J-1 Exchange Visitor

J-1 Exchange Visitor

Department of State (DOS) program information and requirements J-1 Visa - Exchange Visitor Program website or read 22CFR62.0

You can download the Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program Participant Welcome Brochure here

The IPO is required to report in SEVIS any changes to the established information found on the DS-2019. All Exchange Visitors and their dependents must meet Medical Insurance requirements. The IPO must notify Department of State (DOS) if they fail to meet the requirements.

UMass Sponsors J-1 for Scholars in one of four categories:

Research Scholar:

UMass Amherst brings most international scholars in this category. It is for scholars whose appointments are expected to be longer than six months. Research Scholars are primarily expected to conduct research, but may also teach. UMass Amherst policy allows Research Scholars to remain at UMass Amherst for up to five years (the maximum allowed under the regulations) under certain circumstances.


International scholars whose duties will primarily be teaching and whose stays are expected to be longer than six months are brought to UMass Amherst in this category. Research duties are also permitted. UMass Amherst policy allows scholars in the Professor category to remain at UMass Amherst for up to five years (the maximum allowed under the regulations) under certain circumstances.

Short Term Scholar:

For scholars coming to the United States for no longer than six months. Extensions are not possible. This category is appropriate for scholars whose visits will be short and will not exceed six months, or for scholars who may come and go periodically to UMass Amherst. Repeat or back-to-back, six-month short-term scholar documents/programs may not be permitted.


UMass Amherst brings scholars to the US in this category under special circumstances and for certain types of appointments only. The maximum limit for a J-1 program in the Specialist category is one year.


  • Appropriate educational background to meet the criteria of category sponsored by UMass Amherst
  • Proficient English Language Ability
  • Financial Support
    • Benefitted UMass Amherst Employees: Must meet current UMass Amherst Employee guidelines for years of service 
    • (2019-2020) Visitor Minimums: (Non-benefited UMass employee)
      • $23,558/yr. 10% funding can come from a personal bank or savings account. Funding must come from a recognized funding source i.e. salary from home employer, fellowship, scholarship, stipend. Visitors can be paid by UMass hosting department.
  • Upon entry to the U.S. in J-1 status will obtain Medical Insurance that meets the J-1 Exchange Visitor requirements and maintain this for the full duration stated on the DS-2019. 


  • Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement [INA 212(e)]: You will become subject if your J-1 program is funded by either your government or the US government, involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country, or if you come to the US for graduate medical training. If this requirement applies to you, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your J-1 program. You are not prohibited from traveling to the US but you may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the requirement is satisfied. This requirement currently applies to all dependents in J-2 status under the J-1. 

  • 24 Month Bar: If you are coming to UMass Amherst as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor, you and your J-2 dependents will become subject to the 24-month bar if: (1) you complete a full five years of J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program participation with one or more J-1 program sponsors; or (2) you completed a particular J1 Research Scholar or Professor program of ANY LENGTH, and your SEVIS record becomes inactive BEFORE the full five-year period is over. You must then wait at least 24 months before you may begin a new J-1 program in the Research Scholar or Professor category. 

  • 12 Month Bar: If you are coming to UMass Amherst as a Degree Student/Non-Degree Student, you and your J-2 dependents may become subject to the 12 month bar. If applicable, you must wait 12 months before applying for another visa in any J category*. 

*For those considering switching from a student category to a scholar category