-1 scholar?

To invite a J-1 scholar to UNCW, hosting departments must submit the following materials to the Office of International Programs:

  • J-1 Scholar Request Form (pdf)
  • A letter of invitation (template here) from the department that states the:
    1. objectives of the visit
    2. dates of visit
    3. site of visit
    4. name and title of UNCW faculty who will oversee/supervise the visit,
    5. terms of financial arrangement, if any
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Proof of financial support
  • Enrollment in the medical insurance coverage plan (HTH) offered by UNCW
  • J-1’s curriculum vitae
  • If J-2 dependents will accompany the EV: proof of financial support, proof of insurance coverage and biographical data for each dependent.

Once all required materials are received, the Office of International Programs will issue the appropriate immigration documents within 5 business days and mail them to the foreign national. The foreign national, with the immigration documents, will then need to obtain a J-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. This final step may take several weeks or months; please plan ahead!

English Proficiency

As per 22 CFR 62.11(a)(2), hosting departments must verify the visitor has sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.  Hosting departments must confirm the J-1 exchange visitor has sufficient proficiency in the English languag by submitting the Attestation Regarding English Language Proficiency form.

Minimum Funding Requirements

To sponsor a foreign national as a J-1, the sponsoring department must demonstrate how the J-1 and, if applicable, his/her dependents (spouse and children) will financially support themselves while in the US. Proof of financial support may come from UNCW, a US government agency, the J-1's government, or another organization. The foreign national may partially support his/her visit, but not entirely. J-1s must show at least $1,000/month as proof of financial support; each dependent must show an additional $500/month.

Health Insurance Requirements

The U.S. Department of State federally mandates all those in J-1 and J-2 status to carry health insurance coverage that meets U.S. Department of State minimum health insurance requirements. To meet this requirement, UNCW has made available an injury and sickness insurance plan (PDF) for those on UNCW's visa sponsorship.   J-1s must make full payment for the entire period of coverage prior to the first day of their EV program. We will not accept alternative plans.

    For the 15/16 academic year, the cost of this coverage is:

    • $87.60/month for J-1 only,
    • $225.55/month for J-1 and children,
    • $382.45/month for J-1 and spouse,
    • $520.40/month for J-1, spouse and children.

U.S. Department of State Minimum Health Insurance Requirements for J-1 Visa Holders:

    • Medical insurance must cover the entire period of participation in the program.
    • Medical benefits must provide a minimum of $100,000 per accident or illness.
    • Medical evacuation must be covered in the amount of $50,000, minimum. (Medical evacuation is emergency medical transportation to the home country.)
    • Repatriation must be covered in the amount of $25,000, 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.

A note for departments hosting visiting scholars

Since most J-1 visitors are not in Banner (they are not a UNCW student or faculty/staff) the hosting department will have to do ‘workarounds’ for normal UNCW procedures. If the visitor needs the following access, these are the steps to get that taken care of. As the academic department sponsor/supervisor, you are needed to sign off on these forms as OIP can’t do them on the academic unit’s behalf.

  1. Create an email account/user name: the following form needs to be completed by the department and then signed by the dean. http://uncw.edu/itsd/documents/ITSDComputerAccessRequestForm.pdf
  2. Library access: email Dawn Brown in Randall explaining you are hosting a visiting international scholar in your department and would like to grant this person library access.
  3. Accommodation for the visitor: OIP refers visitors to the UNCW Off-Campus Housing Service to search for housing options. Departments may also try to secure space in one of UNCW's properties through UNCW Hospitality Housing. Typically, the Office of Housing and Residence Life cannot accommodate visiting scholars in on-campus housing given their space capacity, but departments are welcome to contact them for a definitive answer. When finding accommodation for visiting scholars, departments should consider the visitor's length of stay and budget. In addition, renting can be a challenge given many visiting scholars have no credit history in the U.S. or an SSN. As a result, many rental companies will require a security deposit of several months' rent. Two other major considerations are distance to campus (for those who will not have a car) and finding a furnished apartment (as many visitors may not want to purchase furniture). Visitors staying for a few weeks may want to explore Staybridge Suites at 5010 New Centre Dr., Wilmington, NC or Extended Stay Wilmington at 4929 New Centre Dr., Wilmington, NC‎. For those staying a longer period, we highly recommend working with Anne Beck at Campus Walk I & II.  Anne is extremely helpful and loves working with international students and scholars.  Campus Walk is a 5 minute walk to campus and offers furnished units.  Anne’s email is abeck@achliving.com and website is www.wilmingtonstudenthousing.com.

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