J-1 Professors and Research Scholars
Individuals participating in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar are subject to the following conditions:
- The Exchange Visitor shall not be a candidate for a tenure-track position.
12-Month Bar. The Exchange Visitor has not been physically present in the United States as a nonimmigrant for all or part of the 12-month period immediately before the Exchange Visitor Program “begin date” on his or her Form DS-2019 identified in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). There are 3 exceptions to this rule:
- The Exchange Visitor is transferring to UND's program in accordance with SEVIS rules.
- The Exchange Visitor's presence in the United States was less than 6 months.
- The Exchange Visitor's presence in the United States was as a J-1 Short-Term Scholar.
- 24-Month Bar. If the individual has completed a previous visit to the United States in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar, they must wait 24 months before being eligible for their next Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar.
Limitation of Stay
The University of North Dakota issues the initial SEVIS Form DS-2019 for a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar for at least 3 weeks and up to the maximum of 5 years.
Professors and Research Scholars are permitted to work as described on the SEVIS Form DS-2019. On-campus and/or off-campus employment not related to the objectives of the Exchange Visitor’s program is not authorized. There are two exceptions:
- Professors and Research Scholars may accept additional employment as authorized by the UND Office of International Programs in accordance with U.S. Department of State regulations.
- Professors and Research Scholars may engage in occasional lectures or consultations with prior written approval by the UND Office of International Programs. Such lectures and consultations must be incidental to the Exchange Visitor’s primary program activities.
J-1 Short-Term Scholar
A professor or researcher can participate in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Short-Term Scholar. Why should one use the Short-Term Scholar category?
- The Short-Term Scholar category is not subject to the 3-week minimum length of program requirement.
- The category can be used for an Exchange Program lasting up to 6 months. Extensions beyond the initial 6 months are not authorized for the Short-Term Scholar category.
- The Short-Term Scholar category may be used by International Scholars who are ineligible for the Professor or Research Scholar categories because of the 24-Month Bar Rule.
A Short-Term Scholar is permitted to participate in activities as listed on his or her SEVIS Form DS-2019. Short-Term Scholars may also engage in occasional lectures or consultations if prior written approval is obtained from the UND Office of International Programs.
Health Insurance Requirements
Every Exchange Visitor (both J-1 and J-2) is required to obtain Health Insurance which meets the minimum requirements specified by the U.S. Department of State. This insurance must be maintained throughout the program period on your Form DS-2019. The Exchange Visitor must prove that they have insurance that meets federal requirements when they inprocess at the Office of International Programs.
Minimum Coverage: Insurance will cover:
- Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per person per accident or illness.
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500.
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000.
- Additional Terms: A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness.
- NOTE: Maintenance of Insurance: Willful failure on the part of the Exchange Visitor to maintain the required insurance will result in the termination of the Exchange Visitor Program of the individual(s) in question.
Non-Benefited International Scholars
Exchange Visitors can purchase health insurance from UnitedHealthCare for themselves and any J-2 dependents. UnitedHealthCare health insurance meets the requirements of the US Department of State.
- Insurance Flyer from UnitedHealthCare.
- Detailed Brochure from UnitedHealthCare.
- Insurance Application for UnitedHealthCare Health Insurance for International Scholars and dependents.
Benefited International Scholars
Some Exchange Visitors will be fully benefited employees at UND. But, UND Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Dakota Health Insurance does not cover Medical Evacuation and Repatriation for the employee and their dependents. As such the Exchange Visitor will be required to purchase Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance from International SOS Inc. to meet US Department of State regulations.
- Medical and Repatriation Insurance Application for International SOS.
Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement
The Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement is one of the most important characteristics of the J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitor status. This requirement needs to be fully understood by each J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitor.
What is the requirement?
U.S. law requires J-1/J-2 visitors who are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement to return to their “home” countries after the completion of their exchange visit. These individuals must be physically present in their home countries for an aggregate of 2 years before being eligible to return to the United States in immigrant (permanent resident) status or H status (temporary workers and dependents).
Who does this requirement apply to?
Some, but not all J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement. There are three grounds on which a J Exchange Visitor can become subject to this requirement.
- If the J Exchange Visitor’s participation in an exchange program was financed, directly or indirectly, by the United States government or a foreign government for the purpose of exchange.
- If the skills that the J Exchange Visitor is coming to develop or exercise are in a field which the J Exchange Visitor’s "home" government requested be included on the Department of State Skills List.
- The J Exchange Visitor comes to the United States to receive “graduate medical education or training.”
What if the funding changes?
A J Exchange Visitor who falls into one of the above three categories will continue to be subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement, even if funding or field of study changes.
Are J-2 Dependents subject to the Two-Year Requirement?
If the principal J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the Two-Year Residence Requirement, all dependents who enter the United States in J-2 status are subject to it as well.
Must the Individual live in his/her Home Country during a Two-Year Block?
There is no requirement that the 2 years constitute continuous physical presence in the home country. Periods of residence may be aggregated to establish 2 years. For example, a professor who holds J-1 status could satisfy the requirement by spending summers and holidays in the home country or by teaching one semester a year there. When aggregating time in this way, the alien should keep scrupulous records such as rent receipts, utility receipts, and so on to show physical presence for the requisite two years.
Can an Exchange Visitor change his/her Visa Status?
The law states that those J Exchange Visitors who are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement are not eligible to change their nonimmigration status from J to permanent residence, F, H, M, and most other non-immigration visa statuses within the United States. However, J Exchange Visitors subject to the Two-Year Residence Requirement are eligible to leave the United States and apply for visas to return as tourists, or on business, or as F-1 students. The usual visa requirements must be met.
Waiver to Two-Year Requirement
Do you want a waiver to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement? You can always request for your Home Country and the US Department of State to waive the two-year commitment. You will need to apply for a Letter of No Objection from the US Department of State and your Home Country. See the US Department of State’s website for information regarding eligibility, costs, waiting times, and application procedures.