The U.S. Department of State allows U.S. institutions to host exchange students and scholars from other countries on J-1 category exchange visas. UGA's Exchange Visitor Program sponsors qualified students, teachers, professors, research scholars, specialists, and trainees for a variety of educational purposes. Our programs provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in academic exchanges and then return home to share their experiences.
An Exchange Visitor at the University of Georgia is a foreign national who is coming temporarily to the United States for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange. The principal exchange visitor obtains a J-1 visa; the spouse and children (under 21 years of age) obtain J-2 visas.
When a UGA department invites an international scholar to campus, our office issues a DS-2019 form, which authorizes the scholar to apply for the J-1 exchange visitor visa at a U.S. embassy. While at UGA, a scholar may need to request a revised or updated DS-2019 form, or a new form for accompanying dependents.
NOTE: If the scholar is new to UGA, the inviting UGA department must initiate the sponsorship process. Contact your sponsoring department to see if they have begun the initial sponsorship process with our office.
Required Mandatory Immigration Check-in:
Following the scholar's arrival in the U.S., a mandatory immigration check in with Immigration Services is required, as is a mandatory, online, J-1 orientation session. Scholars may schedule appointments in advance to see immigration advisors or obtain assistance without an appointment during regularly scheduled Student/Scholar walk-in hours.
During walk-in assistance, scholars will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum amount of time allowed for your meeting with an immigration advisor is 10 minutes. Complex situations are best addressed by scheduling an appointment with the appropriate advisor.
Authorized Categories of Sponsorship at UGA:
J-1 scholar appointments at UGA are in one of the following four categories:
"An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project" and "may also teach or lecture unless disallowed by the sponsor." This is the most common designation at UGA. Five year maximum limit.
"An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting" and "may also conduct research unless disallowed by the sponsor." Five year maximum limit.
Individuals come to UGA for short-term academic exchange for the purpose of lecturing, consulting or research. Six month maximum with no extension allowed.
"An individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the US for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills." This designation is limited to one year only.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor category may NOT be used for the following:
- The employment of persons in nonacademic staff positions
- Tenure-track or tenured faculty appointments
- Foreign medical graduates who will be engaged in clinical activities, including training. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)issues J-1 visas for the purpose of graduate medical training.
- Clinical appointments to the Schools of Dental or Veterinary Medicine or affiliated centers, or internships or programs of study including clinical responsiobilities in any field.
- New to UGA
- J-1 Scholar Handbook for Scholars and Departments (new for 2017)
- J-1 English Assessment Requirements (effective for sponsorships initiated on or after 9/15/2017)
- Required Immigration Check-in with OIE
- How to Maintain Legal J-1 Status
- J-1 Rights
- Health Insurance Information for J's
- Traveling in J-1 Status
- J-1 Home Residency Requirement (Rule 212(e))
- Useful Weblinks
- Request a DS-2019 form for a dependent, amend form, transfer out or request replacement (log in with your UGA MyID - current scholars only)
- J-1 / J-2 Bars to Re-entry
- Where to Buy Household Items