J-1 Scholars

About the J-1 Scholar Program

The University of Kansas has been approved by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors participating in academic research, teaching, and observation at KU. International Support Services facilitates J-1 Exchange Visitor program sponsorship for international individuals coming to KU with official appointments such as visiting faculty, postdoctoral researchers, fellows, as well as other temporary academic appointments. 

The J-1 visa cannot be used for tenure-track appointments or other appointments that are "permanent" in nature. 

The KU hosting department should initiate the J-1 Scholar Application for a New Exchange Visitor on our iHawk website. There are three different types of J-1 scholars.

This J-1 Research Scholar exchange visitor category has a minimum stay requirement of three weeks, and a maximum permitted stay of five years.  This five-year stay begins with the start date on the DS-2019 form and this status remains available until the end of the five years or the date the J-1 program is concluded, whichever is earlier. 

Generally, the primary purpose of the research scholar exchange visitor is collaborative research with a KU faculty member. We allow limited employment on the research scholar exchange program. An example would be a Postdoctoral Researcher. Otherwise, the exchange visitor is employed or a student at another university and will be a visiting scholar at KU. The visiting scholar affiliate appointment is a non-paid appointment. 

At KU, the initial DS-2019 form will be issued for the duration of the official KU appointment and can be extended in concert with the underlying KU appointment being extended.  However, when the program at KU is completed, J-1 status is also completed unless the scholar transfers immediately to another J-1 sponsor in the U.S. 

Paid employment for J-1 research scholars is permitted only if it is included on the Form DS-2019.  In most cases it is not possible for a J-1 scholar to accept paid employment outside of KU however there are exceptions permitted for occasional lectures and short-term consultations that have the prior approval of International Programs. Such activities must be directly related to the program activities of the J-1 Scholar. 

Please review the 12- and 24-month bars section as well as the 2-year home residency requirement section for further details regarding restrictions on J participation and eligibility. 

This J-1 Professor exchange visitor category has a minimum stay requirement of three weeks, and a maximum permitted stay of five years.  This five-year stay begins with the start date on the DS-2019 form and this status remains available until the end of the five years or the date the J-1 program is concluded, whichever is earlier. 

A person does not have to have a Professor employment title to use this category. The purpose of this professor exchange visitor category is they will primarily teach classes at KU, while research is a secondary purpose. We commonly see Visiting Assistant Professor and Lecturer employment titles using this category. 

At KU, the initial DS-2019 form will be issued for the duration of the official KU appointment and can be extended in concert with the underlying KU appointment being extended.  However, when the program at KU is completed, J-1 status is also completed unless the scholar transfers immediately to another J-1 sponsor in the U.S. 

Paid employment for J-1 research scholars is permitted only if it is included on the Form DS-2019.  In most cases it is not possible for a J-1 scholar to accept paid employment outside of KU however there are exceptions permitted for occasional lectures and short-term consultations that have the prior approval of International Programs. Such activities must be directly related to the program activities of the J-1 Scholar. 

Please review the 12- and 24-month bars section as well as the 2-year home residency requirement section for further details regarding restrictions on J participation and eligibility. 

The J-1 Short-Term Scholar category can be used when the academic objective for the visit can be completed within six months or less.  It is not possible to extend beyond 6 months, so if the objective might take more than six months this category should not be considered.  This J category is often used for lectures, observations, consultations, or to participate in seminars, workshops, conferences or professional meetings. 

The J-1 Short-Term Scholar may return to the United States again for a short term stay providing there is a substantive break between, and each visit constitutes a new objective.  

This category is not subject to the 12 and 24 month bars. 

Eligibility Requirements

English Language Ability 

The host KU department must determine that the individual has the appropriate academic credentials, as well as English language proficiency to be successful in his or her program. The scholar will be able to submit documentation during the visa sponsorship process. If the short-term scholar does not have documentation, then they will be able to interview with the Applied English Center. That score report will be made available to the department so they can determine if the scholar’s English language ability is proficient. 

Minimum Funding Requirements 

Must provide evidence of financial support (either KU or outside KU) for all expenses, including financial support for all accompanying family members.  

