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J-1 Scholar Overview

Tufts University has been designated by the US Department of State as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor. This allows Tufts to offer visa sponsorship to international scholars - including research scholars, professors, and specialists - coming to Tufts for activities relating to educational and cultural exchange. Permitted activities include scholarly research, teaching, observation, and demonstration of specialized skills. To qualify for J-1 scholar status at Tufts, the individual must either (a) be invited to come to Tufts as a self-funded visiting scholar or (b) have received an appointment to a temporary teaching or research position, including postdoctoral positions or time-limited grant-funded positions.

Note: the J-1 program is intended for temporary visitors and should not be used to sponsor individuals hired to permanent positions (including tenure-track appointments) or continuous, ongoing employment of indefinite duration. For positions of this nature, consult our information on the H-1B Temporary Worker visa category or contact the International Center.

For questions about the J-1 scholar categories, contact your department's designated International Center J-1 Scholar advisor.

J-1 Scholar Eligibility and Processing Requirements

J-1 scholars can be assigned to different categories that designate different types of educational and cultural activities. The appropriate J-1 category will depend on the individual's primary purpose or goal in coming to Tufts and the expected length of activity.

COVID-19 Telework Policy for J-1 Exchange Visitors (Updated 4/22/2022)

Per US State Department policy pronouncements updated on April 22, 2022 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, J-1 Exchange Visitors are permitted to engage in program activities that include telework (remote) activities, as long as the Exchange Visitor's program includes in-person activities. Telework activities should not exceed more than one to two days per week. This temporary guidance is in effect through June 30, 2023.

J-1 Scholar Category Description Maximum Duration
J-1 Research Scholar Person coming to Tufts to conduct research; may also teach Minimum of three weeks extendable up to five year maximum
J-1 Professor Person coming to Tufts to teach; may also conduct research Minimum of three weeks extendable to five year maximum
J-1 Short-Term Scholar Person coming to Tufts for short-term research or teaching activities not lasting more than six months Minimum of one day up to six months maximum
J-1 Specialist Person with specialized knowledge and expertise coming to Tufts to consult, observe, or demonstrate specialized skills and knowledge Minimum of three weeks up to one year maximum
J-1 Student Intern Student pursuing a degree objective at an overseas institution coming to Tufts to participate in a full-time internship (minimum 32 hours / week) under the direction of a Tufts faculty member; student must return to home institution following completion of internship Minimum of three weeks up to one year maximum

Maximum Duration

J-1 scholars are limited in the maximum duration they are allowed to participate in exchange activities. These limits are inclusive of time spent in the same J-1 category at another J-1 sponsoring institution immediately before coming to Tufts. For example, a J-1 research scholar who has completed three years of activity at another university may transfer to Tufts, but only two years of eligibility would remain within that same category. Please consult with the International Center for more information about specific situations.

Permanent Employment Prohibited

Because the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was created to advance educational and cultural exchange, the J-1 visa may not be used to sponsor individuals for permanent (ongoing / continuous) employment, such as tenure-level or tenure-track positions. In addition, the J-1 visa should only be used for academic or research positions that help to advance educational and cultural exchange. Positions that are largely administrative in nature are generally not permitted under the J-1 category.

Patient Contact

Under current policy, J-1 scholars sponsored as research scholars and professors may not be sponsored for exchange activities that involve direct patient contact or treatment of human or animal patients. Research scholars and professors are permitted to have incidental patient contact involving observation, but cannot be directly engaged in the care and treatment of patients. For more information, contact your International Center J-1 scholar advisor.

Employment at Multiple / Non-Tufts Sites

A J-1 Exchange Visitor may be approved for occasional consultations and lectures at outside institutions provided these activities are consistent with and do not otherwise delay the ability of the Exchange Visitor to complete the original educational and cultural objectives of his or her program. The Exchange Visitor should consult with the International Center for information about employment for occasional lectures and consultations. If the Exchange Visitor will be engaged in ongoing activities at more than one site (whether inside or outside of Tufts), these activities must form a consistent program of educational and cultural exchange and approved at the start of the scholar's visit to Tufts. The sponsoring department should consult with the International Center prior to initiating visa processes to determine eligibility for activities taking place at multiple sites..


