Requesting J-1

Requesting J-1

The information below will assist departments in the steps required to bring a new J-1 scholar, amend a new J-1 scholar’s start date, or extend their J-1 program.  

J-1 Exchange Visitors Requests

U.S. export control laws prohibit the release of controlled technology to foreign persons, even within the United States. Severe penalties can apply to both the University and to the supervisor of the Volunteer or Visiting Scholar for a violation of export control regulations. Please review information provided here for additional questions or contact the Office of Research Compliance at rescomp[at]research.umass[dot]edu or 413-545-3468.

Export Control screening is included in the J-1 Scholar Request Process. Export Control will verify that the J-1 scholar complies with all UMass Amherst Export Control policies. Departments will need to upload the scholar’s passport, CV, offer/invite letter, and the Visiting Scholar Acknowledgment to the J-1 Request.

Departments should ensure their J-1 Scholars understand the Visiting Scholar Acknowledgment as it binds them to the identified policies, rules, and regulations (e.g., Intellectual Property Policy; all UMass Amherst Rules and Regulations).

Effective Thursday, April 27, 2023, J-1 Program Sponsors designated by the US Department of State will be permitted to digitally sign and electronically transmit form DS-2019 to their exchange visitors and their dependents. With this change, sponsors like UMass Amherst may:

  • Print and physically sign paper forms in ink, scan and save them (e.g., as portable document format (PDF) files), and electronically transmit them (e.g., via email), OR
  • Use digital signature software to sign forms DS-2019 and then electronically transmit them. 

Starting April 27, 2023, the IPO will fully implement this new Department of State final rule and no longer print form(s) DS-2019 and mail the paper form to our prospective and current exchange visitors (paid and unpaid). Instead, the IPO will sign the form and electronically transmit/distribute them.

Initial J-1s & J-2s: After receiving their DS-2019, they will still need to print and sign their form to apply for their J visa and travel to the US.

Current J-1s & J-2s: the IPO will digitally endorse the form DS-2019 for international travel and send it to the J-1 exchange visitor. The J-1s and J-2s will still need to print and sign their form for travel and/or renew their visa.

You can find details about the interim final rule here.

Please email jscholars[at]umass[dot]edu if you have any questions.

Three to four months prior to the requested start date of the J-1 Exchange Visitor's program, the department should submit the DS-2019 request to IPO by completing the Amherst J-1 Request Process in UMass VIP (Visa Information Portal) (log in and go to Departmental Services on the left).

Please allow enough processing time (at least 90 days) for the IPO to process the incoming scholar’s DS-2019 and mail it to the scholar so they can schedule their visa appointment, have their visa interview, and enter the U.S. Start dates that are too soon will need to be changed and will cause a delay in the IPO’s processing.

Steps to submit a request and documents needed:

  1. Once you have access to UMass VIP, add a new person.
    1. If the scholar has been at UMass Amherst before, please contact jscholars[at]umass[dot]edu if you need the correct ID.
  2. Adding a new person will provide you with a TEMP ID for the scholar. Go to Amherst New J-1 Request and add the TEMP ID and date of birth to start your request.
  3. Submit the required E-Forms. You will need the documents below and should have them ready when you start your request.
    1. Scholar Passport (Bio Page)
    2. Scholar CV
    3. Signed Scholar Acknowledgement
    4. Department Speed type (if a paid employee or the department is paying the IPO Processing Fee) or Scholar Receipt for IPO J-1 Scholar Fee
    5. Scholar Invite/Offer Letter
      1. Review the Acceptable Titles for J-1 Scholars here.
      2. Scholars employed by UMass will follow the standard HR template.
      3. Unpaid Scholar’s invite letters should follow this format.
    6. Hosting Undergraduate Research Visitors (if scholar is an undergraduate student)
  4. Scholars must upload:
    1. Proof of Legal Permanent Residence (passport, etc.)
    2. Financial Documentation (if not paid by UMass)
      1. If employed by your home employer, you must upload official verification of employment in English
      2. Use our Scholar Expenses Cheat Sheet to ensure your financial documentation meets our minimum funding requirements. (The cheat sheet will download an excel spreadsheet to your device).
    3. Proof of enrollment if currently a student at home institution
    4. Dependent Passport(s) (if applicable, for each dependent)
      1. To request J-2 sponsorship for more than one dependent, after submitting the first Dependent Information E-Form, click on the "Dependent Information" link again. Repeat for each dependent.

The department and the scholar will receive reminder emails about their arrival to UMass. Occasionally, a J-1 Scholar’s arrival can be delayed for a variety of reasons resulting in their DS-2019 start dates needing an amendment. If the scholar is delayed more than 2 weeks late from their start date, the department should notify the IPO. Please review the process below to request a DS-2019 amendment.

Scholar delayed by:

  1. Lack of visa appointment availability or due to other personal delays (i.e., travel, research, changes, etc.)
    1. The department and scholar should determine a new start/end date. The department should email the new invite letter to jscholars[at]umass[dot]edu.
  2. Administrative processing of the visa
  3. U.S. Consulates occasionally need more time to award a visa and will put the scholar’s application in administrative processing, which can often take 3+ months to process. The department and scholar should determine a new start/end date that is at least 3 months beyond the current start date and email jscholars[at]umass[dot]edu with the new information. Do not submit a new offer letter until the visa approval.

An extension of stay may be requested if the Scholar needs more time to complete their research activity or studies. Academic departments are responsible for submitting the extension request to the IPO at least 4 weeks prior to the end date listed on the scholar's DS-2019. 

Please log into UMass VIP to submit a J-1 Scholar Extension Request in Departmental Services. Please keep in mind that all requests should be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the end date of the current appointment.

A complete request for an extension includes: 

  • Updated Offer Letter/Invite Letter
    • Updated HR offer letter (if a paid employee of UMass)
    • Updated financial documentation (if not a paid employee of UMass)
  • Current residential address of scholar
  • Updated insurance information (if an unpaid scholar)

For all non-paid employees, the NENS will be extended within 30 days once the extension request has been processed.

Important notes:

  • The processing time for DS-2019 Extension Applications is ten business days.
  • The extension cannot go beyond the maximum period for the designated J-1 category.
    • Short-term Scholars: 6 months maximum (cannot be extended beyond 6 months in any circumstance)
    • Research Scholars and Professors: 5 Years
    • Specialist: 1 year (cannot be extended beyond 1 year in any circumstance)
  • J-2 DS-2019s attached to a J-1 record are automatically extended with the J-1 DS-2019. A separate request is not required.
  • The IPO cannot extend a DS-2019 if the Scholar’s 212e waiver application is approved by the Department of State or USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Contact the IPO if there are any issues with the forms or you have questions.