The minimum estimated cost of attendance is solely used to determine costs for J programs, actual costs may be higher or lower. Current costs are based on financial aid estimated costs of attendance for graduate students who live off campus. Please expect at least a five percent increase in costs due to inflation. If all or part of costs will be covered by KU salary or stipend, it usually takes 6-8 weeks to receive this first paycheck. Please make sure that you have sufficient money to pay for large expenses like deposit for your apartment.

2022 – 2023 Required Funding:

  • Housing & Food $15,160
  • Personal $3,168
  • Health Insurance $2,831
  • Total Annual Costs: $21,159
  • Total Monthly Costs: $1,763

The dependent costs are based on 2023 Federal Poverty guidelines plus the cost for health insurance using the International Student/Scholar health insurance plan with United Healthcare.

  • Annual Dependent $7,971
  • Monthly add per dependent $664

The above minimum funding requirements are just that, a minimum. We recommend having funding of $2,000 per month and you will probably spend more than that your first month. You will need to pay a security deposit of at least the first month rent, though often times the security deposit is two months rent.

KU Appointment Requirement 

All scholars are required to hold a formal appointment at the University of Kansas, such as Visiting Faculty, Postdoctoral Researchers, Fellows, as well as other temporary academic appointments.  The J-1 visa cannot be used for tenure-track appointments. 

J-1 scholars must have in-person requirements due to the exchange visitor nature of this program. J-1 scholars cannot be designated as fully remote. If J-1 scholars are designated as hybrid, they can only telework a maximum of 2 days per week.

Health Insurance Requirement 

The exchange visitor and her/his accompanying family members must maintain health insurance that meets both the Kansas Board of Regents University of Kansas and U.S. Department of State requirements.  

J-1 Responsibilities

As a J-1 research scholar, professor, or short-term scholar there are numerous regulations that must be followed to maintain legal J status: 

  • Complete online check-in through your iHawk account

  • Attend New Scholar Orientation  with International Support Services after arrival in the United States. 

  • Maintain health insurance coverage throughout entire period of J status. Health insurance must meet U.S. Department of State requirements. 

  • Always maintain a valid passport. 

  • Maintain valid DS-2019 form, which accurately reflects your purpose for being at KU. If it is close to expiring, request an extension from host department. 

  • Obtain travel signature on DS-2019 prior to traveling outside the United States. You can request a travel signature by submitting the "Travel Signature Request" form in your iHawk account.

  • Report any life event that may affect immigration status such as birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce, or death. This rule also extends to J-2 dependents. 

  • Receive employment authorization prior to the start of any activity. 

  • Report any change of address through your iHawk account within 10 days. 

2-Year Home Residency Requirement 

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the J Exchange Visitor Program is the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement.  This rule which is put in place by the U.S. State Department (and in some circumstances in collaboration with foreign governments) requires that certain J Exchange Visitors return to their country of last legal residence for two years or obtain a waiver of this requirement before they are eligible for H-1B (temporary employment), L-1 (intra-company transfer), K (fiancee visa) or Permanent Residence (green card) status within the U.S. 

It is important to understand that not all J Exchange Visitors are subject to this requirement.  Additionally, those that are subject to this requirement are not prohibited from returning to the U.S. in immigration statuses other than H-1B, L-1, K, or PR.  For example, if you are subject to this rule and would like to return to the U.S. as a tourist or a student you are eligible to do so. 

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents (legal spouse and children under age 21) who meet at least one of the criteria below are subject to the 212(e): 

  • Home Government Funding: J Exchange Visitors who receive funding directly from their home country's government are subject to the 212(e) requirement. Regional government funding does not apply. 

  • U.S. Government Funding: J Exchange Visitors who receive funding directly from the U.S. government are "subject" to 212(e).  This does not include salary you receive from the University of Kansas that is received from federal grants, only direct U.S. government funds. However, there are some exceptions which include grants that are specifically targeted for international exchange. Fulbright funding is considered U.S. government funding. 

  • Funding from an International Organization or Bi-National Commission: J Exchange Visitors who receive funding from International Organizations or Bi-National Commissions (organizations that receive their funding from government sources), such as, United Nations, NATO, or the European Community. 

  • The Exchange Visitor Skills List: J Exchange Visitors whose area of specialization has been identified as being in short supply by his/her government of legal permanent residence is considered "subject" to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement. Here is the U.S. Department of State website with information. 

