J-1 Scholar Visa Program
Who should get a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa?
This classification is appropriate for most research scholars who are coming temporarily to the United States and expect to return home.
Who sponsors this kind of international scholar?
Saint Louis University has been approved by the U.S. State Department to serve as the visa sponsor for J-1 visitors. Other organizations -- the Institute for International Education, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the Agency for International Development — may also serve as the J-1 visa sponsor for SLU international scholars. If another organization sponsors the scholar, he or she still should check in with the Office of International Services (OIS) upon their arrival.
Who qualifies as a J-1 Exchange Visitor?
- The individual is coming to the United States temporarily and intends to return home.
- The individual has sufficient funding, either from SLU, personal funds, their home institution or home government for their program of research or collaboration.
- The individual has sufficient English language ability, as evidenced by an outside exam of English (such as TOEFL.)
- The J-1 visitor is required to have medical insurance for the duration of their studies, either provided by the department or purchased by the individual.
How does an international scholar secure a J-1 visa?
- Scholars must get a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019) from OIS or from the sponsoring organization.
- After the scholar receives the DS-2019 they should pay the SEVIS fee (What is SEVIS). You will need to keep the receipt for the SEVIS fee for your J-1 visa.
- Documentation that shows that you can meet the financial responsibilities of your program.
- Evidence that you will return home once you complete your program.
- Nonimmigrant visa applications and payment of any required fees.
- Photographs (See requirements at U.S. Department of State)
How do I maintain a J status?
Upon arriving in the U.S., an exchange visitor must check in with the OIS as soon as possible so that we can validate your J-1 program in SEVIS. Once you have checked in, you must engage in the appropriate activities of your program (professor should be teaching, research scholar should engage in research project, etc.). A requirement of the J-1 and J-2 visa status is that each individual must prove insurance coverage. For more information on the requirements for the insurance coverage, click here. If you choose to wait until your arrival in the U.S. to purchase insurance, you should purchase a supplemental policy that will provide coverage until that policy takes effect. Saint Louis University has made arrangements with Lockton Companies for one such policy. Since the J-1 is an "exchange program", an important component of their stay is to participate in cultural activities throughout the University. J-1 Visitors should be encouraged to participate in University-wide activities that increase their understanding of U.S. culture. Finally J1 visitors must notify the OIS within 10 days of moving.
To request the DS-2019 for a visiting international scholar, the hiring department should complete the J-1 Department Request Form. The prospective J-1 scholar should complete the New J-1 Scholar Information Sheet. Both forms should be returned to OIS.
Where can I find additional information?
We have a J1 handbook available for both sponsoring departments and for J1 visitors. It may be found here.