The Form DS-2019 or “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a US embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the United States.
J-1 Visa - Exchange Visitor
The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training. The Exchange Visitor Program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
In general, UT Dallas is authorized to sponsor J-1 students, professors, research scholars, and short-term scholars. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is designed for temporary exchanges rather than long-term employment. A J-1 scholar may not be employed in a tenure-track position.
As of June 1, 2019, the ISSO will start assisting departments with the J-1 Visitor applications for Professors, Research Scholars, and Short-Term Scholars.
The Office of Human Resources assists the following J-1 visitors:
- Professor: Teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting. A professor may also conduct research. This category requires a doctoral degree.
- Research Scholar: Conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project. The research scholar may also teach or lecture in his or her field if the opportunity arises. This category requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
- Short-Term Scholar: A professor or research scholar coming on a short-term visit (no longer than 6 months) for the purpose of researching lecturing, observing, training, or demonstrating skills. This category requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
For other J-1 student workers, contact ISSO at [email protected].
Duration of Stay
The maximum initial period of admission is specified in Form DS-2019, plus 30 days. The duration may be up to five years for research and/or teaching, and up to six months for short-term scholars. J-1 visitors must contact the responsible department for information on extensions.
Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for J-1 scholars and their dependents. Failure to maintain adequate coverage as defined by the US Department of State is grounds for termination of legal status.
The visitor is required to certify that they have the required levels of health, medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance for himself/herself and dependents. The US Department of State defines adequate coverage as:
- Coverage of at least $100,000 per accident/illness, with no more than a $500 deductible per accident or illness;
- At least $25,000 for repatriation of remains in case of death;
- At least $50,000 for medical evacuation to the home country.
Accepted insurance options will be provided to the exchange visitor in an informational packet during their application process.
The initial request by the hiring department can be for up to a maximum of five years. Verification of financial support is required in the minimum amount of $2,000 a month for each visitor and an additional $500 a month for each dependent. Funding may be from the University, the exchange visitor’s government, personal funds or a combination of these sources. Documents verifying financial support from a source other than UT Dallas must be provided in the application process.
English Language Requirement
Participants must possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their programs. Suggested objective measurements of English Language Proficiency as per US Department of State [22 CFR §62.11(a)(2)] are as follows:
- A recognized English Language Test (IELTS speaking score of 5, TOEFL iBT speaking score of at least 18-25, or TOEIC speaking score of at least 6);
- Signed documentation from an academic institution or English Language School; or
- A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by video conference, or by telephone if video conference is not a viable option. The sponsor is the inviting professor or a member of the HR team if needed.
Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
When an individual participates in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, they will be subject to a two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement, and must return to their home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of their exchange visitor program. They may request a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement by filing a visa waiver request with the Department of State.
Restrictions: If subject to the two-year home residency requirement, returning to the home country and fulfilling the two-year home residency requirement must be completed before doing any of the following:
- Change status while in the United States to the nonimmigrant categories of temporary worker (H) or intracompany transferee (L);
- Adjust status while in the United States to immigrant visa / lawful permanent resident status (LPR);
- Receive an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate; or
- Receive a temporary worker (H), intracompany transferee (L), or fiancé (K) visa at a US embassy or consulate.
(Additional Requirements May Apply)
Requesting a Visa
If not currently in the United States, the visitor must apply for (and receive) their J-1 visa before beginning their program at UT Dallas. If already in the United States in J-1 status, the visitor needs to transfer their J-1 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record to UT Dallas.
How does the J-1 Process work?
- To request J-1 status, your sponsoring department at UT Dallas must submit the following information to HR: a J-1 Exchange Visitor Request Form , a copy of the offer letter and a signed acceptance, documentation to prove English language proficiency, and verification of funding in the amount of $2,000 a month for the visitor and an additional $500 a month for each dependent.
- HR will then process the Form DS-2019 (“Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status”). The Form DS-2019 is a Department of State controlled document that can only be produced through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is composed of information that is provided by UT Dallas and used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. It is necessary for the visitor to seek an interview at a US embassy or consulate and to obtain the appropriate J-1 visa.
- Once obtained, the DS-2019 and an instruction/requirement packet will be put together, and the department will be notified when it is ready for pick up in the HR office.
- The department will mail a hard copy of the packet to the visitor.
