The J non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs.

Visa Application

If you are not currently in the United States, you need to apply for and receive your J-1 visa before you can begin your program at Shawnee State University.

Demonstrate English proficiency

Any request for a J-1 research scholar/professor must include documented proficiency in English.

Prospective research scholars/professors can provide a recognized English language test score from any of the listed criteria below. Options include:

  • TOEFL score of 66 or higher
  • IELTS overall band score of 6.0 or higher
  • Duolingo score of 95 or higher
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment Test grade C or higher

Research scholars or professors whose native language is English do not have to provide documentation of verifiable English. The following countries/territories are considered English speaking for this purpose:

Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Botswana; Cameroon; Canada (except Quebec); Cayman Islands; Denmark; Dominica; Fiji; Finland; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; Malawi; Malta; Mauritius; Montserrat; Nambia; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nigeria; Norway; Papua New Guinea; Scotland; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Swaziland; Sweden; Tanzania; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; Uganda; United Kingdom; Vanuatu; Virgin Islands; Wales; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

Demonstrate financial support

You must demonstrate adequate financial support in order to issue a DS-2019.

  • You must have at least $2,000 in monthly support ($24,000 per year).
  • If you wish to bring family to the US, you must show an additional $6,000 (per year) for a spouse and $3,000 (per year) for each child.
Demonstrate health insurance

All J-1 Exchange Visitors (and dependents) are required to have health insurance that meets Department of State requirements:

  • medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • medical evacuation to the home country in the amount of $50,000
  • a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • underwritten by an insurance corporation having:
    • an A.M. Best rating of 'A-' or above,
    • an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of 'A-1' or above,
    • a Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying ability rating of 'A-' or above, OR
    • a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.

Insurance coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country meets this requirement.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors must submit proof of health and accident insurance coverage not only for the Exchange Visitor, but for all accompanying family members. Health insurance requirements for Exchange Visitors and their dependents is strictly detailed by the Department of State. You must maintain the appropriate health insurance coverage for the duration of your program.

Receive DS-2019

After your documentation has been submitted by your department, if approved, SSU will mail you a DS-2019. You will use this document to pay the SEVIS fee and set up your visa appointment.

Pay the SEVIS fee

Before you can apply for a visa, you must pay a SEVIS fee to the US Department of Homeland Security. Read all the instructions before paying the fee.

  • The SEVIS fee can be paid by credit card over the internet, by check, or by money order by mail.
  • If you are applying for F-1 status, the SEVIS fee is $350.
  • If you are applying for J-1 status, the SEVIS fee is $220.

The fee must be paid at least three business days prior to the scheduled date of your interview in order for the payment information to show up on the SEVIS system.

Bring your I-901 receipt with you to your visa interview.

A paper receipt can be used as verification in place of the internet verification.

In order to complete your SEVIS fee form, you will need your I-20 or DS-2019 and Shawnee State University’s School Code. Our school codes are:

  • CLE214F10461000 for F-1 students with an I-20
  • P-1-05606 for J-1 students/scholars with a DS-2019

Pay the SEVIS fee

Apply for your visa

Once you have received your DS-2019 and paid the SEVIS fee, you can apply for your J visa. You can apply at any US consulate or embassy, but it may be more difficult outside of your country.

Appointments are mandatory for all visas, and some US embassies and consulates require appointments to be made at least four to eight weeks in advance. Apply for your visa well before the date you would like to depart for Shawnee State.

Maintain Your Visa Status

To maintain your visa status:

  • Only engage in activities permitted under the J-1 program and category.
  • File timely and appropriate transfer and extension notifications.
  • Refrain from unauthorized employment.
  • Maintain required health insurance coverage.
  • Report changes of address.
  • Receive authorization for travel.
  • Adhere to your grace period at the end of your program (30 days).

Extend Your Stay

  • Exchange Visitors in the Professor or Research Scholar category have a maximum stay of five (5) years.
  • Short-Term Scholars have a maximum stay of six (6) months.
  • Specialists have a maximum stay of one year.
  • Non-degree students have a maximum stay of (2) two years.

