J-1 Visa Information

Applying for the J-1 Visa

The J-1 Exchange Visitor category was developed by the U.S. government in order to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” There are several categories under the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and each has specific eligibility requirements. Most foreign nationals who wish to apply for the J-1 visa for a program administered through UC Davis Division of Continuing and Professional Education fall under the “research scholar” or “college/university student” category.

The J-1 Scholar Responsibilities

  • Possess appropriate academic or similar credentials
  • Possess English language proficiency, sufficient to successfully participate in the program and to function on a day-to-day basis
  • Participate in a program with the primary purpose of conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project. A research scholar also may teach or lecture when authorized by UC Davis Division of Continuing and Professional Education
  • Not be subject to any bars (12 month, 24 month or 212(e)) based on previous time spent in the United States in J status
  • Possess sufficient funding to cover expenses for the duration of the program
  • Not be a candidate for a tenure track position

The J-1 Student Responsibilities

  • Academic program must be suitable to student’s background needs and experience
  • Possess English language proficiency, sufficient to successfully participate in the program and to function on a day-to-day basis
  • Take part in a full-time academic program each quarter or semester. Under enrollment may be permitted due to medical or legitimate academic reasons and must be approved before the beginning of each term
  • Must be supported substantially by funding other than personal or family funds or you must be taking part in a program which is carried out pursuant to a written agreement between your home university and the University of California Davis, Continuing and Professional Education – International.  

Duration of Status

Duration of status (handwritten as D/S in your passport once you enter the United States) is defined as the length of time a J-1 holder has permission to remain temporarily in the United States. Duration of status is usually based on the dates noted on the DS-2019.

Student Category: The duration of your academic program plus practical training following completion of program (if applicable), plus 30 days to prepare for departure from the United States.

Research Scholar Category: The period noted on your DS-2019, plus 30 days to prepare for departure from the United States.

Employment

J-1 holders in the student category who are maintaining a full course of study and who are in good academic standing are permitted with written approval from UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during official vacation periods. Off-campus work must be pre-approved and is only allowed when it is necessary due to serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances.

J-1 scholars may not work without work authorization, and work options are limited. If your host department will provide you with funding, you must obtain pre-approval from UC Davis Immigration Services. Work that is not related to your research program is not permitted. You may participate in occasional lectures and/or short-term consultations, but the lectures and consultations must be incidental to your program activities and the work must not delay the completion of your research program.

Note: If the sponsor on your DS-2019 is not UC Davis Division of Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services, you need to contact the sponsor listed on your DS-2019 for employment authorization.

Health Insurance

All J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors must have health insurance that meets the minimum requirements set up by the U.S. Department of State. Information on the minimum requirements can be obtained by contacting UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services.

J-2 Dependents

Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the J-1 exchange visitor are eligible for J-2 status. J-1 visa holders must ensure that their J-2 dependents maintain lawful status while in the United States. If the J-2 holder departs the United States before the J-1, the J-1 holder must notify UC Davis Division of Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services of the departure date.

J-2 holders can apply for employment through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but only as long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1 holder.

There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependents; thus, they may study part or full-time. However, they can only remain in the United States as long as the J-1 holder is in active status in the United States.

Change of Address Notification

U.S. government regulations require that J-1 visa holders notify UC Davis Division of Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services of any change of their U.S. address within 10 days.

Transfers

A J-1 holder may transfer from one program sponsor to another if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the objective for which he or she was admitted to exchange visitor status and if the exchange visitor remains in the same J-1 participant category. Transfers must be coordinated carefully between both programs; thus, it is imperative that you contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services before beginning a transfer process.

Extension of Program

Extensions of your academic or research program must be approved by UC Davis Immigration Services prior to the end date on your current DS-2019. You are not eligible for a transfer if you have exceeded any regulatory time limits for your category.

Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement (212 (e))

J-1 holders who are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement must reside and be physically present in their home country for an aggregate of two years before being eligible for the following immigration benefits, unless they obtain a waiver of the requirement:

  • They are not eligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (green card) status;
  • They are not eligible for an H visa (temporary workers/dependents), an L visa (intracompany transferees/dependents) or a K visa (fiancé/dependents);
  • They are not eligible to change their J status within the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A, G or U.

The waiver application of the 212(e) requirement is involved and must be requested through the U.S. Department of State, Waiver Review Division.

J-1 holders subject to the 212(e) are eligible to depart the United States and apply for visas to return as tourists, on business or as F-1 students.

24-Month Bar

The 24-month Bar on repeat participation applies to J-1 research scholars only. Once you have completed your research program you are not eligible for participation as a research scholar for a period of two years following your end date at our institution.

Important Websites

Questions?

J-1 directives can be complicated and the full scope of regulatory information cannot be provided here. Please feel free to contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services at immigration@ucde.ucdavis.edu for additional information or if you have any questions regarding the J-1 visa. In addition, the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Immigration Services staff will provide you with helpful information at your orientation.