J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs in the United States. Since its establishment as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (The Fulbright-Hays Act), the program has served as a valuable and important diplomatic tool of U.S. foreign policy. Its mission – to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries – remains vital to U.S. national security and building people-to-people connections around the world. Exchange Visitors are expected to participate actively in cross-cultural activities with Americans and ultimately to return home and share their experiences and increased knowledge of the United States and their substantive fields in their home country. If you have any questions, please contact one of CSU's J-1 program officers:

CK Kwai Responsible Officer
Julie Good Alternate Responsible Officer
Hyunsoo Jang Alternate Responsible Officer 

Hosting J-1 Exchange Visitors 

J-1 Exchange Visitors may be hosted at CSU via our designated J-1 Program, a part of BridgeUSA administrated by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Private Sector Exchange within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  J-1 Exchange Visitors are short-term affiliates, students, or employees who can teach, lecture, study, observe, conduct research, consult, train or demonstrate special skills dependent upon the category, their academic background, and their source of funding. Program lengths may vary from a few days up to 5 years or more (in the case of J-1 doctoral students).

Professor Primarily teaching, lecturing, observing; may conduct research (non-tenure track position) 3 weeks to 5 years English skills sufficient to fulfill program objectives and successfully navigate day-to-day activities; Bachelors degree 
Research Scholar Primarily conducting research or collaborating on a project; may also teach or lecture (includes most Post-Doc employees) 3 weeks to 5 years  English skills sufficient to fulfill program objectives and successfully navigate day-to-day activities; Bachelors degree 
Short-Term Scholar Someone with a background similar to a professor/research scholar planning only a short visit for lecturing, observing, training, etc. 1 day to 6 months- no extension English skills sufficient to fulfill program objectives and successfully navigate day-to-day activities; Bachelors degree  
Specialist  Expert in their field coming to observe, consult or demonstrate a special skill 3 weeks to 1 year - no extension English skills sufficient to fulfill program objectives and successfully navigate day-to-day activities; Bachelors degree
Student (Non-Degree, Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral) Enrolling in a degree-seeking program (or non-degree if an exchange student pursuant to an existent international MOU) for full-time study Duration of course of study  Academic background commensurate to degree level, may not be funded primarily by personal/family funds

To learn more about CSU's authorized J-1 Program categories please click here.

Before agreeing to host an Exchange Visitor in J-1 status, an academic department and/or sponsoring faculty/staff shall:

  • confirm the necessary campus resources and staffing are in place to successfully host e.g. office space, use of a computer/other technology, supportive group of colleagues, assistance with arrival and integration issues, one main sponsor/supervisor who will provide mentorship and guidance, expressed signed approval of department chair and college dean, etc. 
  • understand what is required of J-1 Exchange Visitors to maintain their immigration status
  • gather the required supporting documentation to initiate a J-1 Sponsorship request; this will vary depending on type
  • consider the suitability of the prospective Exchange Visitor for the role; review the expanded eligibility requirements below
  • contact the CISP with any questions or concerns before initializing a J-1 Sponsorship Request via the Scholar Portal
  • once the exchange visitor arrives and begins their program, sponsoring professors/departments agree to:
    • notify the CISP if ever the exchange visitor ceases to be actively engaged in their program objective and/or leaves the USA early
    • notify the CISP within 24 hours of any incident (health, safety or welfare) involving the exchange visitor as per reporting requirements found in the US code of federal regulations
  • allow time for the Exchange Visitor to participate in their mandatory J-1 Orientation in the CISP. A J-1 orientation is required by federal regulations. Most J-1 orientations should not last more than 1 hour. This is separate and unrelated to your department and/or Human Resources' new employee orientations. 
  • verify that the prospective activity is permissible, if it will involve physical contact between the exchange visitor and human partiicpants and/or animal subjects. See the 8 points in the guidance directive, 2024-01 Permissible contact with human participants and/or animal subjects in academic training, research, classroom-based, teaching, laboratory work, and other supervised learning environments. 

A J-1 sponsorship request should be initiated by a department administrator or the supervising CSU faculty/staff after gathering the required supporting documents and vetting the prospective exchange visitor (N.B. If a letter of appointment (LOA) has been generated to hire a post-doctoral fellow who is citizen of another country, please refer to this page). 

