J-1 Scholar Application Process

Eligibility Requirements for J-1 Professor and Research Scholars

Candidates must meet the following three criteria:

  1. The exchange visitor must not be a candidate for a tenure track position.

  2. The exchange visitor must not have completed a prior J-visa program within the 24 months immediately preceding the start date of the proposed J-visa program. This 24-month bar also applies to individuals who were previously in J-2 dependent status and who subsequently wish to return to the U.S. as a Professor or Research Scholar.

  3. The exchange visitor must not have participated in a J-visa program for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of the proposed J-visa program. There are three exceptions to the final rule. If the candidate has participated in a J-visa program during the last 12 months, he or she must meet at least one of the following exceptions:
    1. The participant is currently in a professor or research scholar program and is transferring to another institution in the United States to continue their current J-1 program;
    2. The participant's prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J-visa program was less than six months in duration;
    3. The prior participation was as a short-term scholar.

The sponsoring MSU Academic Department must ensure the following:

  • That candidates for a J-1 scholar position posess the education and credentials necessary to carry out the activity for which they are entering the United States.
  • That the candidate possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to function as a visiting researcher/professor and to navigate daily life in the United States (i.e. can function on a day-to-day basis while in Minot).

Period of Stay
Professor/Research Scholar appointments are usually made for a one-year period, but with sufficient funding, an appointment can be made for a maximum of five years. In the case of a one-year appointment, an extension can be requested.

Periods of appointment for Short-term Scholars are possible for a maximum 6-month period. Short-term scholars are not eligible for extensions of stay beyond 6 months.


Application Process and Checklist

The sponsoring MSU Academic Department must submit the following documentation to the MSU Office of International Programs:

  1. Official Letter of Invitation on departmental letterhead that specifies the appointment, exact program dates, and a brief description of the proposed activities in which the scholar will engage during his or her time at Minot State University. Examples of acceptable letters are provided here.

  2. Evidence of English Proficiency. The exchange visitor must possess adequate English skills to function as a visiting researcher/professor, and to navigate daily life in the United States (i.e. can function on a day-to-day basis while in Minot). The J-1 Scholar English Proficiency Requirement form includes five options through which English language proficiency may be demonstrated. Select one option and provide the required documentation identified for that option on the Proof of English Proficiency Form [pdf].
  1. Scholar’s Curriculum Vitae, translated in English.
  1. Application for DS-2019 and Financial Evidence, completed by the scholar.
  1. Housing Plans. Provide a brief statement of housing arrangements being made for the participant (department’s responsibility).

Processing and Application Time

Please be aware that the SEVIS issuance procedure and enhanced visa applicant screening suggest that an exchange visitor should apply for the J-1 visa at least one month before expecting to arrive at MSU. Consequently, it is recommended that the request for a DS-2019 be submitted to the Office of International Programs at least 6 weeks in advance of the exchange visitor’s anticipated arrival.
Transferring Exchange Visitors
An Exchange Visitor already in the U.S. may transfer from the program of one program sponsor to another if the purpose of transferring is to complete the original program objective. This is possible as long as the total stay does not exceed 3 years. The former institution must agree to transfer and relinquish sponsorship by releasing the Exchange Visitor’s SEVIS record to MSU. When requesting a DS-2019 for a transferring scholar, please submit a copy of the scholar’s current DS-2019 with the request form.

Division of Responsibilities
The Office of International Programs will provide information and guidance on federal regulations pertaining to J-1 visas, as well as assist the exchange visitor with his/her cultural adjustment, and provide local resources and tips that have helped past international students and scholars.

The sponsoring Academic Department should be prepared to undertake the majority of the initial arrival support and daily guidance throughout the year, including (but not limited to):

  • Securing housing and furnishings for the visitor
  • Airport pick up
  • Preparing appropriate office/work space
  • Coordinating a faculty/staff orientation plan with human resources and other relevant campus units
  • Requesting technological needs from appropriate campus units (i.e. computer supplies, people soft access, if necessary)
  • Initial shopping trips to ensure that the visitor has all daily essentials and a cell phone
  • Transport to Social Security Administration Office
  • Help make plans for J-2 dependents, including assistance enrolling children in local schools or daycares

Arrival and Orientation
After the scholar arrives, please make an appointment for him/ her to meet with the Office of International Programs within the first week. Federal regulations require us to notify the government within 30 days of the program start date listed on the DS-2019 or the scholar’s arrival at MSU, if earlier.  You must notify the Office of International Programs if the Exchange Visitor will arrive after the start date listed on the DS-2019. 

During the orientation meeting, the scholar will be able to obtain a Social Security card referral letter, if necessary. We will answer immediate questions, provide pertinent orientation information, and complete necessary arrival registration procedures.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Director of International Programs at 858-4155.

Page last updated August 25, 2017