We are proud to be designated by the U.S. Department of State as an Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, allowing us to host international researchers under J-1 Visa status. Whether you are a prospective exchange visitor or already part of the Carnegie community, we are here to support your journey.
The purpose of the J-1 Visa is to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges, thereby strengthening the ties between the nations. Every year, Carnegie sponsors exchange visitors to conduct research.
At the time of appointment, the exchange visitor is expected to return home upon completion of the activity.
Exchange visitor categories available to international appointees at Carnegie are:
- Short-Term Scholar: J-1 Visa Short-Term Scholars come to the U.S. on a short-term visit (six (6) months or less) for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills.
- Research Scholars: J-1 Visa Research Scholars come to the U.S. to primarily conduct research in connection with a research project.
- Specialist: The Specialist category is for experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skills, who visit the United States for purposes of observing, consulting, or demonstrating their special skills. The maximum duration of stay is one year.
As a non-U.S. citizen, you will need a Visa to enter the U.S. The J-1 exchange visitor Visa allows eligible participants to come to the U.S. for a temporary stay, if participating in the J-1 Visa program.
Explore the resources and guidance provided to ensure a successful experience as a J-1 exchange visitor at Carnegie Science.
Applying for the J1-Visa
The DS-2019, also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, is the official document used by the U.S. Department of State that will permit you to get an interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate. If you will be accompanied by your spouse or child(ren), they will also be given a separate DS-2019.
This two-page form is issued by your sponsoring organization and will include a description of the exchange program, including the start and end date, as well as the cost of the program (with a breakdown of financial support).
Carnegie will give you a Visa application form to complete. This form will contain the information that will populate the DS-2019. The DS-2019 will be sent to you by Carnegie.
All new incoming Research Scholars, Specialists, and Short-Term Scholars must pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying for a visa.
The SEVIS fee must be paid at least three (3) days before applying for a U.S. visa.
Canadian citizens who are exempt from the visa requirement must pay the SEVIS fee at least three (3) days prior to applying for admission to the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry.
Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, print the receipt (I-901).
The receipt (I-901) is proof you have paid the fee. You will need to present the fee receipt with your application for a visa. (Canadians will need to present the fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry).
The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is for temporary travel to the U.S. DS-160 is submitted electronically via the U.S. Department of State website.
Remember to print the confirmation page from the DS-160.
Look up U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions abroad . Find the embassy or consulate website where you will apply for your visa to find information on how to schedule a visa appointment, pay the application processing fee, and review embassy-specific instructions.
For the interview, you will need the following documents:
- DS-2019 issued by Carnegie
- I-901 receipt from paying the SEVIS fee
- Proof of financial support
- Valid passport
Complete visa application forms and the confirmation page from the DS-160 for all nonimmigrant applicants.
J-1 Visa holders may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior or more than 15 days later than the start date noted on their DS-2019.
What to Bring
As a J-1 exchange visitor, you will need:
- your Carnegie-issued DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors,
- a valid J-1 Visa (the visa stamp in a passport) issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad to enter the U.S.,
- proof of the SEVIS fee payment—the I-901 receipt.
Note: Canadian citizens need a DS-2019 but do not need a U.S. visa.
Your 1-94 Record
When you enter the U.S., you will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card marked “J-1” and “D/S” (duration of status).
Dependents are defined as a spouse and minor children (under age 21) of the J-1 exchange visitor. Dependent spouses and children enter the U.S. on J-2 dependent visas. Each dependent is required to have an individual DS-2019 to obtain a J-2 Visa stamp from a U.S. embassy or consulate and to enter the U.S. (Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement).
Having J-2 status does not enable a J-2 dependent to work, but it gives the person the ability to apply for permission to work from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office through an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-765. The J-2 dependent does not have legal permission to work until the EAD is approved by USCIS.
Visit the USCIS site here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765, for information on how to apply for an EAD, Form I-765.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires you to complete an immigration check-in at your Carnegie department within five (5) business days of arrival. Failure to complete the mandatory immigration check-in will cause your J-1 Visa program to be terminated automatically and end your immigration status.
As a J-1 exchange visitor, you must meet certain obligations to maintain legal immigration status. Maintaining status is necessary to receive the benefits of J-1 status in the future, such as applying for a change of status, if needed. Failure to maintain your nonimmigrant status can result in serious problems with immigration and could lead to deportation from the U.S.
To maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 scholar must:
- Complete the mandatory check-in process which consists of checking in with your Carnegie Department within five (5) days of arrival in the U.S.; bring your original DS-2019 with you.
- Have a valid DS-2019.
- Have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least six (6) months into the future.
- Conduct employment only as indicated on the DS-2019.
- File timely and appropriate transfer and extension requests to the Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO).
- Maintain required health insurance coverage. To receive Carnegie coverage, you must be in a benefits-eligible employment classification. If you are not eligible to participate in Carnegie coverage, you will be required to enroll in individual coverage.
- Update your current and permanent address information with Carnegie’s Human Resources within 10 days of moving.
All exchange visitors and their accompanying dependents at the Carnegie Institution for Science are required to have health insurance coverage for the entire period of their stay in the U.S.