To be eligible to come to Tufts as a J-1 scholar in any scholar category, the individual must meet certain requirements:

  1. The J-1 scholar may be employed by Tufts or coming to Tufts on a self-funded basis; in all cases, the scholar must either be invited to come to Tufts or have an academic appointment for research or teaching
    • In either case, the J-1 scholar must have an offer / appointment letter issued through a hiring process, or an invitation / visiting scholar designation letter approved by a school dean
    • For invitation letters for self-funded visiting scholars, please consult with your dean's office for school-based procedures to invite visiting scholars
  2. Because the J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa intended to promote educational and cultural exchange, it cannot be used to sponsor employees for permanent positions such as tenure-level faculty or staff positions of an indefinite, ongoing nature
  3. The scholar must have adequate financial resources, whether through Tufts employment or other sources, to meet day-to-day living expenses (see our Estimate of Expenses, next section)
  4. The scholar must have an insurance plan that meets the J-1 health insurance requirements
  5. The scholar must possess English-language proficiency sufficient to meet the requirements of participating in the J-1 program as well as functioning on a day to day basis, as determined by one of the following:
    1.  a recognized English language test
    2. signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school
    3. through a documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option

12- and 24-Month Bars for J-1 Research Scholars and J-1 Professors

In addition to the above requirements, there are additional restrictions for individuals who have previously held J-1 status (whether at Tufts or another US institution) and intend to come to Tufts in either the J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor category. Under the 12- and 24-month bars, any individual who was previously in the US in J-1 status may be prohibited from returning to the US as a J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor for a depending on the individual's prior J-1 history:

  • 12-month bar: Anyone who was previously in the US in J-1 status in any J-1 category (including any J-1 student category) is prohibited from returning to the US in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a period of 12 months following completion of the prior J-1 program, unless the previous program was of a duration of six months or less
  • 24-month bar: Anyone who was previously in the US in J-1 status as a J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor is prohibited from returning to the US in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a period of 24 months following completion of the prior J-1 program, unless the previous program was of a duration of six months or less

The International Center will review any prospective J-1 Exchange Visitor's prior immigration history to determine if either or both of these bars apply.

The primary fees for J-1 scholars include International Center processing fees and the US government's SEVIS and DS-160 visa fee.

International Center Fees

J-1 scholars can include exchange visitors who are either employees of the University (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, visiting professors) or self-funded visitors invited to come to Tufts on a courtesy basis. International Center fees must be paid by the department if the J-1 scholar will be employed by the University. For self-funded scholars, the department may elect to pay the fee or require the scholar to pay the fee directly to the International Center.

  • $650 for initial request for J-1 Scholar
  • $350 for J-1 extension request, unless the extension is for a short-term extension of one month or less (waiver granted only once per scholar)

Effective January 1, 2022 the International Center processing fee for J-1 exchange visitors participating in a program at a Tufts-affiliated hospital or clinic will be $750 for an initial request and $350 for an extension request. 

Schools that charge their own J-1 fees should advertise their fee schedules to the prospective visitors in advance. In no case may departments charge J-1 scholars processing fees if the scholar will be employed by the University.

Processing Fee Payment Methods

  • International Center processing fees: Departments will be assessed International Center fees through IDRs (DeptID required) once the International Center has completed visa document processing for international scholars and employees. Tufts Medical Center departments will pay fees via check made payable to the Trustees of Tufts College.
  • Self-funded J-1 scholars who are paying the International Center J-1 processing fee directly should do so using Flywire. The International Center has partnered with Flywire to streamline visa request fee payments for self-funded scholars. Flywire offers multiple payment options and excellent foreign exchange rates. Scholars who are already in the US may pay by a US bank check made payable to "The Trustees of Tufts College."