  • Graduate Medical Education and Training: All J Exchange Visitors who are foreign medical graduates who come to the U.S. to receive graduate medical education and/or training are subject to 212(e). 

If you are the J-2 dependent of a J-1 Exchange Visitor who is subject to the 212(e) requirement you are also subject to this requirement. Please note that J-2 dependents must rely on the J-1 to apply for a waiver of the 212(e) requirement. J-2s may not apply for the waiver separately from the J-1. 

There is often confusion about whether individuals are subject to 212(e).  Do not assume that your visa stamp or DS-2019 have been marked correctly by U.S. government agencies.  If any of the above statements are correct, you are subject, whether your documents are marked.  If you have confusion, we strongly encourage you to come to speak with an advisor in International Support Services.  We can assist you in the process of requesting an Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Department of State. 

The application process details are available on the Department of State website: Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement.

Important: it may be possible to waive this requirement, if you wish to do so, please make an appointment with an international advisor in International Support Services before you begin the waiver process. 

12- and 24-month bar 

These bars restrict starting a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor exchange visitor program.  The 24-month bar is different than the 2-year home residency requirement. 

12-Month Bar 

Time spent in the United States in any J status (including J-2) during the 12-months preceding the start date of the new professor or research scholar program may prohibit eligibility to begin the new program.  Exceptions to this bar are: 

  • Transfer between program sponsors does not trigger the bar. 

  • Less than 6 months in J status does not trigger the bar.  

  • Participation in a J Short-term scholar program does not trigger the bar. 

24-Month Bar 

Anyone who participates in a J-1 Professor or J-1 Research Scholar program will become subject to a 24-month bar on repeat participation in both Professor and Research Scholar categories.  This means that you can not begin a second Professor or Research scholar program for 24 months when you complete the first program. 

This 24-month bar applies under two circumstances: 

  1. If the Professor or Research Scholar completes a full five years with one or more sponsors. 

  1. If, before the full five-year period is over, the Professor or Research Scholar completes the program.  In this case the remaining unused time is no longer accessible and must wait 24 months before beginning a new program as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar 

The 24-month bar should not be confused with the two-year home residency requirement.  These are two completely different regulations. 

The two-year home residency requirement may apply to visitors in any J category.  The 24-month bar only applies to J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories or as a J-2 dependent of a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar. 

New Scholar Orientation and Check-In 

New Scholar Check-In  

Prior to your arrival in the United States please complete the New Scholar e-forms in iHawk.   These forms gather required information for our office that includes your residential address in Lawrence, emergency contact information, a responsibility statement and submitting copies of your immigration documents (Form DS-2019, visa, passport, I-94 record) as well as health insurance information.  Please try to submit as much as possible before your arrival. 

We recommend you print your I-94 record because you may need it for other purposes. 


New Scholar Orientation 

Register for New Scholar Orientation in your  iHawk account

Every J-1 scholar must attend a mandatory scholar orientation meeting. In these meetings you will be able to meet other scholars, as well as learn about your immigration status, your responsibilities in the United States, American culture, health care, appointment benefits at KU, how to apply for a social security number, how to get a State of Kansas driver's license, and activities on campus and in the surrounding area.  This meeting generally takes about 1.5 hours.  If your family is here with you, they are welcome to attend. 

Free Applied English Center course 

The one free Applied English Center course enrollment request for Visiting Scholars must be submitted 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. If you cannot meet this deadline, please consider a later semester. 

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • You must be a J-1 Visiting Scholar at the University of Kansas. KU employees may apply to use the Tuition Assistance program. 

  • You have never previously taken a course at the Applied English Center at the University of Kansas. 

  • You must have taken the AEC placement exam immediately prior to the semester of enrollment. 

  • Login to your iHawk account. 

  • Click on J-1 Scholar Services 

  • Click on Free Applied English Center course 

  • Complete the form 

  • The form will be sent to your faculty supervisor and then to International Support Services and the Applied English Center for final approval. 

  • I understand that I must take a placement exam prior to enrollment, which the Applied English Center will use to determine my participation in an Applied English Center course. 

  • I understand and agree to abide by the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities at the University of Kansas. 

  • I understand that Applied English Center courses meet four times per week, and I am expected to attend every class throughout the semester and follow all AEC Class Rules. 

