J-1 Scholar Program

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was established by the United States government to facilitate the visitors from other countries to participate in educational and cultural programs. The objective of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the citizens of the United States and the exchange visitors’ countries. The visitors may participate in studies, research, teaching, or receive training. Universities, research institutes and organizations can be recognized by the U.S. Department of State as Exchange Visitor Program Sponsors.

The International Office administers the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). Contact the International Office for additional information.

Below is a summary of acceptable activities and program durations for J-1 Visa holders.

Visa Types Description of Proper Use



J-1 Professor

  • Minimum Stay: 3 Weeks
  • Maximum Stay: 5 Years
  • Activity: Primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting
  • Non-Tenure Track only (Note: must adhere to hiring guidelines contained in the CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement; requires recommendation of AVPAA-Academic Personal and approval of the Provost/VPAA.)
  • 24-month bar on repeat participation applies




J-1 Research Scholar

  • Minimum Stay: 3 weeks
  • Maximum Stay: 5 years
  • Activity: Primarily research, observation, or consulting on research project
  • Non-Tenure-Track only (Note: this is for non-instructional assignments only; paid assignments through UAS require approval of the UAS Executive Director; paid assignments through State-support funds require approval of the Provost/VPAA and the campus CFO.)
  • 24-month bar on repeat participation applies


J-1 Short-Term Scholar

  • Minimum Stay: 1 day
  • Maximum Stay: 6 months
  • Activity: Lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills

Individuals attending Cal State LA as regular university students should consult the University Student section for J-1 student regulatory requirements.

24-Month Homecountry Residence Requirement

Exchange Visitors (EV) may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement based on one or more of the following:

If the U.S. Embassy/Consulate officials determine that the EV is subject to §212(e), an annotation will be made on the visa stamp in his/her passport as “§212(e) Two Year Rule Applies”. In addition, a preliminary endorsement by the consular or immigration officer regarding §212(e) is also marked on his/her DS-2019 Form.

Until the EV either complies with or is granted a waiver of the two-year requirement, he/she:

  • Is not eligible to apply for a change of status to H-1B and some other immigration statuses; and/or
  • Change status to most other non-immigrant statuses from within the U.S.

If the principal J-1 EV is subject to §212(e), all dependents who enter the U.S. in J-2 status are subject too.

EVs who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with the two-year home country residence requirement, may apply for a waiver of that requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds provided by immigration law. For more information about §212(e) and instructions for applying for a waiver, please visit the U.S. Department of State website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html.

Once an EV receives notification of the DOS recommendation for a waiver, the EV is no longer eligible for further extensions of his or her J-1 status, although he/she may continue their current J-1 program for the remainder of the time listed on the DS-2019.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation

An individual who participates in the EVP as a professor or research scholar becomes subject to a 24-month bar/"Repeat Participation” after completing their program. The 24-month bar applies under two circumstances:

  • If the professor or research scholar completes a full five years of program participation with one or more sponsors; or
  • If the professor or research scholar completes his or her program before the full five-year period is over. In this case, the continuity of the five-year period is broken, the five-year window is closed, the individual is not eligible to access the remaining unused time, and the individual must wait for two years before beginning a new program as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.
  • EVs who have entered the U.S. under the EVP as professor or research scholar, or who have acquired such status while in the U.S., and who have completed his or her program are not eligible for participation as a professor or research scholar for a period of two years following the end of their program participation as identified in SEVIS.

12-Month Bar

J-1 visa holders in Professor and Research Scholar Categories are subject to a 12-month bar on "Repeat Participation." The 12-month bar prohibits foreign nationals from beginning a new program in the Research Scholar or Professor Category if they are in the U.S. on a J-1 Visa (this bar includes J-2 dependents) for all, or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of the new program’s commencement, unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

  • The 12-month bar is not applicable to exchange participants who are currently participants as a Professor or Research Scholar and are transferring to another institution in the U.S. to continue their current J-1 program;
  • An exchange visitor participant whose prior J-1 status was of less than six (6) months duration (physical presence in the U.S.) is exempt from the 12-month bar; or
  • Participants in the short-term scholar category are exempt from the 12-month bar.