The minimum coverage that is required per federal regulations is:
- $100,000 per accident or illness.
- A deductible of no more than $500 per illness and a copay not to exceed 25%.
- Medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000. Evacuation refers to transporting an injured person for medical treatment.
- Repatriation coverage for up to $25,000. Repatriation refers to transporting a body to the country of citizenship after death.
If you do not enroll in Carnegie’s health insurance plans, you will be required to obtain J-1/J-2 Visa Exchange Visitor insurance coverage on your own.
Whether you are traveling to the U.S. for the first time or during your stay at Carnegie, review the information below carefully. At a minimum, you will need a valid passport, valid visa (except Canadian citizens), and valid visa documentation. If you have questions or concerns, check with your ARO before you make travel plans.
Scholars traveling outside the U.S. who intend to return to resume their J-1 status are required to carry the following documents with them when entering the U.S. Do not place these documents in your checked luggage!
- Valid Passport - All international scholars and dependents planning to depart from the U.S. and return after a temporary absence must have a valid passport in order to exit the U.S. The passport must also be valid for a minimum of six (6) months into the future at all time, especially upon entry or re-entry to the U.S.
- Valid Visa - The J-1/J-2 Visa stamp in your passport should be valid on the date of your return to the U.S. (It does not, however, need to remain valid during your stay in the U.S.) If you have an old, expired passport with a valid U.S. entry visa, you do not need to get a new visa stamp in your new passport as long as you carry both passports when you enter the U.S. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement.
- Valid DS-2019 - Those who are re-entering the U.S. must make sure their DS-2019 has been PROPERLY ENDORSED (signed within one year of your intended re-entry date) by one of Carnegie’s Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs). (This is for Carnegie-issued J-1 Visas only. If you obtained your J-1 Visa through another sponsor they will have to endorse your DS-2019.)
- Evidence of Valid Appointment - J-1 Scholars should carry their official Carnegie appointment letter.
- Evidence of Financial Support - Carnegie recommends that J-1/J-2 nonimmigrants carry proof of the financial support and resources reflected on their form DS-2019.
- PLEASE NOTE: Scholars who do not meet these requirements may be denied re-entry into the U.S.
Scholars and dependents entering the U.S. are given proof of legal nonimmigrant status at their port of entry by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer. For those entering at an airport, proof of status is a stamp and notation in the passport. The hand-written notation should indicate your status (J-1 or J-2) and your duration of stay (D/S).
You should print a paper copy of your I-94 to document your status; go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/ . Those entering the U.S. at a land border will receive a small white I-94 card with the same notations.
Please ensure you have a copy of your 1-94 in print, on your phone, or your computer. Each time you travel and re-enter the U.S., you should download your I-94 record.
If you plan the travel outside of the U.S., check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination.
The resources below provide information regarding conditions abroad that may affect your safety and security.
In addition to employment at the Carnegie, J-1 Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars, and specialists are eligible to be authorized for incidental employment, such as providing occasional lectures or consulting. Incidental employment must be approved by your Department Director prior to the activity. For more information, contact Human Resources.
Such lectures and consultations must meet the following criteria [Source: 22 CFR § 62.20(g)(1)]:
- Be directly related to the objectives of your J-1 program at Carnegie.
- Be incidental to your primary program activities.
- Not delay the completion date of your J-1 program at Carnegie.
- If you fail to obtain a letter authorizing the activity in advance, Carnegie may correct your SEVIS record for a technical or minor infraction if no more than 120 days have passed since the infraction occurred. [Source: 22 CFR § 62.45(c)]
- A letter from the inviting institution describing the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult, including the duration, location, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation (if any), and description of the activity.
- A letter from your department director confirming that the proposed activity is directly related to your principal activity, is indeed incidental, and will not delay completion of your program at Carnegie.
- The letter should clearly outline how the proposed activity would enhance your Exchange Visitor Program at Carnegie.
- Recommendation to approve the activity
- A legible copy of your latest DS-2019. Item #2 on your DS-2019 must list the program sponsor as Carnegie Institution of Science, and item #4 must list the exchange visitor category as Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar.
- A copy or print-out of your I-94 (please click on the link for instructions).
How to Apply for Incidental Employment Authorization
- Schedule an appointment with the ARO in Human Resources.
- Bring the documents listed above to your appointment.
- Human Resources will review your documentation and determine if you are eligible for incidental employment. If authorized, Human Resources will issue a letter authorizing the activity.
- You will present the letter as proof that you are allowed to receive pay for your activity. Keep a copy of authorization letter for your records. The letter will serve as authorization of this activity.
All J-1 exchange visitors must file federal tax forms every year that they are in the U.S. The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if U.S. money is earned, and June 15, if no U.S. money is earned.
Tax Treaties with Other Countries
Your country may have a tax treaty with the U.S. which may reduce the amount you are required to pay in taxes. If your country has a tax treaty and you receive money from Carnegie, you can contact the Payroll Office and fill out a form so that less (or no) money will be deducted (“withheld”) from the money you receive, or you can claim a refund of withheld taxes when you file your income tax return. Even if your country has a tax treaty with the U.S., you are still required to file a tax return.
