EV Requirements and Restrictions

Employment Restriction

  • The exchange visitor may not be employed in a permanent position, i.e. tenure or tenure track positions.
  • Not an employment visa.
  • Even though participants may have employment as part of their program, employment should never be considered the primary purpose. Employment is a secondary purpose. The primary purpose is to improve skills and participate in the exchange of ideas.

Degree Requirement

EV must hold the equivalent of U.S. Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree with significant experience in chosen field. EV must be well established in the field.

No change of purpose

EV is not allowed to change the primary objective as stated on form 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

The maximum duration of the short-term scholar program is 6 months. The maximum duration of the research scholar and professor program is 5 years.

Health Insurance Requirement

J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors are required by the Department of State to maintain sufficient insurance coverage throughout the duration of their program.  

Proof of Health Insurance is required for J-1s and J-2s for the duration of the entire J program. The EV must provide proof of coverage upon the J-1 EV's arrival. Documents must be in English.


  • Medical Benefits: at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of Remains: at least $25,000
  • Medical Evacuation (to home country): at least $50,000
  • Deductible: $500 or less per accident or illness

Department must certify that visitor's service can be accommodated

Department must be able to supply the visitor with space, equipment if necessary, library access, computer access, and a designated host/faculty member. 

EV must prove sufficient funding.

Proof of financial support should be submitted with the DS-2019 Request Form. The financial support proof submitted must cover the costs for the duration of their program. 

  • $1,300/month for the J-1 EV
  • $420/month for the J-2 Spouse
  • $420/month per J-2 Child

Financial Support Documents:

  • Documents must be in English, or original language version must include a certified/stamped English translation. Notarized versions not permitted.
  • Documents must bear a signature, official seal, or be on letterhead from an official agency.
  • Documents must state available account type and account balance - funds must be accessible/liquid.
  • Documents must be DATED and less than 12 months old.
  • Statement must include account holder’s name, date, account type and balance, and currency.
    • If the statement is a web printout, it must include the web link/URL.
  • If using home country employment, the letter from the employer must be on business letterhead, identify the amount of pay, whether it is weekly, monthly, annually; and specify if the scholar will continue to be paid during his/her J-1 visit.

12 month bar

J-1 and J-2 participants who have completed an exchange in J status in any category cannot return to the U.S. as J-1 Research Scholars or J-1 Professors for 12 months. This bar does not apply to short-term scholars.

24 month bar  

J-1 and J-2 participants who have completed a period of exchange in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category 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 and J-2 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

Regulations state that the sponsor must assess the English proficiency of the EV. "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))