J-1 Special Requirements and Restrictions

Employment Restriction
The exchange visitor may not be employed in a permanent position, i.e. can not be appointed to a tenure or tenure track position.

Not an employment visa
Even though participants may have employment as an aspect of their program, employment should never be considered to be the primary purpose. While the visitor may be employed, employment is a secondary purpose. The visitor is coming to improve his/her skills, and participate in an exchange of ideas.

Degree Requirement
Must hold the equivalent of U.S. Master's degree, or Bachelor's degree with significant experience in field. Must be well established in the field.

No change of purpose
The exchange visitor is not allowed to change the primary objective, as stated on the DS-2019. For example, the visitor can not change from researcher to student or from one field of activity to another. It may be possible to transfer to another university.

6 month or 5 year program limitations
Short-term Scholar, the maximum duration of the program is 6 months. Research Scholar or Professor, the maximum duration of the program is 5 years.

Health Insurance Requirement
All J-1 visitors and J-2 dependents must provide proof of Health Insurance that meets the U.S. Department of State requirements.  This insurance is required for the duration of stay.

Department must certify that visitor's service can be accommodated
The department must be able to supply the visitor with space, equipment, if necessary, library access, computer access, and a relationship with a faculty member. If UNT or grant funding is used, this must be stated on our office application form, and signed by a hiring authority in the department.

Must prove sufficient funding
Detailed funding requirements can be found on this page.

The 12 month bar; effective April 8, 1996
It is no longer possible for a J participant to return to the U.S. as a research scholar or professor, if at any time in the last 12 months he/she has held J status. Except if the previous visit was as a short-term scholar, or was under 6 months in duration. Otherwise, the person can only begin another J program after 12 months has lapsed since the last J program.

The 24 month bar
A scholar who has completed a period of exchange as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor may not return to the U.S. in a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category for 24 months.

Two year home return 212(e)
Certain J-1 visitors will be subject to a two year home return after completion of the J-1 program. The requirement states that the two years in home country must be completed before returning to the U.S. in H, K, L, or permanent residence status. This requirement also prevents all changes of status to other categories within the U.S. Some J participants have been successful in obtaining a waiver.

English Proficiency
The regulations state that the sponsor must assess the English proficiency of the visitor. The regulation states that the visitor must meet the qualification: "The exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis." (22 CFR 62.10(a)(2))