Sponsoring or Hosting a J-1 Research or Exchange Visitor

Our office is able to assist with visa sponsorship processing for international researchers, professors and specialists coming to the U.S. for temporary purposes. In general, we use the J-1 exchange visitor visa for these research and teaching positions. The duration of visit can be between one day and five years, so it offers great flexibility. This category of sponsorship can be used to sponsor scholars (paid by UGA), or to host scholars who have separate, external sources of funding.

In order to request a visa sponsorship for an international coming to your department, you should submit a visa sponsorship request through the iStart portal.  Please see the links section at the bottom of this page for the iStart Departmental User Guide, which explains how to request access to iStart and submit visa sponsorship requests.



Immigration Services policies regarding eligibility for the Exchange Visitor categories of sponsorship include the following:

  1. UGA funded Exchange Visitor scholar or professor sponsorship is limited to the following non-tenure track, and non-permanent positions:
    • Research Professional IV
    • Professor
    • Associate Professor
    • Assistant Professor
    • Instructor
    • Lecturer
    • Academic Professional.
  2. Outside (non-UGA) funded Exchange Visitor sponsorship requires the person to hold at least one advanced post-Baccalaureate degree, or to be an active candidate for a PhD degree.
  3. Specialist category candidates do not have a degree requirement per se, but need to meet all category requirements.
  4. Cases that fall outside these parameters must be reviewed for approval by the Director of Immigration Services.

Important Points about the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Request:

  • You must indicate on the online form linked below whether you will pick up the original DS-2019 form at our office, or whether you wish us to send it to you by campus mail. Your department is responsible for express mailing the document and supplemental information to your scholar. He or she must have the original document in order to apply for the U.S. visa, and to enter the U.S.
  • Your scholar must plan to enter the U.S. *before* the start date listed on the DS-2019 form. If he or she cannot enter by this date, you must inform our office so we may amend the start date. If your scholar tries to enter the U.S. after the listed start date, he or she could be denied entry to the U.S.
  • You must ensure that your scholar comes to our office to complete an immigration check in upon arrival on campus. If he or she fails to complete this check in, we will be required to terminate the immigration record, and the scholar will lose legal status in the U.S.
  • The U.S. State department requires that Exchange Visitors prove a certain level of English ability in order to receive a J-1 sponsorship from UGA.  Click on the link below for more information on English assessment for Exchange Visitors.

Information on Sponsoring/Hosting an Exchange Visitor