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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 (program number P-1-00829). The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is designed to encourage temporary educational and cultural exchanges between the US and other countries through sponsorship of individuals for the programs of study, teaching, research, observation, and demonstration of special skills.

Important Note: Effective July 1, 2024, Tufts University will discontinue offering sponsorship to J-1 exchange visitors for participation in programs based exclusively in third party sites. As of that date, any new request for a J-1 exchange visitor must be initiated by a University department and the sponsored individual must hold a University appointment for a temporary teaching or research position (e.g., visiting scholar / scientist, postdoctoral scholar, visiting professor or lecturer, or the equivalent). Previous restrictions that prohibit the use of the J-1 visa category for permanent positions (e.g., tenure-track faculty) or positions that require direct patient contact and primary care, remain in place. Contact the International Center for more information.

J-1 Scholar Program Features

The J-1 Scholar Program at Tufts allows for the visa sponsorship of persons coming to Tufts for temporary activities involving teaching and research. The program's main requirements are as follows; see the sections below for more detailed policies and procedures.

  • J-1 Scholars may be sponsored for temporary programs of teaching and research and is typically for persons appointed to positions such as postdoctoral scholar, visiting professor, adjunct lecturer, or visiting scholar / scientist.
  • The J-1 visa may may not be used to hire individuals to permanent positions (e.g., tenure-track positions or other academic / staff positions of a continuous, ongoing nature). For non-temporary positions, consult our information on the H-1B Temporary Worker visa category or contact the International Center.
  • The Scholar program has three major subcategories, including:
    • J-1 Research Scholars - for temporary programs of research ranging from a minimum of 3 weeks to five years
    • J-1 Professors - for temporary programs of teaching ranging from a minimum of 3 weeks to five years
    • J-1 Short-Term Scholars - for temporary program of teaching / research ranging from 1 day to a non-extendable maximum of six months
  • In certain cases, visiting students may be hosted as either J-1 Scholars or as J-1 Student Interns. Student interns are typically students attending overseas institutions of higher education who are coming to fulfill internship requirements at a Tufts site or location. Contact the International Center for most information regarding the appropriate J-1 category.

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

J-1 Visiting Scholar Program Policies and Eligibility Criteria

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 Minimum and Maximum Program 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 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

As indicated in the table above, 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.

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.

Direct Patient Contact or Patient Care Prohibited

Under current policy, J-1 scholars may not engage in direct patient contact or care 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.

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.


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

  • The scholar must be hired to a temporary teaching or research position (e.g., postdoctoral researcher, visiting professor) or have a faculty appointment to a temporary visiting scholar / scientist / student designation approved by the Dean of the school
  • The scholar must have the minimum of a BA degree, or obtain a foreign credential evaluation indicating that they possess the US equivalency of a BA degree
  • 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)
  • The scholar must have an insurance plan that meets the J-1 health insurance requirements
  • 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.

J-1 visiting scholars are eligible to arrive in the US up to 30 days before their program start date (as reflected on their Form DS-2019) to allow them to begin program activities by the indicated program start date.

In the event that a J-1 exchange visitor is not able to arrive by or on the program start date, the sponsoring department and/or the J-1 exchange visitor should consult with the International Center. While brief arrival delays past the program start date do not usually require corrective action, more significant delays may impact the scholar's arrival and ability to start their program activities:

  • J-1 exchange visitors may request an amended DS-2019 form at any time a late arrival is expected, as long as the sponsoring department approves the new program start date. Please keep in mind that the program start date reflects the date that the scholar is expected to be able to commence program duties and activities.
  • If the scholar anticipates that they will not be able to arrive more than 15 days after the indicated program start date, issuance of a new Form DS-2019 is required. The sponsoring department, the J-1 visiting scholar, and the International Center should identify a new program start date and a new DS-2019 should be issued and delivered to the scholar once a new date is determined.
  • If no action is taken and the scholar is unable to arrive AND complete a J-1 check-in procedure with the International Center within 30 days after the program start date, the J-1 record will be deactivated and the scholar will be ineligible to enter the US.

J-1 program start dates may be deferred to future days provided the J-1 scholar and the host department are committed to the program activity. However, if a J-1 scholar is unable to arrive due to protracted visa processing delays or delays due to other factors, departments and J-1 visitors are encouraged to review the ability of the J-1 scholar to participate in the intended program. If at any point it is determined that a J-1  scholar will not be able to arrive in the US and participate in an exchange program at Tufts, the sponsoring department and/or the J-1 scholar should contact the International Center to ensure that the record is canceled. Cancellation of the record due to inability to arrive is a non-prejudicial action that does not have any negative impact on the eligibility of the scholar apply for visas at a future date.

This delayed arrival policy is designed to minimize the likelihood that J-1 exchange visitors may face questions or difficulties upon arrival at a US port of entry if they are not able to arrive in the US by their program start date. In addition, J-1 arrival must be confirmed and J-1 records must be validated by the International Center no later than 30 days following the program start date. To ensure that all arrival procedures are satisfied in a timely manner, any delay of 15 days or more will require issuance of an amended DS-2019 with a new program start date.

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

Departments and scholars are jointly responsible for notifying the International Center in the event of early completion of the J-1 program, if the program is completed more than 15 days prior to the original program end date. Early completion events include:

  • Early completion of research or teaching goals
  • End of program due to loss of funding
  • Discontinuation or termination of the scholar's appointment, including paid appointments and courtesy appointments
  • Voluntary discontinuation from program participation by the scholar due to personal, family or medical reasons


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.

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

The US State Department issued an updated policy announcement on April 22, 2022 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work. In summary, if necessitated due to COVID-19 safety measures, 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 a majority of in-person activities on a Tufts campus or site.  Programs in which the J-1 Exchange Visitor only interacts with Tufts through fully remote engagement is not permitted. Telework activities cannot exceed more than one to two days per week. This temporary guidance is in effect through June 30, 2023.

Due to the expectation that J-1 Exchange Visitors be able to substantially participate in on-site activities, with telework limited to 1-2 days per week, Exchange Visitors are expected to reside in the Greater Boston area or in an area within reasonable commuting distance to their primary site of activity at Tufts or Tufts Medical Center. Exceptions may be made for J-1 Exchange Visitors whose research activities requires work at offsite locations (an example might be an Exchange Visitor whose research requires physical presence at a fieldwork site). Please contact the International Center for more details.

Requesting a J-1 Scholar (Initials / Extensions)

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)

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
  • $185 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)

Updated: August 3, 2023

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 $2,900 $34,800
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.

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.