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Inviting a J-1 Exchange Visitor

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) is supervised by the Department of State and is designed to bring scholars, researchers, professors, and specialists to the United States for a variety of educational and cultural exchange purposes. With this designation, universities, consortiums, and other agencies are able to issue form DS-2019s that are used to obtain J visas. The J visa is set apart from all other non-immigrant visa classes by its underlying philosophy of educational and cultural exchange. ESF has a rich history of using the J visa to increase international collaboration and cultural exchange by bringing scholars from all over the world to our home campus.

Important Considerations:

  • A J-1 Exchange must have a dual purpose of both educational and cultural exchange. This is mandated by the Department of State. Please keep this in consideration before inviting an exchange visitor.
  • There is a $100 departmental fee for each DS-2019 regardless of whether or not the exchange visitor comes. This cost is to be covered by the hosting department of the exchange visitor.
  • There are multiple different statuses within the J-1 visa. Exchange visitors must decide which status they would most fit in. They should do so by examining the length, intent, and activities of their visit. It is strongly encouraged they consult with OIE to discuss more about the benefits and limitations of each status as well. The two most common statuses are the J-1 Short Term Scholar and the J-1 Research Scholar.
  • OIE must receive notification of the J-1 exchange visitor intent from the hosting department no later than 4 months from the desired starting date of the program. Failure to do so may result in a denial of the request or could result in severe delays for the exchange visitor receiving the necessary immigration documents for their J-1 visa.

How do I Invite a J-1 Visitor?

Hosting Department Invites the Visitor (5 Months from Program Start)

    • To start the process, hosting departments must first seek to collaborate with the exchange visitor to see if a visit is beneficial. It is important that both parties agree that such an exchange be beneficial both educationally and culturally.
    • Upon agreeing that a visit is beneficial, the hosting department should draft an Initiation Letter to the visitor. Once drafted, the letter should be sent to both the exchange visitor and the Office of International Education (OIE). Feel free to use this template for assistance. This letter must contain the following information:
      • Names of both hosting faculty member and exchange visitor
      • Purpose and goals of the exchange
      • Logistical information of the exchange (will there be desk space, who will oversee/supervise the exchange, etc.)
      • Description of activities of the exchange

    Submit DS-2019 Application (4 Months from Program Start)

        OIE Reviews and Issues DS-2019 (3 Months from Program Start)

          • Once received, OIE will review the DS-2019 application in its completion. Note: Please submit the entire application as one document via mail or email, and not in separate packages. The Office of International Education reserves the right to a one-week time frame for reviewing and processing of any submitted requests. Departments should anticipate OIE to take the full week and should expect to submit documents early in order to avoid potential complications.
      • If all is in good order following the review, OIE will submit the request to have the DS-2019 completed. This process can take 2-3 weeks. Once completed, OIE will have the DS-2019 and other corresponding materials mailed to the exchange visitor via overnight mailing.

        Visitor Applies for Visa and Prepares for Arrival (2 Months from Program Start)

  • The visitor will be responsible for applying for their J-1 visa and must submit all of the necessary documents to do so. OIE will have provided them all the necessary information, however If they still require assistance, they should reach out to OIE.
  • Hosting departments will want to continue to collaborate with both OIE and the Visitor. Please keep OIE in the loop on any pertinent information. Hosting departments should:
    • Confirm arrival dates/plans
    • Assist with securing housing
    • Answer any arrival questions
    • Prepare for visitor arrival

Now that the Exchange Visitor has Arrived, What Happens Next?

Exchange Visitors are given a visitor checklist to help guide them through their first steps in the U.S. and at ESF. Most important of these include:

  • Checking in with the hosting department
  • Purchasing J-1 International Health Insurance from Bursar Office
  • Completing the “Request for Privileges Form”
  • Check in with OIE and schedule  J-1 Orientation
  • Complete Hosting Department Orientation

In addition to these steps for the visitor, hosting departments are encouraged to perform the following functions:

  • Check in with visitor to make sure travel went well and housing is properly secured.
  • Introduce visitor to department faculty and staff and show them around campus.
  • Conduct any safety training as needed.

A Note on Department and OIE Roles:

The Office of International Education’s primary role in a J-1 exchange is to facilitate the receipt of both a DS-2019 and J-1 visa. They are also crucial in ensuring that J-1 visitors maintain valid status and are operating in the U.S. in a legal manger.

A hosting department’s primary role in a J-1 exchange is to facilitate the educational exchange portion of the visit. Department’s should operate as the direct supervisor/colleague of the visitor and should be available to answer any logistical questions (desk space, campus tour, library use, etc.) as well.

Both OIE and the hosting department will equally conduct as much transitional support and cultural exchange for the visitor. Some common strategies OIE will use will include:

  • OIE newsletter of events and opportunities
  • ESF International Community Facebook group
  • Cultural and/or International Community programming
  • SSN, Taxes, Cell Phone, and other major cultural transition questions

Some common strategies that the hosting department should consider:

  • Assisting with arrival / departure to and from airport
  • Inviting visitor to cultural community events including holidays, celebrations, or traditions
  • Facilitating opportunities to interact with ESF, Syracuse, New York, and the United States
  • Assisting visitor with transportation questions; providing assistance where necessary