Several internet resources list tax treaties. Other internet resources have information about how to apply tax treaties when you fill out your tax form. If you use GLACIER Tax Prep software, the software will take any tax treaties that apply to into consideration when it prepares your tax form.
Internet Resources: Tax Treaties
Only the assigned supervising faculty member can request extensions of J-1 scholar programs. These requests must be to the ARO and made at least two (2) months before the expiration of the current DS-2019.
Extensions for J-1 scholars under the Research Scholar category are permitted for up to a maximum period of five (5) years.
J-1 scholars in the Short-Term Scholar category are limited to a six (6)-month stay and may not be extended.
Repeat Participation Bar
Time spent in the US as a J-1 exchange visitor or J-2 dependent might affect eligibility for future J-1 status in the Research Scholar category. These periods of ineligibility are referred to as the 24-month and 12-month bars. The 24-month and 12-month bars apply only to persons beginning an Exchange Visitor Program in the category of Research Scholar. The bars do not affect eligibility for other J-1 categories, such as Short-Term Scholar or Specialist.
Exchange visitors in the Research Scholar category are subject to a 24-month bar on repeat participation in that category if they completed their program on or after November 17, 2006, regardless of the previous program’s duration. No time spent in any other J-1 category triggers the 24-month bar. Note that the 24-month bar is not the same as the two-year home country physical presence requirement.
Exchange visitors not subject to the 24-month bar might be subject to the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar prohibits exchange visitors from beginning a new program in the Research Scholar category if they were in the U.S. for more than six (6) months in any J status (including J-2 dependent) during all or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program. If any part of an exchange visitor’s presence in the U.S. in J status was within the 12-month period, the entire duration of his or her presence in the U.S. while participating in an Exchange Visitor Program is counted, and if that participation exceeded six (6) months, the 12-month bar applies.
There are four exceptions:
- J-1 transfers. The 12-month bar is not applicable to those who are transferring to another institution to continue their current J-1 program.
- Presence in J status of less than six (6) months. A person whose prior J status was of less than six (6) months duration (physical presence in the U.S.) is exempt from the 12-month bar.
- Presence in J status in the Short-Term Scholar category. No time spent in the Short-Term Scholar category triggers the 12-month bar.
- The 12-month bar does not apply to individuals who are subject to the 24-month bar. In other words, individuals subject to the 24-month bar are not additionally subject to the 12-month bar.
Two-Year Home-Country Residency Requirement
Under specific circumstances, a J-1 exchange visitor may incur a Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement. The J-2 dependents are subject to this same requirement if the J-1 visa holder is subject to the requirement. This means that neither the J-1 nor the J-2 may change immigration status to H, L, or Permanent Residency without first returning to his/her country for two years or 24 months or obtaining a waiver of this requirement.
If the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement applies, change of status to another nonimmigrant classification, such as F-1, in the U.S. is prohibited. If the individual is subject to this requirement, the J-1 visa stamp or DS-2019 form will indicated that the bearer is subject to “212(e)”.
Not all exchange visitors are subject to the two-year residence requirement.
There are three grounds on which an exchange visitor can become subject:
- The exchange visitor’s participation in an exchange program was directly or indirectly financed by the U.S. government or a foreign government for the purpose of exchange.
- The skills that the exchange visitor is coming to develop or exercise are in a field that the exchange visitor’s home government requested be included on the "skills list" set by the U.S. Department of State.
- The exchange visitor comes to the U.S. for graduate medical education or training.
An exchange visitor who falls into one of these groups will continue to be subject, even if funding or field of study changes. If the principal J-1 exchange visitor is subject to the two-year residence requirement, dependents in J-2 status are subject as well.
At the conclusion of a J-1 program, the exchange visitor who is subject to this requirement must reside for an aggregate of two years (24 months) in his or her country of nationality or last legal permanent residence or have the requirement waived before being eligible for other U.S. immigration statuses, including H, L, or permanent resident status. Persons subject to the two-year home country residence requirement can return to the U.S. during this period in most other nonimmigrant statuses, including tourist status.
If you do not know whether your country and/or field appear on the Exchange Visitor Skills List, check Exchange Visitor Skills List webpage or ask at OISS. The two-year home-country physical presence requirement is also explained on the reverse side of the DS-2019.
For more information about the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, refer to the U.S. Department of State website.
When a J-1 exchange visitor completes their program, a 30-day grace period begins. During these 30 days the visitor may remain in the U.S. and prepare to leave. It is not permissible to work during the grace period. Nor may one exit the U.S. and reenter as a J-1 Visa holder during the grace period.
- If you end your J-1 program more than 15 days before the program end date on your DS-2019 and will not be transferring to another U.S. institution, your new end date will need to be updated, and a new DS-2019 will need to be processed. You must depart the U.S. no later than 30 days from the last day of your J-1 program.
- If the J-2 Visa holder departs the U.S. before the J-1 Visa holder, this must be reported immediately to the ARO so that the J-2’s departure can be updated in SEVIS.