The J-1 immigration status is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the U.S. to exchange knowledge and skills. J-1 Exchange Visitors (EVs) fall into many categories.

Washington University has been approved by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to serve as a visa sponsor for these individuals. The information provided in this section is intended for J-1 exchange visitors sponsored by Washington University.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor program was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961; the purpose is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. J-1 immigration status is not for temporary work. Instead, the scholar should be engaged in exchange activities for their own benefit. The sponsoring department should encourage the scholar to participate in cross-cultural activities, for the scholar to gain the broadest exposure to American society, culture, and institutions.

WashU sponsorship of J-1

OISS requests and processes Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). J-1 Exchange Visitors (EVs) use the DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 visa stamp overseas. When OISS processes the DS-2019 for an exchange visitor, WashU acts as the J-1 visa sponsor.

Requirements for a J-1 EV position at WashU:

  • The position must be supervised within the department.
  • A minimum of a master’s degree is required (this applies to J-1 Research Scholars, Professors, and Specialists).
  • The position should not be a regular staff role; technician or assistant-level positions are not suitable for a J-1 program.
  • The position must not be tenure-track or tenured.

If you (as a department contact) or your department are requesting a J-1 for the first time, please contact the Associate Director for Scholars for an introduction and a brief orientation of the process. J-1 EVs at WashU fall into several categories. Find more information on different categories on Overview of Scholar Status Options. Departments considering requesting a J-1 for an incoming scholar should be aware of the limitations on time and regulations affecting status:

J-1 categories

If you have questions about which category is more appropriate for a potential EV, contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu.

J-1 Short-term Scholar

This category used for short-term visits (maximum 6 months) for research, teaching, lecturing, consulting, training, demonstrating special skills or other collaboration. Scholar must possess at least a bachelor’s degree. For detailed information on the application process, please refer to the Application process: J-1 scholars section further down this page.

Note: If the department anticipates the possibility of extending the EV beyond 6 months, we do not recommend choosing this category as it cannot be extended past the maximum period.

J-1 Research Scholar or Professor

This category is used for longer visits (maximum 5 years, minimum 3 weeks) for research, teaching, lecturing or other collaboration. The Research Scholar and Professor categories are interchangeable during a scholar’s stay at WashU. Scholar must possess at least a master’s degree. For detailed information on the application process, please refer to the Application process: J-1 scholars section further down this page.

J-1 Specialist

This category is used for longer visits (maximum 1 year, minimum 3 weeks) for observing, consulting, or demonstrating knowledge and skills as an expert in a specialized field. Scholar must possess at least a master’s degree. For detailed information on the application process, please refer to the Application process: J-1 scholars section further down this page.

J-1 Student Intern or Non-degree Student

This category is used for a structured internship program (maximum 24 months). Student must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a postsecondary institution abroad at any level. For detailed information on the application process, please refer to the Application process: J-1 student interns section further down this page.

J-1 Degree-Seeking Student or exchange student

These EVs are considered international students. See Overview of Student Status Options for more information.

Regulations affecting status

The J-1 EV immigration status is meant to be temporary and encourage the exchange of knowledge of skills between countries. Therefore, immigration regulations limit the activities that many EVs can participate in prior to or after their J-1 EV program ends. Departments must inform OISS if a prospective J-1 EV has been in J-1 status in the past. OISS can help determine whether someone is submit to either of the bars or the two-year residence requirement.

12- and 24-month bars
212(e) Two-year residence requirement

Application process: J-1 scholars

For EVs living outside of the U.S. or those currently in the U.S. on a J-1 EV program at another institution in the same scholar category (Professor, Research Scholar or Short-term Scholar).

The WashU sponsoring department must initiate all applications

OISS processing time for J-1 scholar applications is up to 10 business days. Visa appointment wait times and processing times vary greatly based on the U.S. embassy/consulate.

If the prospective EV is currently in the U.S. in another immigration status, contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu. Depending on the status and the timeline, it may not be possible to complete a change of status from within the U.S.