SEVIS and Visa Fees

Other J-1 fees are paid directly by the individual J-1 scholar prior to applying for a J-1 visa at a US consulate and/or entering the US.

  • $220 I-901 SEVIS fee (one-time fee per stay as a J-1 scholar, paid prior to initial visa appointment and/or entry to US)
    • J-2 family members accompanying the J-1 scholar are not required to pay the SEVIS fee
  • $160 DS-160 visa application fee (paid when scheduling visa appointment at US consulate; Canadian citizens are not required to apply for visas prior to entering the US)

To qualify for J-1 scholar status, the individual scholar must be able to document adequate financial resources for themselves and any eligible dependents for the minimums listed below. These minimums represent an estimate of annual expenses for living and personal expenses and health insurance. Actual needs may vary depending on the individual scholar's situation.

Category Monthly Minimum Annual Estimate
J-1 Scholar $2,500 $30,000
J-2 Dependent Spouse $500 $6,000
J-2 Dependent Child (Unmarried children under 21) $250 $3,600

Scholars who are self-funded may document their financial resources in a variety of ways. Examples are listed below. Documents must clearly indicate the scholar's name, the date of the document, and the amount of financial resources available to the scholar.

  • Personal or family bank statements
  • Letter from employer indicating salary continuation or financial support for the scholar's research activities at Tufts
  • Government or other organizational scholarship or award letter
  • Financial support from a Tufts University department

Scholars who will be employed at Tufts may present their Tufts offer / appointment letter indicating salary information.

J-1 scholars are sponsored for a particular period of time to pursue a temporary program of teaching, research, consultation, and other educational and cultural activities. Once a scholar's program has completed, as reflected by the expiration date on the scholar's Form DS-2019, the scholar has an additional thirty (30) day 'grace period' to prepare for departure from the US.

Early Termination or Completion

In certain situations a J-1 scholar may be unable to continue participating in the original program due to a variety of circumstances. These may include: early completion of program goals and objectives, loss of program funding, discontinuation or termination of the scholar's Tufts appointment or invitation, personal / family reasons, illness, or other similar circumstances. Whenever the J-1 scholar will end participation more than 15 days ahead of the originally scheduled completion date (as reflected by the expiration date on the scholar's Form DS-2019), the department should notify the International Center of the relevant circumstances so that appropriate updates may be made to the scholar's J-1 visa record and immigration status.


If a scholar intends to continue J-1 activities either before or upon completion of the their J-1 program at Tufts, the scholar is responsible for (1) notifying the sponsoring department to determine a program completion or end date; and (b) contacting the International Center with relevant dates and information about the new J-1 program and institution. The International Center will advise the scholar on the appropriate procedures for transferring their J-1 status to a new institution. In general, the scholar must provide written evidence that shows that the new program is consistent with the original J-1 objectives as well as the start and end dates for the new J-1 program. The International Center will also need the contact information for a J-1 scholar advisor at the new institution. The International Center will coordinate the transfer process with the scholar and the scholar's new J-1 institution. Departments do not need to process any J-1 transfer-out paperwork but should determine an appropriate termination date and advise the scholar to meet with the International Center to discuss the specifics of their intended plans.

Submit a J-1 Scholar Request

Once the department is prepared to submit a request for a J-1 scholar, click the button below to be directed to the J-1 sponsorship request instructions and guidelines. Ideally, requests should be submitted to the International Center at least 90-120 days prior to the scholar's arrival at Tufts, to ensure adequate time for document processing and shipment to the scholar. Once the scholar receives their J-1 visa document (Form DS-2019), they will then need to apply for a J-1 visa prior to entering the US (with the exception of Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the visa requirement). Scholars may enter the US up to 30 days prior to the start of their J-1 program at Tufts.