  • Resume/CV
  • Bank statements/salary or scholarship letters
  • Research proposal
  • Passport ID page
  • Invitation letter from sponsoring department or college 
  • Documented approval of EV sponsorship request from academic department chair and Dean 
  1. Qualifications of the Exchange Visitor Does the person qualify for the desired category? Obtain a copy of the individual's CV or resume showing they have the experience and education to fulfill their intended program objectives. 
  2. English Language Skills and Capabilities
    How have you assessed the English language capabilities of this person? In the Sponsorship Request form the CSU sponsor must to attest to having interviewed the prospective Exchange Visitor and found their English skills to be sufficient to fulfill their J-1 program objectives AND successfully navigate day-to-day life in Cleveland. Alternatively, request a copy of recent test results from an English language skills exam. Possessing sufficient English skills is a cornerstone of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. 

  3. Financial Support 
    Does the person have enough money to live here? Each J-1 Exchange Visitor must be able to show that they have a minimum of $2,300 per month to support themselves during their Program ($27,600 annually) at Cleveland State. This can be shown by bank statements, letters of support of the visitor's government, company or home/host institution. If the Exchange Visitor will be accompanied by any J-2 dependents an additional $450 per month per dependent is required ($5,400 annually per dependent). Note: Figures updated as of April 15, 2022 and are based on living expenses per CSU's Office of Financial Aid cost-of-attendance estimates. Gather this financial documentation.  For Post-Doctoral hires, this can be the offer letter, LOI, or LOA. 
  4. Cohesive Plan
    Does the person have a research plan that is feasible within the proposed time frame and appealing to you and your department? Collect a 1-2 page research proposal. Note: Not required for Post-Doctoral hires who will be employed full-time at CSU. 
  5. Previous J-1 status 
    Has the prospective Exchange Visitor ever been in J-1 status? Gather copies of their previous Form DS-2019. There may be mandatory wait times between J-1 programs. See 2 Year Home Residency Requirement and the 12 and 24 month bar on repeat participation.  
  6. Travel Document 
    Does the prospective Exchange Visitor have a valid passport? Ask for a copy of the ID page of their passport as well as copies of any dependents' passports who are planning to travel to USA in J-2 status.
  7. Insurance 
    Does the prospective Exchange Visitor agree to purchase health insurance that meets federal regulations? All EV are REQUIRED to carry medical and accident insurance for themselves and any dependents in J-visa status for the duration of their program (from start to end date0. CSU's Student and Scholar insurance plan is available for purchase by Exchange Visitors. It's administrated out of Health and Wellness Services. Other exchange visitor insurance plans can be easily found through web searches and are usually at a lower cost.  Note:  J-1 employees of CSU (Post-Docs) are not eligible to enroll in the CSU Student and Scholar plan. In addition to their employee health insurance, J-1 Post-Doc employees must purchase a standalone evacuation and repatriation insurance (evac & repat) in order to comply with J-1 federal regulations for insurance. 
    (a) Minimum Coverage - Insurance shall cover:
    1. (1) medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness;
    2. (2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; and
    3. (3) expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000.

    (b) Additional Terms - A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness, and must meet other standards specified in the regulations.

    (c) Maintenance of Insurance - Willful failure on the part of the Exchange Visitor to maintain the required insurance will result in the termination of the exchange program.

  8. Invitation or Letter of Appointment 
    Does your department have the resources to host an Exchange Visitor? Please write a letter of invitation on departmental letterhead outlining the services and guidance that your department will provide (office, desk, computer, stipend, invitation to weekly meetings, etc) as well as what you expect from the prospective Exchange Visitor (full financial support, etc.). Include an Exchange Visitor Program start and date (required). Note: For Post-Doctoral hires, this can be the LOI or LOA. 
  9. Signed approval of Chair and Dean for the hosting the prospective Exchange VisitorPDF icon EV Approval Signature Page
    Note: For Post-Doctoral hires, this can be the LOI or LOA.

How to Initiate a J-1 sponsorship request

Academic departments or supervising professors may initiate a J-1 sponsorship request via the CISP Scholar Portal. The Responsible Officer (RO) or an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) will review and approve the request and then issue and mail a Form DS-2019 needed by the prospective Exchange Visitor to apply for their J-1 visa. Please allow at least two weeks. If you have any questions, please contact the RO or an ARO in the Center for International Services and Programs. 

Before submitting a sponsorship request please review and gather the supporting documents for upload. 

J-1 FeeS Amount Paid By Paid to Method
SEVIS Fee I-901 $220 Prospective Visiting Scholar US Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) Online by credit card
Visa application (Form DS-160) fee $160 Prospective Visiting Scholar US Embassy or Consulate  Usually through a designated bank in the home country- see Embassy website
Mailing of original Form DS-2019 to prospective Scholar varies CSU hosting department CISP Journal entry to the CISP to cover the actual shipping cost of the document