If you are interested in applying for a Visiting Scholar/Researcher/Student (non-degree or intern) appointment through the J-1 Visa program, you must complete an application and gain approval for sponsorship from a sponsoring mentor, Department/Division/School, and College at Cal State L.A.  All applications that receive sponsorship support from the academic unit are reviewed by the International Office and must receive final approval by the Associate Vice President, International Programs and Global Engagement, and Dean (AVP/Dean) of the College of Professional and Global Education.

To become a J-1 Exchange Visitor at Cal State LA, you must follow these steps:

Step 1: Research the Cal State LA faculty specialty list (/univ/ppa/journalist/guide.php) and find an appropriate faculty member to be your mentor/sponsor. It is appropriate to first contact the faculty member to ensure he/she is willing and able to assist you during your time at Cal State LA.

Introduce yourself, provide your academic background and the purpose of your participation as a J-1 visiting scholar. The details of the visit/research should be discussed in advance so that both parties have an expectation of what each other’s roles will be and what to expect from this experience.

Step 2: Once you have found a Cal State LA faculty member who is willing to mentor/sponsor you, complete the Request Packet and submit it to the Cal State LA. faculty member for review and consultation. Again, details of the visit/research must be discussed so that each other’s expectations will be met during the program.

Please be aware that most departments will not provide office space to exchange visitors. As part of your exchange program, you will be allowed to obtain a campus ID card, use of library services and a Cal State LA email account that will allow you access to on-campus computer labs.

Step 3: If, after reviewing the request, the Cal State LA faculty member agrees to be the mentor/sponsor, the request will be forwarded to the academic unit’s department chair and college dean for recommendation. If both the department dhair and dollege dean support the request, it will be submitted to the International Office for review.

Step 4: The International Office will evaluate the request and make the appropriate recommendation to the AVP/Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education. He/she will make the final decision to approve or deny the request.

Step 5: Upon an approval for the request, the International Office will issue the DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status). The Welcome Package, including the DS-2019, will be forwarded to the mentoring faculty member to be mailed to you.

Due to the time for locating and communicating with a Cal State LA faculty member, obtaining the proper recommendations and approval, it is highly recommended that this process be started with no less than four (4) months prior to the expected program start date.

Guidelines for Cal State LA Administrators/Faculty Sponsors

Applicants to visit Cal State LA as a EV through the J-1 Visa program must have a faculty or administrator who agrees to serve as his/her mentor. In addition, the mentor must receive the endorsement of her/his department/division/school and college dean in order to serve as the sponsoring mentor. All applications that receive sponsorship support from the academic unit are reviewed by the International Office, and must receive final approval by AVP/Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education.

The following steps will be followed in the consideration of applications for a J-1 Visiting Scholar/Research/Student Visa appointment:

Step 1:  You should consider whether or not the potential visiting scholar has research interests that are in line with your current work. If there is no similarity of research interests, there is probably no "match" regarding a given international scholar who may be making an inquiry. In such a case, it is your responsibility to respond in writing to the individual who has made the inquiry, declining his/her request for a mentor/sponsor.

Step 2:  If you decide that there is a "match", then you should continue correspondence to determine details of the visit/research to ensure each party understands the other’s expectations and needs. Prospective EVs must be carefully screened and selected to ensure that they are eligible for program participation; and that

  • The program is suitable to the EV’s background, needs, and experience; and
  • The EV possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language skills to enable him/her to successfully participate in the program and function independently in the community; and
  • The EV has earned the appropriate degree along with experience in the field of endeavor.

