J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 exchange visitor program allows an individual to enter the U.S. for a temporary, non-tenure-track teaching and research position, as a specialist, an exchange student, or as a short term scholar.

The 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 exchange visitor’s appointment to a position shall be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent. The individual shall not be a candidate for a tenure-track position.”

Information for Departments

  • Departments who sponsor individuals in this category must submit a J-1 request form and a sponsorship letter (sample) to the Center for International Education. CIE will complete a DS-2019 to send to the visitor.
  • The J-1 applicant must take this form along with the sponsorship letter to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a visa. Because the J-1 is part of SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), the J-1 will have to pay the $180 SEVIS fee in addition to the visa fees which vary according to the country of origin. Departments who wish to pay the $180 SEVIS fee can do this on-line with a credit card and the receipt can be mailed along with the DS-2019.
  • CIE will require a minimum of 3 days to complete the DS-2019 once all paperwork is received.
Program Requirements

It is a fairly simple process for the individual to obtain this type visa in his/her home country, but the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the State Department has specified a number of program requirements of which you should be aware.

  • Reciprocity - It is hoped that the visitors will be a part of exchange programs or that at a minimum, Loyola should have some type of exchanges with the area of the world where the visitor is from.
  • Cross-cultural activities - Loyola should offer or make available to exchange visitors a variety of appropriate cross-cultural activities. USIA encourages sponsors to give their exchange visitors the broadest exposure to American society, culture and institutions, and to encourage exchange visitors to participate in activities which are for the purpose of sharing the language, culture, or history of their home country with Americans.
  • Orientation - Sponsors shall offer appropriate orientation for all exchange visitors and the exchange visitor’s immediate family, especially those who are expected to be in the United States for more than one year.
  • Housing - The department should provide the exchange visitor with information on housing in New Orleans. In previous cases, the department has assisted the individual in locating housing.
  • Two-year home residency requirement - A J-1 may be subject to a two year residency requirement and therefore ineligible to apply for an immigrant visa, adjust status or apply for a temporary work visa. This requirement is effective if the exchange visitor’s skill is in short supply, as determined by his/her own government, or if financing is directly or indirectly from the U.S. government or the home government.
  • Insurance - Exchange visitors are required to have insurance for themselves and their family during the period of time that they participate in the sponsor’s exchange visitor program. The insurance must cover the following:
  1. Minimum Coverage -- medical benefits of at least $50,000 per person per accident or illness; repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500; and expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000.
  2. Additional Terms -- A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident of illness, and must meet other standards specified in the regulations.

Information for J-1 Professors & Researcher Scholars

The Center for International Education (CIE) is responsible for coordinating, facilitating, and promoting all aspects of international education including education abroad and programs and services for international students and faculty.

The information below will give you the basic information you need on the J-1 visa and status. This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change, so please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. (Click here for PDF version of this information)

What is a J-1 visa?

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to foster the exchange of ideas between U.S. Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts.

The J-1 visa allows an individual to enter the U.S. for a temporary, non-tenure-track teaching and research position, as a specialist, an exchange student, or as a short term scholar. The J-1 for professors and research scholars is limited to 5 years.

How do I apply for a J-1 visa?

If you are coming to Loyola University from outside the U.S., you will need to have a J-1 exchange visitor visa to enter the U.S. Visa procedures vary from one consulate or embassy to another, so it is very important that you check the website of the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country for specific instructions.

Below are standard items required for the application:

  • A current passport (not required of Canadians) valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S.;
  • A form DS-2019 for the J-1 visa;
  • Letter of invitation from Loyola;
  • An application Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157. The forms are available on the State Department website;
  • A receipt for visa processing fee (see the website for the U.S. Consulate in your country for specific instructions on paying this fee);
  • A receipt for the SEVIS fee;
  • One 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained on the State Department website;
  • Proof that you have a residence abroad that you have no intention of abandoning.
  • A short interview will be required.

In addition, the following resources may be helpful to you:

NAFSA's 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa

U.S. Department of State Visa Wait Times

Student and Exchange Visitor Visa Center: email with inquiries about individual exchange visitor visa cases.

What to do About Visa Denials: Why denials are given and what can be done about them.

After the Visa Interview
  • The consular officer will place a visa in your passport.
  • If you receive a multiple-entry visa, you may use it to reenter the United States up to the date of the visa’s expiration as long as you have a valid, endorsed DS-2019.
  • You can enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the beginning of the program.
  • Canadians, who do not need a visa to enter the U.S., can apply at the port of entry.
  • If you encounter any problems obtaining your visa, contact CIE at cie@loyno.edu or (504)864-7550.
What you need to know about the SEVIS Fee 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SEVIS Fee took effect on September 1, 2004. The fee of $180.00 is generally a one-time non-refundable fee (see exceptions, below) and is required for the J-1 visa based on a DS-2019 issued to “begin a new program.”