- Once the visitor receives the packet, they will pay the SEVIS fee (instructions are sent with the DS-2019), and complete the non-immigrant visa application. This fee is typically paid by the visitor, but the department may pay the fee if they wish.
- The scholar will schedule a visa appointment at the nearest US embassy or consulate. The US Consulate website will provide instructions on what is needed to apply for a visa. Make your appointment as soon as possible as wait times vary by country. See the Department of State’s visa wait time information. See the list of US embassies and consulates to find the nearest one.
- The visitor should prepare for the interview and be ready to prove that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States, and be able to show that they have definite plans to return home after the program is complete.
- The visa will then be issued if all information is in order.
J-1 Visa Transfers
J-1 visiting scholars who are in the US in J-1 status may transfer to another institution in the US to continue their J-1 program. One of the stipulations that must remain the same is that the research or teaching objective of your stay has to remain the same and has to fit within the description of your “Subject / Field Code Remarks” as indicated in box #4 on your Form DS-2019 issued by University of Texas at Dallas.
There is no limit on the amount of times the J-1 scholar can transfer, but each transfer has to be approved by the current J-1 program sponsor. The transfer process is fairly straight-forward. Individuals transferring to or from the University of Texas at Dallas do not need to travel abroad to obtain a new J-1 visa stamp at the US Embassy. They will, however, need to communicate their intent to transfer with both the current and the new J-1 sponsors so that the transfer can be completed. Please allow a minimum of two weeks for the J-1 transfer.
- Individuals who are transferring must under no circumstance start the J-1 program at the new institution until the transfer date has been reached and a new Form DS-2019 has been issued by the new sponsor.
- A new DS-2019 form can only be issued by the new sponsor on or after the transfer date.
- There must be no gap between the end date of activities at the current institution and the transfer date to the new sponsor.
- Individuals transferring to UT Dallas must come to the HR office to check-in in person and to pick up the new DS-2019 form.
Transfer Request Forms
In order to start the transfer process, please use the appropriate “transfer request” form:
You may enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date on their DS-2019. They should report to HR no later than 30 days after the DS-2019 start date for validation of their program.
To schedule an appointment with HR and receive your orientation materials, please contact [email protected].
If you are paid by UT Dallas, the visitor will also need to meet with the Tax Compliance Office. Please contact [email protected] for more information.
The visitor can only work for the employer listed on their visa or DS-2019. The J-1 visa is institution-specific. If research is performed at another entity, which includes performing research at another location that has a collaborative agreement with UT, they will need to have it added as a site of activity to their DS-2019. It is a violation of the visa to work at a location that is not documented on the DS-2019.
If the program dates change (due to travel, family emergency, etc.), a new DS-2019 will need to be issued. Please contact [email protected].
Immediate dependents of the J-1 visa holder qualify for J-2 status and may apply for employment authorization, if desired.
Maintaining J-1 Status
J-1 visiting scholars at UT Dallas, have been admitted for a specific period of time to engage in a particular research or teaching activity, as described on the DS-2019 form. Failure to maintain lawful J-1 status can have serious long-term consequences. To ensure that a stay in the US remains valid:
- Be aware of the status expiration date. This is not the visa expiration date; but the ending date in section 3 of the DS-2019 If an appointment at the University is extended, the hiring department must contact HR before the current expiration date of the current form to have the DS-2019 form extended. (Note: Short-term scholars are only allowed to remain in the US for up to six months).
- Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity permitted is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019
- If offered a comparable position at another college or university, contact HR to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.
- Comply with the US Department of State health insurance requirements for J-1 visa holders and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of the program and your J-1 status.
- Passports must be kept valid. Passports can be renewed by the visitor’s consulate in the United States. US State Department List of Foreign Embassy Web Sites >>
- If the visitor moves during their J-1 program, the new address must be reported within 10 days by completing a Form AR-11 on paper or online.
Travel is allowed both in the US and outside of the US during the J-1 scholar program. Examples may be speaking at a convention or visiting family. If in the US, there is no type of authorization required. If traveling outside of the USUS by the J-1 visitor and any J-2 dependents, a valid travel signature must be obtained on the Form DS-2019 to re-enter the United States. Request a travel validation from an HR Representative at least five days before travel begins. J-2 dependents must also have their DS-2019 forms signed. Passport, visa, and DS-2019 should be checked to ensure that they will not expire while outside the country. We recommend renewing passports that will expire within six months.