International Student and Scholar Services

J-1 Exchange Visitors - Scholars

 

Forms for Initiating or Extending a Research Scholar or Professor

Forms for Inviting a Visiting Student

These forms should be used solely for individuals who are students enrolled in an academic degree program abroad and are coming to campus solely to conduct research. These forms should not be used for students who have been accepted to at a degree program at UMSL or will be enrolled in classes here.

 

Forms for Transferring a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

Work authorization information for J-2 dependents (PDF)

For PDF files, you may need to download Adobe Reader at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html

 

General Information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor program

What is a "visiting foreign scholar?"
What is the procedure for bringing a visiting foreign scholar to UMSL?
What is a J-1 visa?
What is a "DS-2019?"
What is the two-year, home-country physical presence requirement?
Can a visiting scholar come with a visitor's visa?
Can a visiting scholar be paid?
Who takes care of a visiting scholar's health insurance?
How long can a visiting scholar stay here?
Who helps visiting scholars find housing?
What does the ISSS do for visiting foreign scholars?

What is a "visiting foreign scholar?"
A visiting foreign scholar is a person who comes to the university temporarily, mainly to teach, do research, or both. The broad term "visiting foreign scholar" encompasses, for example, Fulbright scholars who come to teach, post doctoral research fellows, and visiting professors. Some foreign scholars are at the university for only a few days; others remain for three years. Visiting foreign scholars come to the University for academic enterprises, not for non-academic employment.

Visiting foreign scholars normally hold a visa known as a J-1 or exchange-visitor visa. Some people who acquire J-1 status are subject to what is known as the two-year, home-country physical presence requirement.

Dependents (that is, spouses and children below the age of 21) of people in J-1 status are in a status called J-2.

Visiting foreign scholars sometimes become admitted to the university and take classes, but that is not the main purpose of their stay.

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What is the procedure for bringing a visiting foreign scholar to UMSL?
To come to UMSL as a visiting foreign scholar, a person in another country must first obtain a passport from his or her own government.

Second, the prospective scholar must obtain a "visa" from the United States embassy or a United States consulate in his or her own country. (Citizens and permanent residents of Canada need neither a passport nor a visa to enter the United States.) To obtain a J-1 visa from an American embassy or consular post abroad, the prospective scholar must have a Form DS-2019 from UMSL.

Once an academic department has made a decision to invite a visiting foreign scholar, the department must submit to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) international scholar application materials. Departments have different approaches for deciding whether to invite a visiting foreign scholar. In most cases, a particular faculty member has an affiliation with a particular scholar who is to be invited. The application requires a signature from the particular UMSL faculty or staff member with whom the visiting scholar will be working, and also from the department chair. The following application documents should be reviewed, completed and submitted to ISSS in 261 MSC:

Please note: if the incoming scholar will be accompanied by dependents who are not United States citizens, the scholar should provide this information in the appropriate section on Form B.

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What is a J-1 visa?
A visa is a stamp in a person's passport, required (except in the case of Canadians) for people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents to enter the United States. The J-1 visa is intended for, among others, scholars who want to come to the US temporarily to teach in a college or university, do research, or both.

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What is a"DS-2019?"
A DS-2019 is a U.S. government form that a person in another country uses to apply for a J-1 visa to come to the United States as a visiting scholar. The UMSL's Office of International Student and Scholar Services issues DS-2019s on behalf of the university. The ISSS issues DS-2019s on the basis of international scholar application forms submitted by UMSL departments.

When a DS-2019 has been prepared, ISSS either sends it directly to the incoming scholar, along with related information, or, if the department the scholar will enter has requested it, sends the completed form and related information to the department so the department can express mail it to the incoming scholar.

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What is the two-year, home-country physical presence requirement?
The two-year, home-country physical presence requirement (for shorthand purposes usually called "212(e)," for the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act in which it appears) prevents those who are subject to it from (1) acquiring permanent resident status, (2) acquiring H-1B temporary worker status, (3) acquiring L (intracompany transferee) status, or (4) changing to any other nonimmigrant status except that of a diplomat or international organization employee until they have either returned to their country of citizenship or permanent residence and remained there for at least two years or have received a waiver of the requirement.