Proof of fee payment must be presented at the visa interview or port of entry for Canadians. This is an additional fee which is not included in the visa application fee set by your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Who pays the SEVIS fee?
  • If you are a Canadian citizen, and are therefore exempt from the U.S. visa requirement, before you can enter the United States.
  • If you are already in the United States prior to submitting a change of non-immigrant status application to J-1.
  • If you are an applicant for a J-1 visa.
How do I pay the SEVIS fee?

Currently, there are two payment methods:

  • Payment in U.S. dollars by credit card over the Internet, (PREFERRED) OR
  • Payment in U.S. dollars by check, money order or bank draft, drawn on a U.S. bank, and mailed to an address in the United States (not recommended).
Paying on the Internet:
  • Obtain Form I-901, called ““Fee Remittance for Certain F, J and M Nonimmigrants” at http://www.fmjfee.com
  • Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, Mastercard or American Express information. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your DS-2019. Note: To complete Form I-901, you must enter the Loyola University New Orleans Program Number of P05040. You must also enter your SEVIS ID number, which is printed at the top right of the DS-2019, above the bar code. It starts with the letter “N.”
  • Print a copy of the on-line receipt. Be sure to make copies of your on-line receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
  • You must bring the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her database.

For detailed information on the SEVIS fee payment process, and for a list of frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm

What is SEVIS?

On January 30, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began tracking international students and exchange visitors electronically through SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Faculty, researchers and short-term visitors coming to work at Loyola University in J-1 Exchange Visitor status are subject to SEVIS regulations.

While this will have only a limited impact on you and your stay at Loyola, it is very important that you are aware of SEVIS requirements and abide by the J-1 regulations:

  • Keep your passport valid at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • Make sure that you always enter with your DS-2019, endorsed by CIE, and exchange visitor visa while affiliated with Loyola.
  • Apply to CIE for an extension of stay prior to the expiration date on your DS-2019.
  • Request a travel endorsement on your DS-2019 from CIE before traveling outside the U.S. Have your documents checked by CIE before leaving the United States for any travel outside the country.
  • Carry copies of your passport, DS-2019 and I-94 with you at all times in New Orleans. Carry the originals when traveling even within the U.S.
  • Report a change of address directly to CIE within ten days of your move. CIE will then notify SEVIS of the change within 21 days, as required by the new regulations.
  • Submit required tax forms and pay any taxes due.

For additional details on SEVIS, access the SEVIS website at http://www.ice.gov/sevis.

Can I bring my spouse and children with me?
  • Your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 are eligible for J-2 dependent status. You should have received a DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent.
  • Dependents need to apply for J-2 visas and pay the visa fees but not the SEVIS fee. If your dependents have not received DS-2019s, please contact CIE immediately.
  • J-2 dependents are permitted to apply to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) for employment authorization as long as the employment is not for the purposes of supporting the J-1 principal. 
Do I have to have medical Insurance?

Yes, the J-1 program requires that you have medical insurance for yourself and any accompanying spouse and dependents on J visas: 

  1. Minimum Coverage -- medical benefits of at least $50,000 per person per accident or illness; repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500; and expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000.
  2. Additional Terms -- A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident of illness, and must meet other standards specified in the regulations. 

If you are not covered by the university staff and faculty insurance, you (and any dependents if applicable) will need to purchase a policy that meets the requirements above. You can choose a policy yourself or if you like CIE can recommend a number of policies designed for international visitors.

If your policy meets the above requirements, but does not cover repatriation and evacuation you can purchase a supplemental policy. Two companies from which you can choose are International SOS at www.internationalsos.com/visitorusa or The Harbour Group, LLC at www.hginsurance.com. These plans are $60-70 for 12 months of repatriation and evacuation coverage.

What is the 2 year home residence requirement?

There are 3 grounds on which you may be subject to this requirement:

  1. If the exchange program was financed by the U.S. or foreign government
  2. If the exchange visitor’s field is on the skills list for the home country
  3. If the exchange visitor is coming to the U.S. to receive “graduate medical education or training.”

If you are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement you must return to your “home” country and be physically present there for an aggregate of two years before being eligible to return to the U.S. in immigrant status, H or L status, nor can those exchange visitors who are subject change their status to permanent residence or any other non-immigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (international organization) statuses.

Do I have to pay income tax?

Generally, all income earned in the U.S. is subject to income tax unless there is a tax treaty between your country and the U.S.  

J-1s are normally exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding. For more information, you should contact the Human Resources office at Loyola, (504)864-7757.