View the full J-1 Scholar application process below.

Step 1: Prepare required documentation

The department contact should collect all of the following documents. Contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu with questions if you are unsure whether the prospective scholar qualifies for J-1 status.

J-1 application documents:

Document typeResponsible PartyForm or Information link
Intake formEVExchange Visitor DS-2019 Request (PDF)
Invitation formDepartmentJ-1 Department EV Form (PDF)
Offer letterDepartmentJ-1 Offer Letter Template (PDF)
English proficiencyDepartmentEnglish proficiency
Passport bio page (including dependents, if applicable)EVN/a
CV or resumeEVN/a
Prior/current visa Documents (including dependents, if applicable)EVN/a
DiplomaEVN/a
Patient Contact Form (only for MD EVs)J-1 Patient Contact Form (PDF)
Financial Documents (including dependents, if applicable)Department and/or EVProof of funding
Insurance documents (including dependents, if applicable)EVInfo: Health insurance
J Health Insurance Acknowledgement (PDF)
Health Ins Verification Form (PDF) – only for EVs not eligible for WashU benefits
J-2 dependent request (if applicable)EVJ-1 Request for J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Form (PDF)
Transfer in proof*DepartmentTransfer In Form (PDF)
Documents required to sponsor J-1 scholar
*Documents required for J-1 SEVIS transfers only
Step 2: Submit to OISS in timely manner

We recommend submitting the J-1 application at least three (3) months in advance of the requested J-1 start date. While OISS processing time is only up to 10 business days, it is essential to have sufficient time for the J-1 EV to apply for a visa overseas and prepare to travel to the U.S.

OISS may ask the department to update the requested program start date if insufficient time is allowed before an EV’s start date.

Submit required documents by PDF (combined as one attachment if possible) by emailing J1Scholars@wustl.edu with the subject line “LASTNAMEFirstname_DOB (MMDDYYYY)”. The request will be assigned to an OISS advisor once all documentation is received.

Step 3: OISS reviews

OISS receives the paperwork, checks it for accuracy and completeness, and verifies that both the scholar and position qualify for J-1 status in a particular category. We then inform the department of any issues or missing documentation.

Step 4: OISS approves and creates DS-2019

Up to 10 business days

After the J-1 application is completed, reviewed and approved, OISS will create a Form DS-2019 for the incoming J-1 scholar and any dependents. The scholar’s program is limited by the dates on the DS-2019. They can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the DS-2019 start date to prepare for their program and find housing.

Note: For J-1 scholars transferring in to WashU, OISS will not be able to issue the DS-2019 until the transfer-in release date in SEVIS has passed. This may be the start date with your department. The date is determined by the scholar and their previous sponsor institution.

Application process: J-1 student interns

For EVs living outside of the U.S. or those currently in the U.S. on a J-1 EV program at another institution in the same student category (Student Intern or Student Non-degree).

OISS processing time for J-1 student intern and non-degree applications is up to 15 business days. Visa appointment wait times and processing times vary greatly based on the U.S. embassy/consulate.

If the prospective EV is currently in the U.S. in another immigration status, contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu. Depending on the status and the timeline, it may not be possible to complete a change of status from within the U.S.

Washington University uses two different categories for international interns: J-1 Student Intern or J-1 Student Non-Degree. The table below shows a comparison of the two J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) categories. Before submitting an application, contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu to determine the appropriate category. View full process below.

