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Who are Visiting Scholars? Visiting scholars are persons who have been invited to come to Tufts to engage in research and related academic and scholarly activities. While visiting scholars must be invited by a Tufts department or center, they are not employees of Tufts and do not receive any employee benefits. In most cases, visiting scholars will be self-funded and self-guided in their research activities.

Visiting scholars who need visas to come to the US will be sponsored by Tufts as J-1 Exchange Visitors, in either the J-1 research scholar or J-1 short-term scholar category.  These visa categories are part of the BridgeUSA exchange programs overseen by the US Department of State. For more information about J-1 categories, read below. Once Tufts has agreed to sponsor you as a J-1 visiting scholar, you will be issued a Form DS-2019 visa certificate so that you can apply for a J-1 visa and enter the US in J-1 status.

Eligibility for Visiting Scholar Status

You are eligible to come to Tufts as a visiting scholar only at the invitation of a Tufts faculty member, with the approval of the faculty member's department chair and the department's school dean. Note: at Tufts, there is no central process for requesting visiting scholar status. Instead, each school has its own policies and procedures for approving visiting scholar requests. To obtain an invitation, start by contacting a department faculty member or the school that matches your scholarly interests for more information about how to obtain visiting scholar status with an appropriate department.

Once you have been invited to join Tufts as a visiting scholar, your host department will start the visa certificate request process for you. You will be contacted by the International Center or your department during this process to provide additional information needed to obtain a visa certificate. Do NOT submit any documents to the International Center until you have been offered an invitation from your host department, and until your department has started the visa process for you.

Please read the information below for more details regarding J-1 visiting scholar status, fees, and other processes. If you have questions, you can contact the International Center J-1 scholar advisor for your school.

Form DS-2019 Visa Certificate

Once the International Center has received a completed request for J-1 Exchange Visitor status for you, we will issue a Form DS-2019 visa certificate to you. It usually takes the International Center about 1 - 2 weeks to process a complete request for J-1 visiting scholar status. If you will be joined by any family members, separate DS-2019 forms will be issued for them so they can apply for J-2 dependent status. Your Form DS-2019 will include information about paying the I-901 SEVIS fee, applying for a J-1 visa, and coming to the US in J-1 status.

J-1 Visa Requirements

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is a multi-category visa within the BridgeUSA exchange program that can be used to sponsor individuals for temporary activities in the US for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange. The type of category used will depend on the visa holder's primary activity.

J-1 Categories for Visiting Scholars

For visiting scholars, Tufts typically sponsors individuals as J-1 research scholars or short-term scholars. In limited cases, the J-1 professor category may also be used. For each category there is a maximum duration allowed beyond which no extensions may be granted.

  • J-1 research scholars are primarily engaged in research in a particular subject area
    • The maximum duration for any J-1 research scholar program is five years
  • J-1 short-term scholars can be engaged in research, lecturing, observation, training, consulting, or demonstrating special skills and knowledge
    • The maximum duration for any J-1 short-term scholar program is six months
  • J-1 professors are primarily engaged in teaching (although they may also engage in research) in a particular subject area
    • The maximum duration for any J-1 professor program is five years

General J-1 Requirements

To be eligible for J-1 visa sponsorship as a visiting scholar, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have, at minimum, a completed bachelor's degree or the equivalent
  • You must be invited by a Tufts department or center for the purpose of engaging in research and related academic activities for a temporary period of time
  • You must have adequate English language proficiency to carry out your program activities and "function on a day-to-day basis" while in the US
  • You must have sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of everyday living expenses (see Estimate of Expenses, below) for the duration of your program
  • You must have health insurance that meets J-1 health insurance requirements

For more information about these or other J-1 Scholar requirements, reading our Maintaining J-1 Scholar Status page.

Visa Fee Type Amount Description
International Center Fees $650 for an initial request
$350 for an extension
This fee must be paid by the visiting scholar unless the Tufts department hosting the scholar agrees to pay the fee*
Form I-901 SEVIS Fee $220 The visiting scholar will pay this fee after receiving a Form DS-2019 from Tufts to apply for a J-1 visa and before applying for the visa
Form DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee $185 The visiting scholar will pay this fee when scheduling a visa appointment with a US consulate overseas

International Center Fee

The International Center visa processing fee is for issuance of Form DS-2019, management of the scholar's SEVIS record, and provision of ongoing advising and support services. Visiting scholars or host departments may pay this fee. Visiting scholars who are  paying this fee can do so using Flywire. This fee does not include additional incidental costs for express mail delivery of documents or other costs relating to the visa document process, or other fees such as health insurance fees, fees for services provided by the Tufts sponsoring department or other Tufts campus offices (e.g., Athletic Center fees).

I-901 SEVIS Fee

The I-901 SEVIS Fee is paid by the visiting scholar only after receiving a Form DS-2019 from Tufts. The fee should be paid at least three days prior to applying for a J-1 visa and/or entering the US in J-1 status. The J-1 SEVIS fee is currently $220.00. J-2 family members do not pay this fee; the fee is paid only by the J-1 visiting scholar.

DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee

This fee is paid by the visiting scholar when making an appointment at a US consulate to request a J-1 visa. Note: this fee does not apply to Canadian citizens, who are not required to apply for visas to enter the US in J-1 status.

J-1 visiting scholars are required to show that they sufficient financial resources to cover the costs of basic living expenses and health insurance while in the US. The amount that you must document for the current year is indicated below. Please note that your actual costs may vary according to individual needs. In particular, the cost of J-1 health insurance can be significant and will depend on your health insurance needs as well as whether family members are included in your plan.

  • $34,800 per year ($2,900 per month) for the J-1 visiting scholar
  • If accompanied by a legal spouse and/or unmarried minor children under 21
    • $6,000 per year ($500 per month) for a dependent spouse
    • $3,600 per year ($300 per month) for a dependent child

To qualify for J-1 visiting scholar status, you must submit financial documents showing that you have enough resources for your program. Acceptable financial documents include any combination of the following:

  • Personal or family bank statements issued in English within the past six months, clearly indicating bank balances
  • A salary letter from a home country employer indicating salary continuation and amounts during your time at Tufts
  • Scholarship letters from a government, university, or other types of organization
  • Other types of funding support letters or documents

The following links contain information regarding J-1 visa requirements. Please read through them carefully and contact the International Center if you have additional questions.