  • I understand that as a participant in this class I am not an "auditor" and I must attend class regularly and take responsibility for all homework, assignments, participation, tests, etc.  I will abide by all rules set forth in the syllabus. Failure to comply will result in withdrawal of my enrollment at the Applied English Center. 

  • I understand that a spot in a class is not guaranteed; nor can the AEC guarantee a spot in the class of my choosing. 

  • I understand that one course at the Applied English Center will be free, any further course enrollment will require me to go through the Applied English Center admission process and I will be charged full tuition and fees. 

  • I understand that I cannot be enrolled in classes until after admitted students have all been enrolled in AEC courses--typically the end of the second week of the semester. 

  • I understand that if I pass the placement exam, I cannot enroll in an AEC class. 

J-2 Dependents 

As a J-1, you are eligible to bring your spouse or unmarried minor child in J-2 dependent status, or they can accompany you at a later date.  A minor child is under the age of 21.  J-2 dependents have the following benefits at KU: 

  • May enter the United States along with or after the J-1, but not before. 

  • May be employed with approval from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services by applying for and receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  

  • May study at a University in the U.S. 

  • May apply and be admitted into a degree program at KU. 


Inviting a J-2 dependent 

If you would like to invite your spouse or unmarried child after arriving at KU, please log into iHawk to submit a "J-1 Scholar Add Dependent(s)" request form.  You will need the following: 

  • Proof of financial support - the current funding levels for J-1 scholars is $1,000.00 per month for the duration of program, plus $350.00 per month per dependent.  If your current funding levels surpass this requirement than additional funding will not be necessary. 

  • Dependent(s) passport photo page. 

  • Make sure you have supporting documentation. 

  • Log into iHawk and complete the "J-1 Scholar Add Dependent" e-form for each dependent.  It can be found under J-1 Scholar Services. 

  • Submit request and supporting documentation through e-form. 

  • Upon approval, you will receive an email notification to pick up the new DS-2019 form. 

J-2 Work Authorization 

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for a work permit during the J-1’s stay.  Be aware that a J-2 dependent cannot apply for work permission until they are physically present in the United States.  Furthermore, they cannot begin work until they possess the Employment Authorization Document from U.S. Custom and Immigration Services. Typical processing time for the Employment Authorization Document is about 90 days, but it can take longer, so please plan accordingly. 

  • Application Fee of $550 payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security." Please check USCIS website in case of fee changes.  

  • Completed Form I-765, Application for Employment - please note the answer to question 16 should be (c) (5). 

  • 2 full frontal/passport photographs 

  • print your name and I-94 number in pencil on the back of the photo 

  • do NOT put a staple through the photo 

  • do NOT trim the photo 

  • Brief letter explaining circumstances requiring employment with any supporting evidence showing employment is not necessary to support J-1 but is for other purposes. Sample(pdf) 

  • Copy of J-2's I-94 record 

  • Copy of J-2's visa stamp 

  • Copy of J-2's passport biographical page 

  • Copy of expiration date page in passport if not included in biographical page 

  • Copy of J-2's DS-2019 Form 

  • Copy of J-1's passport, I-94 record, DS-2019 and visa. 

  • Send completed packet to USCIS.  Look up address on USCIS website for up-to-date address information 

As always, it is also recommended that you retain copies of all documents sent to and received from the USCIS. Mail the application in a traceable manner. 

Health Insurance Requirements 

By U.S. federal law, all J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required to have insurance coverage throughout the duration of their J program.  Any exchange visitor that willfully fails to maintain health insurance as prescribed below shall be subject to termination as a participant.

J-1 participants who are Visiting Scholars must purchase the Kansas Board of Regents policy through United Healthcare.

J-1 participants who are employees should purchase the State Employee Health Plan, plan C coverage.

You must sign up within 30 days of your employment start date. Please work with the Benefits Office at KU. They can help you with the online application in the member access portal in your KU account. 

Choosing Plan J 

The University of Kansas has several different health insurance policies to choose from. However, Plan J is designed to meet the deductible requirement of the J visa health insurance requirements. The other plans have a larger deductible so they will not comply with your requirements. If you do not choose plan J, then you will have to buy other health insurance. 

Please note that Plan J does not have a medical evacuation or repatriation built into the plan. You will need to purchase an insurance policy rider that covers those two aspects. Other employees in this situation have purchased BETINS medical evacuation and repatriation in addition to plan J. 