J-1 Student InternJ-1 Student Non-Degree
PurposeStructured internship which fulfills a home country degree requirement
Coursework allowed in addition to the required 32 hours/week of internship
Student is engaged in a full-time course of study including classroom and/or research
Home Institution RequirementsIntern is enrolled at home institution and internship enhances the academic programStudent not necessarily required to return to home institution academic program
Site of ActivityMust be WashU and/or site listed prior to arrival on Form DS-2019 and Form DS-7002 (T/IPP)WashU, as listed prior to arrival on Form DS-2019
Funding SourceNo limitations+51% of funding must be non-personal funds
EmploymentIntern can only be paid and participate in internship listed on Form DS-2019 and Form DS-7002 (T/IPP)Employment or payment allowed at WashU
Program Duration12 month maximum24 month maximum
OISS Processing TimelineUp to 15 business daysUp to 10 business days
Table comparing J-1 Student Intern to J-1 Student Non-Degree

View the full application process for J-1 student interns and J-1 student non-degree categories below.

Step 1: Prepare required documentation

The department contact should collect all of the following documents. Contact OISS at J1Scholar@wustl.edu with questions if you are unsure whether the prospective scholar qualifies for J-1 status.

J-1 application documents:

Document typeResponsible PartyForm or Information link
Intake formEVExchange Visitor DS-2019 Request (PDF)
Invitation formDepartmentJ-1 Department EV Form (PDF)
Offer letterDepartmentJ-1 Offer Letter Template (PDF)
English proficiencyDepartmentInfo: English proficiency
J-1 English Proficiency Assessment (PDF) – only for those using assessment option
Passport bio page (including dependents, if applicable)EVN/a
CV or resumeEVN/a
Prior/current visa Documents (including dependents, if applicable)EVN/a
DiplomaEVN/a
Patient Contact Form (only for MD EV’s)J-1 Patient Contact Form (PDF)
Financial Documents (including dependents, if applicable)Department and/or EVProof of funding
Insurance documents (including dependents, if applicable)EVInfo: Health insurance
J Health Insurance Acknowledgement (PDF)
Health Ins Verification Form (PDF) – only for EVs not eligible for WashU benefits
J-2 dependent request (if applicable)EVJ-1 Request for J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Form (PDF)
Supervisor agreement*Department
J-1 Student Intern activities and goals*DepartmentJ-1 Student Intern Activities and Goals (PDF)
Student Intern Agreement*EVJ-1 Student Intern Agreement (PDF)
Enrollment and Good Standing Letter*EVLetter on official
university stationery/letterhead from current institution
MUST be in English
Signed Approval for Participation Letter*EVDocument from current institution’s
dean or academic adviser
approving participation in J-1 program
Written Purpose Statement for Internship*EVWritten statement from
prospective EV indicating how
internship helps with their
educational objectives and
academic course of study
Transfer-in proof**DepartmentTransfer In Form (PDF)
Documents required to sponsor J-1 Student Intern or Non-degree
*Documents required for J-1 Student Intern category only
**Documents required for J-1 SEVIS transfers only
Step 2: Submit to OISS in timely manner

We recommend submitting the J-1 application at least three (3) months in advance of the requested J-1 start date. While OISS processing time is only up to 15 business days, it is essential to have sufficient time for the J-1 EV to apply for a visa overseas and prepare to travel to the U.S.

OISS may ask the department to update the requested program start date if insufficient time is allowed before an EV’s start date.

Submit required documents by PDF (combined as one attachment if possible) by emailing J1Scholars@wustl.edu with the subject line “LASTNAMEFirstname_DOB (MMDDYYYY)”. The request will be assigned to an OISS advisor once all documentation is received.

Step 3: OISS reviews

OISS receives the paperwork, checks it for accuracy and completeness, and verifies that both the prospective EV and position qualify for J-1 status as a student intern or non-degree student. We then inform the department of any issues and missing documentation.

Step 4: OISS approves and creates DS-2019

Up to 15 business days

After the J-1 application is completed, reviewed and approved, OISS will create a DS-2019 for the incoming J-1 scholar and any dependents. The scholar’s program is limited by the dates on the DS-2019. They can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the DS-2019 start date to prepare for their program and find housing.

English proficiency requirement

English proficiency for J‐1 scholars is a requirement of the Department of State. J‐1 scholars need strong English proficiency to function in their positions and perform daily living activities. Strong English proficiency will enable cultural exchange, which is a goal of the J‐1 program. Also, in the case of an audit, having J‐1 scholars with insufficient English proficiency could jeopardize the University’s entire J‐1 program.

