J-1 Visiting Scholar
UNCW (through the Office of International Programs) may sponsor visiting professors and research scholars as part of the Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program. The Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program was created to foster the exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts. The exchange of professors and research scholars promotes interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries.
Which J-1 categories may UNCW use?
- Professor* - a professor is an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research. Professors may give occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to their primary activities. If such activities will involve wages or other remuneration, the scholar must obtain written authorization in advance from the Office of International Programs (OIP). Minimum stay of three weeks required. Maximum stay of five years.
- Research Scholar* - a research scholar is an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project. The research scholar may also teach or lecture. Research Scholars may give occasional lectures and short-term consultations incidental to their primary activities. If such activities will involve wages or other remuneration, the scholar must obtain written authorization in advance from the Office of International Programs (OIP). Minimum stay of three weeks required. Maximum stay of five years.
- Short-Term Scholar - a short-term scholar is an individual coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills. There is no minimum stay required; maximum stay of six months.
*Immigration regulations prohibit foreign nationals from engaging in repeat participation in the J-1 professor/research scholar exchange program category for a period of two years immediately following the completion of the J-1 professor/research scholar program. This means that once the J-1 professor/research scholar enters the US using a J-1 professor/research scholar DS-2019, he/she is automatically subject to this bar. He or she is then ineligible to re-enter the US as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a two-year period.
What is the procedure to host a J-1 scholar?
To invite a J-1 scholar to UNCW, hosting departments must submit the following materials to the Office of International Programs:
- The appropriate J-1 Request Form: either J-1 “Short-Term Scholar” DS-2019 Request Form or J-1 “Professor or Research Scholar” DS-2019 Request Form
- A letter of invitation from the department that states the: (1) objectives of the visit; (2) dates of visit; (3) site of visit; (4) name and title of UNCW faculty who will oversee/supervise the visit; and, (5) terms of financial arrangement, if any
- Proof of English proficiency
- Proof of financial support
- Proof of medical insurance coverage
- J-1’s curriculum vitae
- If J-2 dependents will accompany the EV: proof of financial support, proof of insurance coverage and biographical data for each dependent.
Once all required materials are received, the Office of International Programs will issue the appropriate immigration documents within 5 business days and mail them to the foreign national. The foreign national, with the immigration documents, will then need to obtain a J-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. This final step may take several weeks or months; please plan ahead!
As per 22 CFR 62.11(a)(2), hosting departments must verify the visitor has sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis. Hosting departments may use one of the following "objective measurements of English language proficiency" to determine an applicant's language proficiency:
- A recognized English language test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, etc.);
- Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school; or
- A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
By signing below, the hosting department confirms the J-1 exchange visitor has sufficient proficiency in the English language. In addition, the hosting department will need to submit the Attestation Regarding English Language Proficiency form if they conduct an interview.
Minimum Funding Requirements
To sponsor a foreign national as a J-1, the sponsoring department must demonstrate how the J-1 and, if applicable, his/her dependents (spouse and children) will financially support themselves while in the US. Proof of financial support may come from UNCW, a US government agency, the J-1's government, or another organization. The foreign national may partially support his/her visit, but not entirely. J-1s must show at least $1,000/month as proof of financial support; each dependent must show an additional $500/month.
Health Insurance Requirements
Unlike any other immigration category, the U.S. Department of State federally mandates all J-1 and J-2 status holders to carry health insurance coverage that meets Department of State minimums (below). The Office of International Programs will not issue immigration documents without proof of adequate health insurance coverage. To meet this requirement, sponsoring departments or J-1s must either purchase the plan available through the Office of International Programs (full payment for entire period of coverage is due on the first day of the program) or submit a waiver that attests to having alternate coverage that meets the following Department of State minimums:
- Medical insurance must cover the entire period of participation in the program.
- Medical benefits must provide a minimum of $100,000 per accident or illness.
- Medical evacuation must be covered in the amount of $50,000, minimum. (Medical evacuation is emergency medical transportation to the home country.)
- Repatriation must be covered in the amount of $25,000, minimum. (In the unfortunate event of death, repatriation is the transportation of remains back to the home country.)
- The deductible must not exceed $500 per accident or illness
A note for departments hosting visiting scholars
Since most J-1 visitors are not in Banner (they are not a UNCW student or faculty/staff) the hosting department will have to do ‘workarounds’ for normal UNCW procedures. If the visitor needs the following access, these are the steps to get that taken care of. As the academic department sponsor/supervisor, you are needed to sign off on these forms as OIP can’t do them on the academic unit’s behalf.
- Create an email account/user name: the following form needs to be completed by the department and then signed by the dean. http://uncw.edu/itsd/documents/ITSDComputerAccessRequestForm.pdf
- UNCW ID card: the following form needs to be completed by the department. The visitor then brings this form to Auxiliary Services in Warwick. There is a $20 fee for the ID card. http://uncw.edu/onecard/forms/uncw_one_card_request.doc
- Library access: email Dawn Brown in Randall explaining you are hosting a visiting international scholar in your department and would like to grant this person library access.
- Gym access: The visitor and someone from the department would have to fill out paperwork in person at the Rec Center. Access to the gym is $150/semester (may increase without notice). Either the visitor will pay on-site or the dept. will be billed.
- Secure accommodation for the visitor: OIP refers visitors to the UNCW Off-Campus Housing Service to search for housing options. Departments may also try to secure space in one of UNCW's properties through UNCW Hospitality Housing. Typically, the Office of Housing and Residence Life cannot accommodate visiting scholars in on-campus housing given their space capacity, but departments are welcome to contact them for a definitive answer. When finding accommodation for visiting scholars, departments should consider the visitor's length of stay and budget. In addition, renting can be a challenge given many visiting scholars have no credit history in the U.S. or an SSN. As a result, many rental companies will require a security deposit of several months' rent. Two other major considerations are distance to campus (for those who will not have a car) and finding a furnished apartment (as many visitors may not want to purchase furniture). Visitors staying for a few weeks may want to explore Staybridge Suites at 5010 New Centre Dr., Wilmington, NC or Extended Stay Wilmington at 4929 New Centre Dr., Wilmington, NC. For those staying a longer period, we highly recommend working with Anne Beck at Campus Walk I & II. Anne is extremely helpful and loves working with international students and scholars. Campus Walk is a 5 minute walk to campus and offers furnished units. Anne’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and website is www.wilmingtonstudenthousing.com.