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Scholars

Prospective J Scholars must be invited by an academic department who will serve as a host and sponsor.

The J-1 visa cannot be used for tenure-track appointments. University departments interested in an H-1B to hire for a tenure track position should consult with the University’s General Counsel.

When scholars arrive to campus, they wil have an orientation with an ISSS staff member to go over immigration regulations, living in Springfield, and other questions.

Information about living in Springfield can be found here.

Inviting Scholars to Campus

Departments interested in inviting an international scholar to campus must receive approval from their department chair and provost before sending the Scholar Request form to ISSS.

The J-1 Scholar Request Form can be found here here.

J-1 Exchange Visitors at Western New England University will generally be placed into one of the J Exchange Visitor categories listed below. 

Category

Purpose

Duration

Limitations

 Return Options

Dependents

Research Scholar

Conducts research, observes, or consults in connection with a research project. A research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the university.

3 weeks to 5 years

Is subject to a 24-month bar on return visits as a J Research Scholar and J Professor after the end of the program.

Is subject to the 212e Home Residency Requirement.

May return to the U.S. in J-1 Short-Term Scholar or in any other visa category such as F-1 student, H-1B, B-1/ B-2 visitor or Visa Waiver Program during the 24-month bar period.

All J-2 dependents are allowed to apply for work-authorization and study without restrictions while in the U.S.

Dependent children over age 21 are no longer eligible for J-2 status and will need to change to another status such as F-1 (for full time students) if they wish to stay in the U.S.

Professor

Teaches, lectures, observes, or consults.  A professor’s primary activity will be teaching and lecturing, but may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

3 weeks to 5 years

Is subject to a 24-month bar on return visits as a J Research Scholar and J Professor after the end of the program.

Is subject to the 212e Home Residency Requirement.

May return to the U.S. in J-1 Short-Term Scholar or in any other visa category such as F-1 student, H-1B, B-1/ B-2 visitor or Visa Waiver Program during the 24-month bar period.

Short-Term Scholar

Lecture, observe, consult, and to participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, study tours, professional meetings, or similar types of educational and professional activities

One day to six months (this cannot be extended under any circumstance)

NOT subject to the 24-month bar on return visits.

Is subject to the 212e Home Residency Requirement.

Changing J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

J-1 Exchange Visitors are not allowed to change to a different J-1 category within the U.S.; a change of J-1 category is possible by departing the U.S. and re-entering in the new category. However, there are many risks associated with this process.

Department Requirements

Before bringing a scholar to campus, the host department and ISSS must ensure they can meet the requirements and responsibilities set forth by the Department of State. The scholar must also comply with their own responsibilities.  

Scholar Responsibilities

Scholars must maintain lawful J status while in the U.S. To maintain lawful J status, J scholars are required to:

  • Keep a valid, unexpired DS-2019 and passport (passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future).
  • Maintain continuous health insurance (see below) that meets the Department of State’s requirements for the duration of time in the U.S.
  • Participate only in the activity listed on the DS-2019.
  • Update physical address by emailing ISSS within ten days of any change.
  • Have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019 before leaving and re-entering the U.S.
  • Complete an Income Tax Return as per IRS regulation by April 15th of every year.
  • Notify ISSS of any change to or addition of J-2 dependents.
  • Get any incidental employment approved by ISSS before the activity takes place. 

Host Department Responsibilities

The host department must consider the following responsibilities and criteria of the J-1 before appointing a scholar in J-1 status:

The exchange visitor may only perform duties limited to the pre-established educational objectives as stated on the DS-2019. Any additional employment must be incidental to the visitor's primary program activities, must be directly related to his or her original objectives, and must be authorized in writing by ISSS in advance.

Departments must ascertain that the international scholar has appropriate academic credentials (including English language proficiency) to be appointed to and benefit from his/her J-1 stay at the University.

  • The intent of the appointment/affiliation with the University must be temporary, and the visitor must plan to return home upon completion of the educational objective.
  • The exchange visitor must be in valid J-1 status and on University sponsorship before he or she can commence appointment and receive any payment or compensation.
  • Departments must provide scholars with adequate office space, administrative support, and complete required HR paperwork to facilitate creation of an ID and access to university facilities and technology.
  • Departments will act as a contact to answer questions and assist with area housing and to provide airport pickup, if necessary.
  • Departments should immediately notify ISSS of terminations or departures of exchange visitors.

ISSS Responsibilities

  • ISSS will create the DS-2019 and assist the scholar with any immigration related concerns prior to arrival and once on-campus.
  • ISSS will send an International Arrival Guide and off-campus housing contacts to the scholar.
  • ISSS does not arrange housing or airport transportation for the scholar.
  • ISSS will assist the scholar with the proper documentation needed to get aSocial Security Number and Driver's License.
  • The scholar and any accompanying dependents must have adequate financial support and health insurance coverage to be eligible for J-1 status. ISSS will provide information on appropriate health insurance.

Maintaining your Immigration Status

Scholars must maintain lawful J status while in the U.S. To maintain lawful J status, J scholars are required to:

  • Keep a valid, unexpired DS-2019 and passport (passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future).
  • Maintain continuous health insurance that meets the Department of State’s requirements for the duration of time in the U.S.
  • Participate only in the activity listed on the DS-2019.
  • Update physical address by emailing ISSS within ten days of any change.
  • Have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019 before leaving and re-entering the U.S.
  • Complete an Income Tax Return as per IRS regulation by April 15th of every year.
  • Notify ISSS of any change to or addition of J-2 dependents.
  • Get any incidental employment approved by ISSS before the activity takes place.

Changing J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

J-1 Exchange Visitors are not allowed to change to a different J-1 category within the U.S.; a change of J-1 category is possible by departing the U.S. and re-entering in the new category. However, there are many risks associated with this process.

Applying for a Visa

Most foreign visitors are required to obtain a visa before entering the country and all students and scholars studying in the United States are required to have a visa.

Students and Scholars should view the Visa Application Process for more information. 

Once your hosting department has completed all required paperwork, ISSS will process a DS-2019 for you to use at a visa appointment. 

When you are ready to apply for the visa, you must verify with the local consulate what procedures must be followed because documentation requirements and procedures may vary. In-person interviews are required. More information can be found on the Department of State’s websites here.

Generally, students are required to submit the following documents during their visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
  • Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
  • I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students – All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Each person receives an individual Form I-20.

For more information, please see Study in the States for more information on applying for a visa.

Health Insurance

All Scholars must have proof of health and accident insurance coverage not only for themselves but for all accompanying family members. This insurance must meet Department of State and Commonwealth of Massachusetts standards. If the insurance requirement is not complied with, J-1 status will be revoked, and the scholar will not be allowed to continue at Western New England University. 

ISSS will assist exchange visitors needing assistance in locating companies that sponsor the appropriate insurance.

Starting May 15, 2015, all J scholars must have insurance coverage that meets the minimum guidelines listed below:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    • an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    • a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above

More information about the Department of State's health insurance requirement can be found here.