After arrival, if the scholar’s English proficiency is insufficient, OISS will follow up with the department to develop a plan for providing English support during the J‐1 program. The scholar must spend the majority of time on J‐1 program objectives; English language classes may only be incidental.

Review WashU’s English Language Proficiency policy.

Health insurance requirement

Department of State (DOS) J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) Program regulations require that J-1 EVs and their J-2 dependents carry health insurance meeting specific minimum standards (Code of Federal Regulations – 22 CFR 62.14) during the entire length of their J program. Failure to maintain required insurance coverage can result in termination of J status.

See Health insurance requirements for information.

Proof of funding requirement

Before we can issue a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for new J-1 scholar, the U.S government requires that WashU has evidence of sufficient funding. Financial documentation must show access to sufficient funds to cover the minimum amount established for the scholar and any dependents for the entire length of the program. Minimum living expenses are based on the university pay-scale. The J-1 Request Form lists current funding requirements.

Student Non-degree funding

At least 51% of EV funding must come from non-personal sources.

Proof of funding may come in the form of a bank statement, bank letter, or sponsorship letter from the source providing funding. We encourage scholars to send original documentation; however, OISS will accept printouts of online bank statements and scans/copies of original statements or letters. We will not accept photographs or screenshots. OISS reserves the right to require original documentation.

WashU funding

If the sponsoring department is providing funding for the scholar, an official letter to the OISS demonstrating their intent to provide financial support must be provided. Include this information in the offer or invitation letter or as a stand-alone document.

If the total amount listed does not equal or exceed minimum living expenses for the entire length of the program, for both the scholar and any dependents, additional funding documentation will be required.

Outside sponsor funding

Common forms of outside funding include scholarships, fellowships and employer funds (foreign or domestic). Document non-WashU funding, in English, as follows:

  • A letter on official letterhead stating the entity’s intent to provide financial support for the scholar and/or dependents, if applicable, while at WashU
  • The type and amount of the support being provided
  • The dates that support will be provided

If the total amount listed does not equal or exceed minimum living expenses for the entire length of the program, for both the scholar and any dependents, additional funding documentation will be required.

Personal funding

A copy of an official bank letter or bank statement is required if the scholar is using only personal funds for the J program, or is bringing dependents that are not being supported by a sponsor. All documents from a financial institution must include the following information:

  • Dated no more than 6 months from the received date.
  • The account holder’s full name in English. We will not accept only initials or first name and last initial.
  • The total amount listed per account or a sum of all the accounts which equals or exceeds minimum living expenses based on the university pay-scale for the entire length of the program for both the scholar and any dependents.
  • All bank letters must be printed in English and on official bank letterhead or contain an official logo, stamp, seal, or signature.
Unacceptable financial documents

Please be aware that the following items remain unacceptable as proof of financial support:

  • Retirement Accounts
    These accounts are subject to taxes and a plethora of laws which would greatly reduce the amount of money received compared to what appears on the document.
  • Proof of valuable property
    Property cannot be easily sold and the value is subject to many outside factors.
  • Tax and income statements
    These statements show only how much money a person made over a given time or their projected income, not the amount which is currently liquid.
  • Photographs or screenshots of bank statements or letters
    The OISS will not issue a DS-2019 based off photos – for example photos taken with a cell phone of bank documents.
How to look out for fraud

Departments should familiarize themselves with common methods to spot fraudulent documents.

  • Inverted Logos
  • Inconsistent spacing between letters and words
  • Misspelled words and names
  • Summary totals that do not equal the sum of the individual accounts
  • Evidence of cut, taped, and copied sections

A simple Google search for “How to spot a fake bank statement” produced 8 recommended searches all of which provided tools and tips for an individual to create a fake bank statement. Fraud might not be common but it is much easier to attempt than you think.