Hosting J-1 Exchange Visitors


The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was created by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.
 
Any active faculty or research member who holds an active Texas A&M University (TAMU) academic appointment can sponsor a J-1 visiting scholar or professor or student intern to conduct research or teach at TAMU. Call our office to determine if a foreign national is eligible for J-1 sponsorship.
 
Hosting faculty should read through the list of 
Best Practices for Hosting International Visitors that we have prepared.  That information will help the visiting faculty/scholar have a more positive experience during his or her stay.

  
J-1 Categories
Texas A&M University (TAMU) sponsors four categories under the J-1 Exchange Visitor program:
  • Student Intern:   Objectives are for foreign college and university students to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience.  Student interns may participate in an internship program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to 12 months for each foreign degree/major. ISFS will review and determine if the prospective visitor is eligible for the student intern or scholar category on a case by case basis.
  • Short-Term Scholar:  Objectives can be to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Short-term scholars will come to the U.S. for a short visit and have no plans to continue beyond the 6-month limit. Visiting Short-term scholars may stay in the U.S. anywhere from 1 day to 6 months.
  • Professor:  The primary purpose is to teach, lecture, observe, or consult. The professor may also engage in research and participate in occasional lectures if authorized by the program sponsor. Visiting Professors may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs.
  • Research Scholar:   This category is for an individual whose primary purpose is to perform research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project.  Visiting Research Scholars may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs. They may not change their objective in the U.S.

Prior participation in a J program may affect a person’s ability to participate in future J-1 programs. Contact our office at (979)862-1719 or ifss@tamu.edu if you have questions about this.
 
 
Application Process
The hosting department initiates all J-1 requests.  Proper planning is crucial to the timely processing of documents. The approval process takes time; therefore it is important that the department should start the invitation process at least two months prior to the intended arrival date of the exchange visitor. The department will request and collect all required documentation and information from the prospective exchange visitor and forward a complete application packet to ISFS (See Documentation Checklist). While the application process remains the same for inviting a J-1 Scholar or Professor and for inviting a J-1 student intern, the required documentation differs.

  
Inviting a J-1 Scholar or Professor
It is important to keep in mind that the J-1 is for a temporary stay in the U.S. For this reason prospective J-1s in the category of Professor may only be in a visiting faculty position – he or she may not be a candidate for a tenure track position but may temporarily take the place of someone who is a candidate for tenure.
 
 
Documentation Required By The Department to Host a J-1 Scholar or Professor
Refer to the 
J-1 Documentation Checklist as it provides you with a list of all the documents ISFS needs in order to prepare the DS-2019.  All documentation should be gathered according to the checklist and then forwarded by the hosting department to ISFS.
 
Documents that must be completed and provided by the department include:
  1. Department Sponsorship of J-1 Exchange Visitor
  2. Invitation Letter for (non-paid) Visiting Scholar
  3. TAMU Division of Research 5VS Form  (if you are with a system agency, check for a similar form)
  4. FedEx Airbill (for international delivery service)

 
5VS Form Instructions
This form will be initiated at the department level and forwarded to the appropriate TAMU offices for approvals. A copy of the invitation/offer letter and the prospective visitor’s resume or CV must be attached. The VPR’s Office will forward a copy of the approved form to ISFS.  If the 5VS was not processed by TAMU's VPR office, you must submit a copy of the approved form to ISFS.
 
 
Inviting a J-1 Student Intern
An Internship program is a structured and guided work-based learning program.  The Student Intern category is available to foreign students currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States, whose U.S. internship will "fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution”.
 
The U.S. Department of State’s Basic Requirements for an internship program are:
  • The internship must expose the foreign student to American techniques, methodologies, and technology and expands upon the student intern's existing knowledge and skills.
  • The internship must fulfill the student's educational objectives for his or her current degree program.
  • The internship must reinforce the student’s ongoing academic course of study.
  • The internship must be full-time (minimum of 32 hours per week).
  • The student intern is primarily in the United States to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer.
  • The internship tasks may consist of no more than 20% clerical work.

 
Participant Eligibility
Individuals interested in participating in a J-1 Student Intern program must also satisfy DOS eligibility.  They must be currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S.  Also, the student intern must have sufficient finances to support himself or herself as well as all J-2 dependents for their entire stay in the U.S.  Like all J-1 participants, student interns must carry health insurancefor themselves and all J-2 dependents for the duration of the program.  Finally, student interns are expected to return to their home countries upon completion of the J-1 program in order to finish their degrees.
 
 
Department Responsibilities
Along with accepting the foreign student into its internship program and completing and signing all requisite documents, hosting departments have responsibilities toward their student interns.  They must secure the placement of the student intern and provide access to appropriate facilities (labs, buildings, libraries).  Hosting departments are responsible for monitoring the student intern’s progress throughout the program and completing evaluation forms.
 
 
Documentation Required By The Department to Host a J-1 Student Intern
Refer to the 
J-1 Student Intern Checklist as it provides a list of all the documents ISFS needs in order to prepare the DS-2019.  All documentation should be gathered according to the checklist and then forwarded by the hosting department to ISFS.
 
Documents that must be completed and provided by the department include:
  1. Department Questionnaire for J-1 Student Internship Sponsorship
  2. Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan
  3. Invitation Letter
  4. TAMU Division of Research 5VS Form  (if you are with a system agency, check for a similar form)
  5. FedEx airbill (for international delivery service)

 
5VS Form Instructions
This form will be initiated at the department level and forwarded to the appropriate TAMU offices for approvals. A copy of the invitation/offer letter and the prospective visitor’s resume or CV must be attached. The VPR’s Office will forward a copy of the approved form to ISFS.  If the TEES Research Compliance Office processes the 5VS, you must submit a copy of the approved form to ISFS.
 
 
Extending the J-1 Program
The J-1 status expires when the DS-2019 form expires. Extensions of stay (EOS) are initiated by the host department and forwarded to ISFS.
  • EOS requests should be made at least 30 days before the DS-2019 expires.
  • If the J-1 visitor is a not employed at TAMU, the host department must submit an extension letter that includes the visitor’s title, the proposed dates of the extension. A new 5VS/VPS/AG-713 form also needs to be submitted for approvals.
  • If the J-1 visitor is a TAMU employee, the department must submit an extension letter that includes the visitor’s title, salary, and the proposed dates of the extension.
  • The J-1 visitor must provide proof of continued funding and proof of extended health insurance coverage.
  • The J-1 visitor must submit a summary of their research projects they have been working on with their host faculty at TAMU.

 
Amending
ISFS requires that you keep us informed of any changes that will affect the J-1 visitor’s status, including:
  • Late arrival
  • Extension of program
  • Funding
  • Site of Activity
  • Supervisor
  • Department
  • Early Departure/Withdrawal of program 
Changes may necessitate updating the Exchange Visitor’s SEVIS record and the issuance of a new DS-2019 form.