Be sure that you have the amount of time you are requesting left.

You and your sponsoring department must submit an extension request prior to the expiration of your current DS-2019. The request to extend the program must be received at least 5 days prior to the expiration of the current DS-2019, but the sooner the better.

After Your J-1 Program Ends

At the end of your J-1 program, you have a 30 day grace period to exit the United States. J visa holders are also subject to the home residency requirement and 12 / 24 month bars in participation, which means that you may be ineligible to apply for a new visa for some time.

Home Residency Requirement

As an exchange visitor, you may not be eligible to apply for or change to other visa statuses in the US until you have resided and been physically present in your country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for a minimum of two years following your departure from the United States.

These restrictions apply in any of the following cases:

  • When your participation was financed in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the US government or by the government of your home country.
  • You had skills necessary to your country under the Exchange Visitor Skills List when you applied for your J visa.
  • You acquired exchange visitor status in order to receive graduate medical education or training.
Direct or Indirect Financing

“Financed directly” means:

  • financed in whole or part by the United States Government or your home government with funds contributed directly to you in connection with an exchange visitor program.

“Financed indirectly” means:

  • financed by an international organization with funds contributed by either the United States or your home government for use in financing international educational and cultural exchange, or
  • financed by an organization or institution with funds made available by either the United States or your home government for the purpose of furthering international educational and cultural exchange.
Waive the home residency requirement

Exchange visitors who are subject to the home residency requirement may apply for a waiver under any one of the five applicable grounds:

  1. "No Objection" statement from the home government
    The exchange visitor’s government must state that it has no objection to the exchange visitor not returning to the home country to satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement and remaining in the US if he or she chooses to do so.
  2. Request by an interested (US) Government Agency
    If an exchange visitor is working on a project for, or of interest to, a US Federal Government Agency, and that agency has determined that the visitor’s continued stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, a waiver may be granted if the exchange visitor’s continued stay in the United States is in the public interest.
  3. Persecution
    If the exchange visitor believes that he or she will be persecuted upon return to the home country due to race, religion, or political opinion, he or she can apply for a waiver.
  4. Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen (or permanent resident) spouse or child of an exchange visitor
    If the exchange visitor can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause extreme hardship to his or her United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for a waiver. (Mere separation from family is not considered exceptional hardship.)
  5. Request by a designated State Department of Health or its equivalent
    The law permits only medical doctors to apply for a waiver on this basis. Foreign medical graduates may apply for a waiver if they 
    1. have an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area, and 
    2. agree to begin employment at the facility within 90 days of receiving such waiver, and
    3. sign a contract to continue to work at the health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and not less than three years. 

12 and 24 Month Bars

The 12 and 24 month bars are different from the two-year home country residence requirement. The 12 and 24 month rule affects J-1 exchange visitors who have been in the US on a J-1 visa previously, and wish to return using the J-1 visa.

Depending on what your previous J category was, you may be subject to a 12 month bar, a 24 month bar or have no bar at all.

It is possible that a J-1 visitor has no wait time related to the 12 and 24 month bars, but is subject to the two year home residency requirement. If you have never before had J-1 visa sponsorship, then the bars do not apply to you.

Length of previous J visa status was LESS than 6 months
Wait time for a J-1 Research Scholar / Professor visa based on previous visa category, with previous stay less than 6 months.
Previous J visa category Wait time for new J-1 research scholar / professor visa
J-1 student (non-degree) No wait
J-1 student No wait
J-1 research scholar / professor for any amount of time (one day to five years) 24 months
J-1 short-term scholar No wait
J-1 specialist No wait
Length of previous J visa status was MORE than 6 months
Wait time for a new J-1 research scholar / professor visa by previous J visa category, with a previous stay more than 6 months.
Previous J visa category Wait time for a new J-1 research scholar / professor visa
J-1 student (non-degree) 12 months
J-1 student 12 months
J-1 specialist 12 months
J-1 research scholar / professor for any amount of time (one day to five years) 24 months
J-2 dependent of research scholar / professor 24 months
J-2 dependent of any J-1 category except short-term scholar 12 months