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J-1 Scholar Overview

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program allows academic departments to sponsor international scholars - including research scholars, professors, and specialists - to participate in 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 academic appointment to a temporary teaching or research position.

Note: the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is intended for temporary visitors and should not be used for individuals hired for permanent or continuous, ongoing employment. For positions of this nature, please consult our information on the H-1B Temporary Worker visa category or contact the International Center.

Tufts J-1 Scholar Programs

Tufts University has been designated by the Department of State as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor at two locations: Medford / Somerville (serving Arts & Sciences, Engineering, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts) and the Boston Health Sciences campus (serving all Health Sciences schools and Tufts affiliated hospitals). For questions about the J-1 scholar categories, contact your designated International Center J-1 Scholar advisor.

J-1 Scholar 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.

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 up to five years
J-1 Professor Person coming to Tufts to teach; may also conduct research Minimum of three weeks up to five years
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
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
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

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.

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
    • Department invitations to self-funded scholars must be accompanied by approval of the appropriate school dean - contact your Dean's office for specific instructions
  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
  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 sufficient English-language ability to meet the day-to-day requirements of participating in the J-1 program

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

In addition to the above restrictions, there are additional restrictions for individuals who have previously held J-1 status (whether at Tufts or another institution) and intend to come to Tufts in the J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor categories. 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.

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. 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
  • Official 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 appointment or offer letter indicating salary information as acceptable evidence of financial ability.

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.

Transfer-Out

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.

Visa Document Request for J-1 Scholars

To sponsor a J-1 scholar to come to Tufts, the host or hiring department must submit a Visa Document Request to the International Center. Upon receiving a complete request, the International Center will issue a Form DS-2019 visa certificate. The DS-2019 is then used by the individual scholar to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and enter the US as a J-1 scholar.

Before submitting a Visa Document Request, the department must take several preparatory steps:

  1. Get access to the new International Center Immigration Portal for department requests. Effective 08/19/2019, the International Center has transitioned to a new online immigration portal. J-1 scholar application intake will not longer use either paper applications or the International Scholar Dossier (ISD). To submit J-1 scholar requests, the department manager or administrator submitting the J-1 scholar request must be granted access privileges to the new portal. Send an email to internationalcenter@tufts.edu if you do not already have access to the portal.
  2. Prepare materials for the J-1 Scholar Visa Document Request. The new portal requires that all information be submitted and uploaded in a single session. Prepare materials needed for the J-1 scholar request by reviewing our Initial J-1 Preparation Guide for Administrators.

Once all materials have been prepared, submit the Visa Document Request. For step-by-step instructions to starting a request in our new portal, refer to our International Center Immigration Portal Guide for Administrators.

Following receipt of the Visa Document Request, the International Center will arrange to deliver the Form DS-2019 visa certificate, along with additional instructions for entering the US, to the individual J-1 scholar.

To extend the J-1 status of a J-1 scholar to come to Tufts, the host or hiring department must submit a Department Request for J-1 Extension to the International Center. Upon receiving a complete request, the International Center will issue an updated Form DS-2019 visa certificate extending the J-1 scholar's stay. Extension requests must be submitted at least 60 days prior and no later than the day before the J-1 scholar's current status expires.

Before submitting a Visa Document Request, the department must take several preparatory steps:

  1. Get access to the new International Center Immigration Portal for department requests. Effective 08/19/2019, the International Center has transitioned to a new online immigration portal. J-1 scholar application intake will not longer use either paper applications or the International Scholar Dossier (ISD). To submit J-1 scholar requests, the department manager or administrator submitting the J-1 scholar request must be granted access privileges to the new portal. Send an email to internationalcenter@tufts.edu if you do not already have access to the portal.
  2. Prepare materials for the J-1 Scholar Visa Document Request. The new J-1 request process requires that all information be submitted and uploaded in a single session. Prepare materials needed for the J-1 scholar request by reviewing our J-1 Extension Preparation Guide for Administrators.

Once all materials have been prepared, submit the Department J-1 Extension Request. For step-by-step instructions to starting a request in our new portal, refer to our International Center Immigration Portal Guide for Administrators.

Following receipt of the Extension Request, the International Center will arrange to deliver the Form DS-2019 visa certificate to the individual J-1 scholar.

The International Center assesses a processing fee to issue a Form DS-2019 visa certificate to a J-1 scholar. The fees are currently as follows:

  • $650 for initial J-1 visa certificate processing
  • $350 for J-1 extensions

Fee Responsibility: The processing fee must paid by the department for any J-1 scholar who will be appointed by Tufts to a paid teaching or research position. For J-1 scholars who are self-funded (not employed by Tufts), the fee may be paid by either the host department or the individual scholar using Flywire.

For self-funded visiting scholars, the host department is obligated to inform any invited J-1 scholar of any additional fees or costs the department may assess to support their visit.

Other Costs and Fees: The International Center processing fee does NOT include the following:

  • $220 I-901 SEVIS fee that must be paid by the J-1 scholar prior to the initial visa application and/or initial entry to the US in J-1 status
  • $160 visa application fee paid at the time of a visa application at US consulate (Note: Canadian citizens are not required to have visas prior to entering the US)
  • Other incidental charges and fees, such as passport fees, charges for transcript copies or translations, or other incidental charges
  • Express mail fees
  • Health insurance or travel insurance fees
  • Fees relating to the immigration status or ongoing maintenance of accompanying dependent family members