Current: J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Researcher looking at a test tube

The J-1 is a cultural exchange visa that enables foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

Maintaining Legal Status

Exchange visitors on a J-1 visa are required by immigration law and regulations to maintain their legal status in the United States at all times. To meet the requirement, internationals must:

  • Keep their passport valid at all times. Information on how to renew the passport is available on your local embassy's website. Additional information can be found on the Online Resources page.
  • An exchange visitor scholar must engage in the activity described on his/her DS-2019 form.
  • Extensions of Stay must be applied for at least 30 days before the expiration date on the DS-2019.
  • Off-campus employment must be approved by the International Office.



Student employment is permitted only if it is an integral part of the program for which the exchange visitor came to the U.S. (such as financial support received as a visiting instructor or research fellow), or is in the student's field of study and will not unduly delay his/her degree (such as a graduate assistantship). Permission for all employment must be obtained from the International Office.

Research Scholar, Professor, or Specialist

Required to be employed and to conduct their exchange activities at the location(s) listed on their Forms DS-2019. Paid employment for J-1 scholars is permitted only if it is an integral part of the exchange program. In most cases, it is not possible for a J-1 visa holder to accept paid employment outside of UCHC without prior authorization. Research being conducted should remain in the same area as described on the DS-2019 throughout the duration of J-1 status.


Intern work must follow the guidelines and objectives laid out in the DS-7002 training plan.

Extension of Stay

Research Scholar, Professor, or Specialist

  • The International Office will reach out to the scholar and sponsoring faculty approximately 3 months prior to the scholar’s expiration on his/her DS-2019. Extensions will be granted only if approved by the sponsoring department, for a maximum of 5 years in total. Proper documentation is required by the J-1 scholar and the department.

Short-Term Scholars

  • The maximum stay is 6 months with no possible extension.


  • Interns are permitted to stay for a maximum of one year.


  • Degree-seeking students are permitted to stay as long as they are working towards a degree or certificate, following the plan of study as defined by the program description.
  • Non-degree seeking students are limited to a maximum of 24 months.


If sufficient financial support is documented, UConn Health may sponsor the spouse and/or children (unmarried and under 21 years old) to accompany the visitor. Dependents are classified as J-2. The International Office must certify that sufficient funds are available to support the spouse and/or children for at least their first year in the U.S.

Employment of the dependent is permitted only if USCIS approves his/her application to work, and if the work is necessary for the support of the dependent only, not the J-1. J-2 dependents may enroll as students for full or part-time study. Please see here for more information on J-2 Employment.

Academic Training

After obtaining a degree, a J-1 student may need a period of practical work experience in the field of study. Upon recommendation of the faculty advisor and with the approval of the program sponsor, such training may be granted for a maximum period of 18 to 36 months, depending upon the program. Consult with the International Office concerning eligibility and application procedures.

Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement

Some Exchange Visitors are subject to a two-year home residency requirement if any of the following applies:

  1. Government Funding: The program is financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor's nationality or last residence.
  2. Graduate Medical Education/Training: The exchange visitor entered the U.S. to receive graduate medical education or training.
  3. Skills List: If the exchange visitor’s specialized field and country of citizenship (or permanent residency) is on the Skills list. Please review here: (

12 and 24 Month Bars

This is different from the 2-year home residence requirement.

The 12 and 24 month rule affects J-1 exchange visitors who have been in the U.S. on a J-1 visa previously, and wish to return on the J-1 visa. The bars affect Research Scholar and Professor categories only. Depending on the previous J category, you may be subject to a 12 month bar, a 24 month bar or no bar.

Please use the following chart to determine if you may be subject to a bar. (If you have never before had J-1 visa sponsorship, then the bars do not apply to you).

LESS Than 6 Months

If you’ve had this visa category… Bar for new J-1 Research/Professor visa
J-1 Student (non-degree) NONE
J-1 Student NONE
J-1 Research Scholar/Professor (any amount of time) 24 months
J-1 Short-Term Scholar NONE
J-1 Specialist NONE

More than 6 Months

If you’ve had this visa category… Bar for new J-1 Research/Professor visa
J-1 Student (non-degree) 12 Months
J-1 Student 12 Months
J-1 Research Scholar/Professor (any amount of time) 24 Months
J-2 Dependent of Scholar/Professor 24 Months
J-1 Specialist 12 Months
J-2 Dependent of any J-1 category except Short-Term scholar 12 months

Additional Information

For information on international travel as a J-1 student, please see our Travel section.