Step 3:  You will be charged with gathering the required documentation on the visiting scholar. This includes all of the following documents from the scholar:

  • EV Biographical Data Form
  • Resume
  • Proof of financial support (personal bank statement or scholarship letter)
  • Copy of passport (and dependents, if any)
  • Copy of I-94 card and visa stamp (if inside the U.S., include dependents if any)
  • Research statement addressing the following points:
    • Why you chose Cal State LA as the campus for your program/research.
    • Describe your research activities and work at Cal State LA
    • What you hope to achieve from your time/program at Cal State LA?
    • If you plan to perform your research at locations other than Cal State LA, please list all possible locations.  

Step 4:  Upon receipt of the required documents from the scholar, you must complete and sign the follow documents:

  • Cal State LA Sponsoring Form

All documents listed in Steps 2 and 3 will be forwarded to your department chair and college dean for recommendation.  

Step 5: If both the chair and dean recommend the request, the request package is then forwarded to the director of the International Office. The International Office will review the package for completeness and determine whether additional documents are required. The request is then forwarded to the AVP/Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education for consideration.

Step 6: If the request is approved, the International Office will issue the DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status). The Welcome Package, including the DS-2019, will be forwarded to you as the mentoring faculty member. You will be responsible for mailing the Welcome Package to the EV.

Please note, this process may be time consuming, particularly if it is necessary to correspond back and forth with a potential visiting international scholar. We, therefore, recommend that the request be initiated at least four (4) months prior to the visiting scholar's desired date of arrival.

Faculty/Department Responsibilities

  • Inform the International Office of any specific commitments made to the J-1 visitor. Note that the University provides J-1 visitors with a University computer account and Library privileges, and they are eligible to purchase a University identification card. While departments are not required to provide office space, telephone, or computer equipment. It is highly recommended that these resources are made available to the EV to facilitate their research while at Cal State LA It is important for the department to inform the International Office of any commitments made in order to avoid confusion or disappointment once the visitor arrives at Cal State LA. These resources will be provided to the J-1 visiting scholars who will be hired as a non-tenure track lecturer.
  • Coordinate with the International Office to ensure that the visiting scholar/researcher/student visa applicant’s application materials are reviewed by the proposed faculty sponsor and vetted by the appropriate department and dean’s office administrators.
  • Inform the International Office of the visitor’s expected arrival date, and provide updates if the arrival date changes from the date listed on the DS-2019.
  • Ensure that the J-1 visitor checks in with the International Office upon arrival at Cal State LA.
  • If the J-1 visitor plans to receive employee benefits at Cal State LA, ensure that the proper paperwork is completed either through University Human Resource Management or through University Auxiliary Services.

The request package must include the following documents: 

  • DS-2019 Request Form
  • EV’s resume/C.V.
  • Proof of financial support (personal bank statement or scholarship letter); funding must cover the entire period of the DS-2019 request.   All Visiting Scholars must be able to demonstrate a minimum of $2,400/month in funding, plus additional funding for any dependents (additional $750/month for a spouse and $400/month per child). Refer to the chart below to determine how much funding, per month, is required.


  • Requirements for Financial Documents
    • Financial documents MUST meet the following requirements:
    • Be in English
    • Be no more than six months old (and show the date)
    • Clearly state the account holder's name
    • Clearly state the financial institution name
    • Clearly state the currency of the account (must be in U.S. dollars)
    • Show Proof of liquid funds (i.e. cash in hand, cash in bank, cash equivalents)


  • Acceptable Documents in English include:
    • Official Bank letter
    • Copy of Bank statement/account summary
    • Scholarship award letter
    • Documentation showing loan approval 
  • Unacceptable Documents
    • Tax Returns
    • Investments
    • Property
    • Mortgages 
    • Retirement Accounts
    • Stocks
    • Bonds
    • Letters of employment/salary statements


  • Copy of passport biographical page (and dependents, if any)
  • Copy of I-94 card and visa stamp (if inside the U.S., include dependents, if any)
  • Research statement addressing the following points:
    • Why you chose Cal State LA as the campus for your program/research.
    • Describe your research activities and work at Cal State LA
    • What you hope to achieve from your time/program at Cal State LA?
    • If you plan to perform your research at locations other than Cal State LA, please list all possible locations. 