Notice that 212(e) does not pertain to people who want to leave the United States for a short period of time, acquire a different type of nonimmigrant visa (except an H-1B), abroad, and re-enter.

Sec. 212(e) applies to people who are in J-1 status and who are in at least of the following sets of circumstances:

The Department of State has information regarding seeking a waiver.

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Can a visiting scholar come with a visitor's visa?
Yes, and a late-1998 change in the law makes this possibility more workable than it previously was. A visiting scholar can come with what is called a B-1 "visitor for business" visa. Under certain limitations, a person in B-1 status is permitted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regulations to be reimbursed for expenses, and, under the amended law, can be paid an honorarium in any amount.

Visiting scholars who are going to meet all of their own expenses can also come in B-1 status.

Acquiring a B-1 visa does not entail any formal immigration document from the University. To obtain a B-1 visa, a prospective scholar ought to have an invitation letter from the department with which the scholar will be affiliated, detailing the dates and activities of the contemplated visit, and stating what if anything is to be provided in the way of reimbursements and honoraria.

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Can a visiting scholar be paid?
Yes, if the scholar is in J-1 status. Scholars in J-1 status can be paid by an academic department for whatever work they do in that department. The income is taxable, unless the scholar comes from a country with which the United States has a tax treaty that exempts the scholar's pay from income taxation.

It is also possible for visiting scholars in J-1 status to receive honoraria for lectures or consultations carried out elsewhere than the University, as long as they go through the appropriate procedures. For information about those procedures, contact an adviser in ISSS.

Scholars in J-1 status are not permitted to work outside the department with which they are affiliated, or even in areas within that department not directly related to the purpose for which they came to the University.

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Who takes care of a visiting scholar's health insurance?
Regulations from the United States Department of State require people in J-1 ( and their dependents in J-2) status to have health insurance. Scholars not on the UMSL payroll need to provide for their own insurance. Such individuals are eligible for the insurance plan the UMSL makes available to international students.

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How long can a visiting scholar stay here?
In the normal case, a visiting scholar in J-1 status can remain in the United States for a maximum of five years.

In extremely unusual circumstances and only if certain time-consuming procedures have been started well in advance, the U.S. Department of State, which administers the J-1 or "Exchange Visitor Program," can authorize an extension of more than six months. Contact ISSS for details.

If a J-1 scholar's initial permission to remain in the United States is valid for less than five years (as it will be if the scholar application materials indicate a shorter period than five years), then an "extension of stay" for any period up to the three-year limit can be granted. This procedure requires the department to send the ISSS a completed Form for J-1 Extension of Stay.

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Who helps visiting scholars find housing?
Generally, the department with which a scholar is to be affiliated will help the scholar find housing. Sometimes, the nationality organization representing the scholar's country will help. Please note that ISSS does not have adequate staff to help visiting foreign scholars find a place to live.

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What does ISSS do for visiting foreign scholars?
ISSS prepares the Form DS-2019 a visiting scholar needs to acquire a J-1 visa. Along with the DS-2019, the ISSS sends a "pre-arrival letter" with information about traveling to St. Louis, what the weather in Missouri is like, costs of housing, and other such logistical information. If the scholar is coming with dependents, the ISSS also includes a letter authorizing those dependents to be issued J-2 visas.

Once a visiting scholar arrives in St. Louis, he or she should make an appointment to "check-in" with an ISSS staff member. Checking in involves giving the ISSS the opportunity to take some information from the scholar's immigration documents to be included in the scholar's records in the ISSS. In addition, the scholar receives several pieces of printed information, including a copy of the Handbook for Foreign Students and Scholars, maps of the campus, a visitor´s guide to St. Louis, and others.

Scholars checking in at the ISSS receive instructions concerning social security numbers, staff identification documents, and taxes.

In addition, the ISSS tries to answer whatever questions the new scholar might have.

After their arrival here, many visiting scholars contact the ISSS if they need additional information about their immigration situation, compatriots in St. Louis, or other matters.

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