J-1 Exchange Visitor

The exchange visitor program (J-1 visa) is administered by the U.S. Department of State. The educational and cultural exchange program is appropriate for visitors coming to the U.S. for a temporary appointment, 5 years or less, as a professor, researcher, short-term scholar. Scholars should have at least the equivalent of a U.S. Master’s degree, or a Bachelor’s degree with extensive experience. The J-1 is not appropriate for a tenure track candidate.


Submitting DS-2019 Request

To request a DS-2019 for the scholar:

Hosting Department will need to submit the request for DS-2019 form and the following documents to the International Services Office, SSC 210. Incomplete applications will be returned. Please address your questions to Stephanie Hernandez, 817-735-2780, or email Stephanie.Hernandez@unthsc.edu.

  • Completed DS-2019 Request form with all necessary signatures (Department Chair, Dean, Chief Compliance Officer, VP of Research and Provost)
  • Copy of the Department’s offer letter stating salary or funding letter (if not paid by Department). They will need to show a minimum of $1,700 per month ($500 for each dependents).
  • Copy of the Invitation letter from the Department [see sample]
  • Exports Control Questionnaire will be sent to Office of Research Compliance for clearance prior to issuing DS-2019.
  • CV/Resume from the J-1
  • Copy of diploma for highest degree
  • Copy of English language ability (if applicable)
  • Copy of Passport Biographical (face) page from the new J-1 (and all accompanying dependents)
  • Copy of Marriage and/or Birth Certificates, if bringing dependents, must be officially translated to English, if not already
  • A credential evaluation may be needed, if the background check from HR cannot confirm degree


ISO Reviews Request & Issues DS-2019

ISO reviews the request and issues a DS-2019 for the department to send to the prospective scholar. ISO will enter the necessary information about the scholar and dependents on the SEVIS system when issuing the form. The consulate must be able to read the SEVIS entry before issuing the visa stamp. Processing time will be 5 to 7 business days. 

If DS-2019 Request is complete, ISO will issue a DS-2019 and email it to the scholar via DocuSign.


The scholar pays the SEVIS Fee online at https://www.fmjfee.com and prints a receipt.

Visa Appointment

The prospective scholar will present the DS-2019 and SEVIS fee receipt to the appropriate U.S. Consulate in his/her country and request a J-1 visa stamp. This may involve a 4-week security check. Contact our International Services Office with any problems.

Entry to U.S.

The scholar must enter the U. S. within a time period of 30 days before the start date. If the scholar cannot enter by that date, ISO must be notified to enter a new entry date on the SEVIS system to keep the J scholar’s record valid and facilitate entry.

Scholar Arrival

SEVIS/J-1 regulations require that ISO enter the arrival or non-arrival information on the SEVIS system for the scholar. If the scholar has not checked in, and his/her arrival information has not been entered by 30 days after the begin date, he/she will show as a no-show on SEVIS which is a serious infraction. Please ensure that the scholar reports to ISO with immigration documents and proof of adequate health insurance immediately upon arrival.

Departmental Responsibilities 

Hosting an Exchange Visitor (EV)

As an Exchange Visitor (EV) host, it is up to the department, faculty or staff member to:

  • Determine department eligibility for EV.
  • Arrange for EV space, ID card, library access and other campus necessities.
  • Gather DS-2019 documentation and upload with request at least 6 weeks prior to start date
  • Ensure EV is aware of health insurance requirements for J-1/J-2s.
  • Arrange for pick-up at airport.
  • Assist EV with finding housing.
  • Provide assistance with other settling in matters.
  • All EVs MUST be in HSC EIS database. If the EV is unpaid, please complete a Department Volunteer Service Request form with HR.
  • Notify international@unthsc.edu if the EV is not able to enter the U.S. by the begin date on form DS-2019. SEVIS must be updated to reflect a new entry date.
  • Have EV schedule an immigration document check-in with ISO. They MUST check-in within 5 business days of DS-2019 start date.
  • If EV will be employed by HSC, assist EV to Social Security office to apply for Social Security number.
  • Complete required employment and insurance forms for Payroll and HR.
  • Apply for extension of DS-2019 if EV is authorized and needs to extend stay.  Extension MUST be issued BEFORE the end date of the current DS-2019.
  • Notify international@unthsc.edu of any expected changes to the EV’s program at HSC such as changes in Hosting Faculty, location of activities, etc.
  • Notify international@unthsc.edu when EV leaves.
  • Immediately notif international@unthsc.edu of any Exchange Visitor Reportable Incidents.  Example:  EV Death, EV Missing, EV Serious Illness, EV Involved in a Crime, Negative Press Involving Sponsor’s Exchange Program, etc. If you are unsure what constitutes a Reportable Incident, contact our office at 817-735-2780.

Information for J-1 Scholar

Health Insurance

The Department of State requires each J-1 scholar and each J-2 dependent to be covered by insurance at the minimum level shown below for the entire time they are in the U.S. in J-1 status. The scholar must show proof of the insurance upon arrival at UNTHSC and check-in at the International Services Office (ISO). In some cases, proof of insurance may be required before issuing the DS-2019. Failure to comply requires termination of the J status for the scholar and dependents. ISO maintains information from insurance companies which offer appropriate health insurance plans. The minimum requirement set by the Department of State is:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000;
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

The health insurance provided to employees of the University of North Texas Health Science Center does not cover the repatriation and medical evacuation. This must be covered by a separate supplemental policy (ISO has a list of companies that offer this supplemental coverage very inexpensively).


J-1 Visitor Pre- Arrival Guide

This J-1 Visitor Pre- Arrival Guide contains essential information about immigration regulations, programs and services for new international scholars. Whether you are coming to HSC from your home country or from another U.S. University, please read this guide carefully.