The J Exchange Visitor Program was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. The overall purpose is to increase the mutual understanding between countries though educational and cultural exchanges.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is currently authorized to host J Exchange Visitors in the following categories:
Relatively Quick to Obtain The J visa does not require any processing by the Department of labor and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, prior to issuance, unlike the H-1B, which is the primary status used by UW-Whitewater for foreign nationals to work on campus. The J scholar needs to pay the SEVIS fee and present the fee receipt, the form DS-2019, and a valid passport to a U.S. consular officer. Canadians do not need a visa but must pay the SEVIs fee and present the DS-2019 form at the port of entry.
Processing of Routine Immigration Requests Routine procedures such as extensions and transfers of programs are done on campus. Our use of this authority is carefully scrutinized by the Department of State (DOS), and the campus-based Responsible Officer is required to report regularly to the agency. However, the Center for Global Education can grand an extension or transfer and simply notify the government of the action.
Payment Support Options Although the J-1 visa is not an employment visa, the J-1 scholar's program may include employment, It provides a rage of other options for payment, which may be in the form of: Stipend, per diem, honorarium or reimbursement for living and/or traveling expenses. Under certain conditions, the V visa may be an option for individuals who will only be receiving travel reimbursement and/or an honorarium.
Dependent Benefits J-2 dependents (spouses and/or children under the age of 21) are eligible to apply for and may be granted work permission through USCIS. Potentially, a J-2 dependent is able to have work permission during the entirety fo the J-1's program. The work permission can only be applied for once the J-2 is I the U.S. and it takes a minimum of three months for USCIS to approve the request. J-2 employment must be fore the support and/or professional development or special interest of the J-2 dependent, not for the J-1 scholar's support.
No Change in Purpose J-1 Exchange visitors are admitted to the U.S. to carry out a specified program or project. When the project or program has been completed, the Exchange Visitors are expected to return home to share their experience with their colleagues. The Exchange visitor is unable to change the primary objective, as listed on the dS-2019 form, while in the U.S. for example, it is not possible to change from research scholar to student, nor form chemistry to history. A change to a different host department or lab is possible only if there would be no change in the initial objective. Under restricted circumstances, it is possible for an Exchange visitor to transfer to another university or location.
Minimum Educational Attainment The equivalent of an earned U.S. bachelor's degree is needed for the J-1 scholar program. UW-Whitewater requires that a J-Scholar should have the same combination of academic credentials and experiences as would be required of a U.S. individual to hold the same appointment title, such as visiting researcher, professor, etc.
Five Year Limit The project or program needs to be "achievable" within the five year time limit fo the J-1 research scholar/professor categories. (There is a separate category, the "Short Term Scholar," which as a limit of 6 months).
Non-Immigrant Intent Like many nonimmigrant visas, the J-1 visa requires applicants to prove to the consular officer that they plan to return to their home country upon completion of the program before the visa will be issued. Many Exchange Visitors are subject to the two ear home residence requirement (HRR), which means that they must return to their home country for two years before being eligible for H-1B or permanent resident status. The HRR is based on the home country's skills list, U.S. or home government. A waiver of the requirement may be difficult to obtain, particularly in cases of US government funding.
Not an Employment Visa The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries by means of education and cultural exchanges." Some Exchange Visitors are employees of UW-Whitewater, but the primary activity is gaining or imparting specialized skills.
The "24-Month Bar": Effective November 18, 2006 It is no longer possible for a person to come to the U.S. as a research scholar or professor if at any time in the previous 24 months s/he has held either a J-1 or J-2 status EXCEPT if the previous visit was under the "Short-term scholar" category. If the excepti on does not apply, then the person will only be able to begin the second J-1 program after 24 full months have elapsed form the previous program.
"Avoid If..." When Not to Use the J-Visa Program The person is not planning to leave the U.S. after the completion of the project. The department wishes to employ the scholar for more than 5 years. The host faculty member is not planning on or interested in establishing a collaborative and/or collegial relationship with the intending scholar. The faculty member is uncomfortable with the interactions with the potential visiting scholar. The Center for Global Education may be able to help you to understand some of the cross-cultural cues and miscues. However, if mutual understanding and comfort is not secured in the negotiation stage, it frequently is not achieved once the visitor is here.