J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa for Non-Degree Personnel

The primary purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to foster the exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts. The J-1 visa is the easiest and quickest visa to get, but it has certain limitations which must be considered when bringing foreign faculty members and researchers to Brandeis University.

For example, the Exchange Visitor Program is for lecturers, visiting faculty, and researchers typically coming to the U.S. from abroad for appointments of five years or less and who have not been in this status within the previous 24 months. The J-1 Visa may not be used for tenure-track positions or positions designated as staff positions at Brandeis.

Please note that if a foreign national is already in the U.S. in J-1 status in Professor or Research Scholar categories, the time spent at another institution must be deducted from the five-year maximum available and the work to be done at Brandeis must be in keeping with the original activities they entered the U.S. to perform at the other institution.

In addition, foreign nationals already in the U.S. in J-1 Exchange Visitor status but in another category, such as J-1 Student, are not normally eligible to change to a different category (such as Professor or Research Scholar category) within the U.S. – they would be required to leave the U.S. to process this change of category.

Additional information on the Exchange Visitor Program is available on the U.S. Department of State website.

J-1 visas for non-degree personnel at Brandeis University are processed by the ISSO. If you have any questions about J visa sponsorship, please contact the ISSO by phone (781-736-3480), by fax (781-736-3484) or via email.

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Two-Year Home Residence Requirement

Many J-1 visa holders must return to their home countries upon completion of their appointments for a minimum of two years to fulfill the two-year home residency requirement of the visa. The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) can predict whether an appointee is likely to become subject to this requirement, which is based upon the appointee's country of legal permanent residence and on the source of the appointee's funding, but the State Department makes the final determination. A J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to the requirement may not change to an H-1B visa, L visa or permanent residence (i.e. Green Card) without fulfilling the home residency requirement, or arranging for a waiver (a process which can sometimes take up to nine months to complete). Information about waivers of the two-year home country physical presence requirement is available on the U.S. Department of State website.

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Employment Considerations as a J-1 Exchange Visitor

Regulations state that a J-1 Exchange Visitor may work or collaborate only at the institution(s) listed on the Form DS-2019/in the J-1 SEVIS record. J-1 status does not give scholars permission to work outside Brandeis University.

Under certain circumstances, occasional, short-term lectures or consulting related to the scholar's area of research/teaching at Brandeis University may be permitted. However, such activity must be approved in advance and in writing by the ISSO after consulting the J-1 regulations. The ISSO is also required to update the scholar's SEVIS record accordingly. 

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J-1 Funding Requirements

J-1 Exchange Visitors will need to show available funding of at least US$2,200 per month to support him/herself, plus US$800 per month per dependent (spouse and children) who plan to accompany the exchange visitor to the U.S. The appointee must provide documentation of funding to support him/herself, along with all dependents, for duration of the appointment. 

If the appointee will not receive full funding from your department/Brandeis, documentation of financial support should be provided in the form of a letter (on agency/organization letterhead) regarding the grant or outside funding arrangement (e.g., private foundation, home government grant, salary from home institution).

If the appointee’s salary or outside source of funding will not cover the full cost of living, the appointee must provide documentation of personal, family, or private sponsor support to cover the difference (if not from a personal bank account, the appointee must provide a copy of a letter from the sponsor confirming the funding amount provided and a copy of appropriate bank statement/certificate of available funding).