There will be a slight gap in between the start date of your DS-2019 form and when your KU employee health insurance benefits begin. You will need to purchase temporary health insurance to cover the gap. This temporary health insurance must comply with the J visa health insurance requirements. 

Benefits Office website 

BETINS medical evacuation and repatriation 

The University of Kansas has negotiated a policy for J students and visiting scholars with a health insurance company called United Healthcare. This policy is very similar to the policy that KU employees have through the state of Kansas.

Submit Enrollment Form

United Healthcare Rates

If you would like to try to use a different health insurance policy you may submit a waiver request to ECI services.

Outside KU Lecture/Consultation

J-1 professor and J-1 research scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations, if authorized to do so by ISS prior to starting the activity. The following criteria must be satisfied:

  • The occasional lectures or short-term consultation must:
    • Be directly related to the objectives of the J-1 exchange visitor's program;
    • Be incidental to the exchange visitor's primary program activities;
    • Not delay the completion date of the visitor's program; and
    • Be documented in SEVIS.

Employment opportunities

Work authorization is limited for J-1 scholars.  Very often the only type of work authorization that can be approved is when your hosting department wants to hire you to perform your specific program activities (research/teaching). If you have an opportunity for employment, please contact International Support Services immediately.  Work authorization must be preapproved.  International Support Services will write a formal authorization letter and add this information to your SEVIS record.

Academic Honorarium

Sometimes a department or another university wishes to pay a J-1 scholar an academic honorarium. For example you could give a one-time talk or presentation and the institution wishes to compensate you for the activity. This is considered remuneration and needs to be pre-approved by International Support Services. International Support Services will write a formal authorization letter.

Reimbursement of travel expenses

If a conference, seminar, workshop or any organization wishes to reimburse you for travel expenses please contact International Support Services before you accept. This type of reimbursement of expenses isn’t usually considered remuneration, however, it can be complicated.  Please contact International Support Services and we can write an authorization letter so that there is no confusion about you accepting the reimbursement. Sometimes the conference or institution will require an authorization letter to release funds.

Other funding scenarios

If you have a different funding opportunity, please contact International Support Services.  We will determine what, if any, written authorization needs to happen before you accept the funding while you are a J-1 scholar.

Documentation for authorization letter

  • Letter from faculty advisor or department head recommending the activity and explaining how the activity will enhance the scholar’s J-1 program.
  • Letter from the institution/conference with terms and conditions, including street address of where the activity will take place, the duration of the activity, field or subject, amount of compensation (if any), and description of the activity.

J-1 Extension

If the department wishes to extend the stay of a visiting scholar, they may request an extension of the visiting scholar’s J-1 status.  The KU department request to extend must be submitted through iHawk. The following conditions must be met before an extension can be approved.

  • The program must not extend beyond the maximum duration (6 months to 5 years depending on the J scholar category).
  • The program activity (research activity or teaching activity) will not change.
  • Scholar must provide proof of additional financial support covering the full extension time period.
  • Scholar must provide proof of health insurance coverage for extension time period.

Travel Outside the United States

If you need to exit the United States and return to the University of Kansas to continue your J-1 exchange visitor program, then you will need a travel signature on your DS-2019 form. Please first submit a travel signature request within your iHawk account. Your KU faculty host will confirm they know your travel plans and that you have been performing your J-1 research/teaching activities at KU. Once they complete this form, please bring your DS-2019 form into International Support Services. You will be able to pick up the DS-2019 form within 2 business days.

Leaving the University of Kansas

Please talk with your KU department about any procedure they may have to finish your J-1 program. You may need to return keys to offices or other practical steps. You will lose access to KU email and other technology support with the end of your appointment.

Finish Program Early

If you will finish your J-1 program more than 30 days before the end date of your DS-2019 form, please submit a "Finish J-1 program" eform in your iHawk account so that ISS can issue a new DS-2019 form with the updated information.

Transfer SEVIS to Another University

If you wish to transfer your J-1 program to another university, it must happen before the end date of your current DS-2019 form. Please make an appointment to talk with an international advisor in ISS. The advisor will need an invitation letter/offer letter from the new university.


Accessibility Statement

An accessible version of the documents on this site will be made available upon request. Please contact the International Support Services , at iss@ku.edu to request the document be made available in an accessible format.