Upon receipt of the required documents from the Cal State LA faculty with all the proper signatures, the standard processing time to issue the DS-2019 will be 5-10 working days.

Accompanying dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) are eligible to receive the J-2 visa status. Their DS-2019s can be requested during the initial request for the J-1, or anytime during the J-1’s program at Cal State LA. Proof of relationship, such as copy of marriage certificate and birth certificate (with English translation if necessary), and additional funding is required to issue the DS-2019s.

J-2 status does not give the J-2 permission to work, but it gives the person the right to apply for work authorization from USCIS. The J-2 does not have legal permission to work until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is approved by USCIS. There is no restriction on study for J-2 dependents.

A J-2 dependent’s status terminates upon termination/completion of the J-1’s participation in the EVP

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a federal government database that maintains and tracks information on F-1 and J-1 visa students and scholars. Upon receipt of the DS-2019, you must visit the website www.fmjfee.com to pay the SEVIS fee prior to submitting your visa application to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. All financial support submitted must be an original. This fee is paid to the U.S. government to support the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. It is in addition to the visa application fee paid to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You should schedule an interview with the U.S. Department of State as soon as possible to ensure you have an appointment with sufficient time to process your visa application. For information about visa process, please visit www.travel.state.gov. You should review page 2 of the DS-2019, following the instructions at the top of that page, and present the form and proof of payment for the SEVIS fee to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for your J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. The Consular Officer will return the DS-2019 to you. If there is a delay with your visa application and you cannot enter the U.S. within 25 days of the program start date on the DS-2019 (#3), you MUST notify our office as the starting date of your program must be deferred and a new DS-2019 may be needed.

J-1 visitors and all accompanying dependents must comply with the mandatory health insurance requirement from the campus-contracted provider, Relation. Find Cal State LA Scholars International Student Health Insurance Plan information here. Please email International Office: [email protected], if you have questions.

Unfortunately, Cal State LA does not have established housing available for scholars. We do have on-campus housing for enrolled students. You can submit an application to request a room. Please be aware that placement is made only as space is available, and you may be roomed with a University student. For more information, you may contact University Housing Services.

For off-campus housing options, please check our Housing Resources.

All EVs are required to check-in at the International Office to comply with SEVP requirements. They EV must complete the J-1 online check-in process within 15 days of their program start date.

Maintaining Status

In order to maintain J visa status, the EV must comply with the following requirements:

  • Maintain a valid DS-2019 during the program at Cal State LA, excluding the 30-day grace period.
  • Maintain a valid passport.
  • No unauthorized employment.
  • Purchase and maintain Cal State LA’s pre-approved health insurance policy; and
  • Report changes to his/her U.S. address within 15 days of the change.


In order to apply for an extension request, complete the request package (pg. 3) and submit it with all other required documents at least four (4) weeks prior to the current DS-2019 expiration date. The extension must be within the category’s maximum length of stay. Include a statement from the Cal State LA faculty mentor with an explanation of the delay and what the EV will be doing during this extension period.

If the EV is subject to §212(e), applied for a waiver and received notification of the DOS recommendation for a waiver, the EV is no longer eligible for an extension.

If the EV discontinues his/her J-1 program with a department, the department must notify the International Office, as the International Office is required to report the event in SEVIS.  Faculty sponsors and/or sponsoring departments must notify the International Office immediately if the scholar departs or fails to participate in the exchange activities as notated on the DS-2019. Cal State LA is responsible for the EV’s immigration record until it is closed. Failure to appropriately notify the International Office of an EV’s status could jeopardize the entire Exchange Visitor Program at Cal State LA.

Upon successful completion of the J-1 program, the EV will have an additional 30 days to remain in the U.S., however, he/she may not be employed, engage in research activities or perform unpaid work during this 30-day grace period. The 30-day grace period is intended for purposes of traveling within the U.S., packing, and preparing for departure from the U.S.