International Programs Office

Prospective J-1 Visiting Scholars

ISU hosts international scholars and professors from around the world. The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa may be used by those coming to the United States to study, teach, conduct research, or receive training. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries. It does not require a one-to-one reciprocal exchange.

J-1 Visa

The J-1 visa is obtained by presenting to a U.S. embassy or consulate a Form DS-2019 issued by the Exchange Visitor sponsor, which may be a university, government agency, or other organizations. The Fulbright Commission, for example, issues Forms DS-2019 for its grantees.

Please review the J Program Participation Restrictions for information on the 24-Month Bar, the 12-Month Bar and the 2-Year Home Residency Requirement.

Short Term Scholar Category

Length of Stay: J-1 short term scholars engaged in research and/or teaching may remain in the United States for up to six months. No extensions are permitted beyond six months. Short-term scholars do not always have a formal affiliation with the University. Access to University facilities may be limited. Check with the hosting department for details.

Employment: Paid employment for J-1 short-term scholars is permitted only if it is described on the Form DS-2019 issued to the Exchange Visitor.

Research Scholar/Professor Category

Length of Stay: J-1 visa holders in the Research Scholar or Professor category may remain in the United States for up to five years on an Exchange Visitor visa. There are some restrictions to this category. Individuals who have been in the United States as J-1 Exchange Visitors in any category for more than 6 months are not eligible for the Research Scholar or Professor category unless they have been outside the United States for the previous 12 months. Research scholars and/or professors who complete their J-1 programs and leave the United States are not eligible to return as J-1 research scholars or professors for 24 months.

Employment: Paid employment for J-1 research scholars or professors is permitted only if it is an integral part of the program as described on the Form DS-2019 issued to the Exchange Visitor. In most cases, it is not possible for a J-1 visa holder to accept paid employment outside of Idaho State University. However, there are occasional exceptions. Please consult the IPO for more information regarding the possibility of employment outside of Idaho State University.

The maximum length of program for J-1 exchange visitors in the Research Scholar and Professor category has been increased from three to five years.

Request Process

If you are an international scholar seeking an appointment at ISU, first contact the academic department of your field. ISU academic departments are involved in the invitation of each visiting scholar. This means that the scholar and the department would need to have a mutual interest in collaborating in a research or teaching area. Prospective scholars may wish to contact a specific department at ISU to describe your research interests and whether or not there may be a mutual interest in collaboration. Once it has agreed to host you, the ISU department will work with the International Programs Office to provide you with necessary documentation for visa application.


ISU Departments: Departments seeking to invite an international scholar should download and complete the Visiting Scholar Request Form.

Prospective Scholars: After a mutual interest in collaboration has been established, please download, complete and submit to IPO the DS-2019 Application. Once the ISU Department completes the necessary paperwork, IPO will apply for and send you the DS-2019 form. You will use this form to apply for a J-1 visa at a US Consulate in your home country or country or residence.

Arrival Check-In

Scholars may enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date on their DS-2019 forms. Upon arrival in the U.S., you must check in with the International Programs Office. Please bring your passport, I-94 card, DS-2019 form, and proof of health insurance for yourself and any J-2 family members. Please contact an IPO J-1 Advisor at 208-282-4320 or within your first few days at ISU to schedule an appointment for check-in.

Mandatory Health Insurance Requirement

All Exchange Visitors and their dependents must have health insurance in effect which covers them for sickness or accidents during the period of time when they are in J status. Exchange visitors are required to present proof of insurance coverage at the time of check-in at Idaho State University.

Minimum coverage must provide:

  • medical benefits ($50,000 per accident or illness),
  • deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness,
  • expenses associated with the medical evacuation to the home country ($10,000),
  • and repatriation of remains ($7,500)

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

Some J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors are subject to the Two-Year Home Residence requirement also known as the “Two-Year Rule” or “212(e)”. An exchange visitor may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement if an exchange program was funded by the United States Government, the J-1’s own government, or an international organization. The J-1 visitor may also be subject to the requirement if the education, training, or skill the visitor is pursuing appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for the visitor’s country.

Prior to changing visa status or applying for entry into the United States as an H-1B, TN, L or permanent resident, J-1 scholars are often required by law to return to their home country for two years to use the skills and knowledge they have gained. Contact the International Programs Office to see if this requirement may apply to you. The Two-Year Rule does NOT prohibit a visitor from returning to the United States as a tourist or F-1 student at any time.