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J-1 Visa

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program The J-1 is an exchange visitor classification designed for the purpose of exchanging ideas, knowledge and culture between the U.S. and other countries. The intent of this classification is for individuals to enter the U.S. for a specific and limited period of time, attain knowledge, hone skills and return to their home country to share the knowledge and experience gained in the U.S. UAMS is currently approved to host Short-Term Scholar and Research Scholar category exchange visitors.

J-1 Short-Term Scholar Category, Duration: Up to 6 months A professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar type of institutions. The short-term scholar can be authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program, which shall not exceed six months.

  • Not subject to 12 or 24 month bar that would prevent a future visit under the Research Scholar/Professor category
  • May be possible to return again in the J-1 Short Term Scholar visa category, providing there is a substantial break between visits, and that each visit has a new and unique objective.
  • Limited to a maximum time of 6 months with no options of extension, transfers or change of visa inside the U.S.

J-1 Research Scholar Category, Duration: Up to 5 years 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, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

  • May extend the program, within maximum duration, providing normal sponsorship terms remain (e.g. funding)
  • Upon completion of program may not be able to return to the U.S. to participate in another Research Scholar program for 24 months.

Program suitability requirement

All sponsors, are required to determine 1) the suitability of their program for prospective participants; and 2) that participants have sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their programs.

Insurance requirement

The exchange visitor must have proof that insurance is in effect that covers himself/herself and his/her dependents for sickness or accident during the period of participation in the program. The minimum J-1 insurance coverage requirements are as follows:

  • Provide a minimum of $100,000 per accident or illness.
  • Medical evacuation (emergency medical transportation to the home country) covered in the amount of $50,000.
  • Repatriation (the transportation of remains back to the home country in the unfortunate event of death) covered in the amount of $25,000.
  • The deductible must not exceed $500 per accident or illness.

If the exchange visitor is a benefits-eligible employee, s/he will be eligible for this coverage through UAMS-provided medical plans, but must sign up for it within 31 days of arrival. If the exchange visitor is not a UAMS-paid employee or not eligible for benefits, they will need to secure insurance coverage for themselves through an outside company. The following are some companies that can be contacted to obtain health insurance:

The Office of Human Resources purchases coverage for repatriation of remains and medical evacuation for UAMS J-1s and their J-2 dependents who are employees and eligible for payroll benefits. All other non-employee or non-benefits eligible J-1s must purchase this coverage for him/herself and J-2 dependents.

Pre-arrival information

Sponsors must provide the following pre-arrival information:

  • The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program
  • Home-country physical presence requirement
  • Travel and entry into the United States
  • Other Costs that the exchange visitor will likely incur (e.g., living expenses) while in the United States
  • Health care and insurance

Additional information which will assist exchange visitors to prepare for their stay in the United States

Orientation requirement

Program regulations require sponsors to offer appropriate orientation for all exchange visitors and their immediate family. Orientation includes, but is not limited to, the following information:

  • Life and customs in the United States
  • Local community resources (e.g., public transportation, medical centers, schools, libraries, recreation centers and banks), to the extent possible
  • Available health care, emergency assistance, and insurance coverage
  • A description of the program in which the exchange visitor is participating
  • Rules that the exchange visitors are required to follow under the sponsor’s program

General requirement

Sponsors are required to monitor their participants’ welfare and progress to the extent appropriate for the category, and ensure that their activities are consistent with the category indicated on the Form DS-2019. Sponsors are also to require that all exchange visitors keep them apprised of their current addresses and phone numbers of their participants and to maintain this information. Sponsors are required to provide all participants with emergency contact information.