J-1 Exchange Visitors Responsibilities


Hosting a J-1 Scholar

This section is for departments and their faculty who would like to invite international visitors to campus as J-1 Scholars.

A J-1 Scholar is a visiting researcher, professor, or specialist from a country outside of the United States approved to enter the United States for a specific purpose and for a limited amount of time. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for the express purpose of promoting international educational exchange of expertise and stimulating collaborative teaching and research efforts.  Exchange is truly at the core of the program.

Hosting a J-1 exchange visitor is different than any other type of employer/employee relationship. Because the program is for the explicit purpose of mutual cultural exchange, the J-1 program has unique responsibilities and benefits in which the hosting department must actively participate. These commitments and responsibilities arise from legal requirements under U.S. Department of State regulations and ethical norms in hosting guests who are far from home.

Visa Processing for a J-1 Scholar

The IPO is responsible for all immigration processing. We ask that the department initiate a request for the J-1 immigration document (DS-2019) at least 90 days in advance of the expected program start date of the J-1 Scholar. This allows time for the scholar to receive the DS-2019, obtain a J-1 Visa in a timely manner, and arrive. See Requests to start the J-1 Scholar process for a new scholar.

Hosting Responsibilities

Hosting international faculty, staff, or visitors in your department comes with the normal university protocols for any new hire/appointment.

The international visitor's ability to work and live in the U.S. legally is dependent on “maintaining legal status.” After the scholar arrives at UMass Amherst, the IPO works with both the scholar and the host department to monitor the immigration status.

There are at least four responsible parties engaged in visa sponsorship and maintaining the immigration status:

  • The IPO
  • The scholar
  • The faculty member appointing/inviting the scholar
  • The administrator supporting the faculty member/department

In this partnership, the IPO relies on the department to communicate with the IPO issues of importance (and often Federal law) including:

  • Ensuring the scholar has received information about the terms of the appointment prior to arrival in Amherst 
  • Monitoring scholars' arrival dates and informing the IPO of delays
  • Notifying the IPO if the scholar decides not to come at all
  • After the scholar has arrived, reporting to the IPO any change to the UMass Amherst appointment including funding, title, location, and contact information
  • Any concerns about the scholar’s health, wellness, and functionality in the UMass Amherst community
  • Ensure that the visitor and family receive invitations to appropriate social and cultural functions
  • Notifying the IPO if a scholar leaves before the end of the visa document

The Scholar is responsible for maintaining their immigration status by following the information here.

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