J-1 Program Information

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The University of Louisville has been designated by the Department of State (DoS) as a sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The broad purpose is to provide foreign nationals opportunities to engage in educational and cultural programs in the United States. To sponsor a J-1 visiting scholar or faculty, academic units are obligated to establish the necessary documentation and provide the necessary support for the exchange program. The instructions provided in this section are for J-1 exchange visitor programs in the following categories:

  1. Short-term scholar. A foreign national who is a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments who enters the United States for a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. 
  2. Professor. A foreign national whose primary purpose is teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited academic institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor also may conduct research where authorized by the sponsor. 
  3. Research scholar. A foreign national whose primary purpose is conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. A research scholar also may teach or lecture where authorized by the sponsor. 

Procedures to Request a Form DS2019

  1. The sponsoring department and exchange visitor completes the Departmental Request Form for DS2019.
  2. The sponsoring department administrator will need to login to the Terra Dotta Portal using their Ulink account. Contact if you do not have a Ulink account to access the portal. Once you log in to Terra Dotta, select “New Sponsorship Request” at the top left of the page. You will need the information from the Departmental Request Form to complete this process. Once submitted, International Services will receive and process the request.
  3. Submit a copy of the passport picture page.
  4. Submit an official financial affidavit showing proof of finances to cover the cost of attendance (if not funded by UofL).
  5. Verify English proficiency. 
  6. Submit the "5 Point Letter" (if the exchange visitor is a medical doctor/alien physician in home country).
  7. Submit dependent information (if any). 

Before completing the Departmental Request Form, please read the following Department of State Regulations:

A violation of these regulations can result in the revocation or suspension of the University's exchange visitor program.
For all J-1 programs, exchange visitors are required to pursue the objectives stated in the DS2019 form; any deviation from this is considered a violation of the J-1 regulations.

Visitor Eligibility

A visitor may be selected for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a professor or research scholar subject to the following conditions:

  1. The participant must not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
  2. The participant has not been physically present in the United States for all or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement set forth on his or her Form DS-2019 unless:
      • The participant is transferring to the sponsor's program pursuant to provisions set forth in the regulations;
      • The participant's presence in the United States was of less than six months duration; or
      • The participant's presence in the United States was pursuant to a short-term scholar exchange activity; and
      • The participant is not subject to the prohibition against repeat participation.

(Source: 22 CFR 62)

5 Year Rule- Extensions for Professors and Research Scholars: Programs for Professors and Research Scholars may be approved for up to 5 years. All extensions within the 5 year period are processed by the international office. An extension may be requested by submitting the Departmental Request Form for DS2019 to the international office at least 30 days from the program end date of your Form DS-2019.

Exchange Visitor Skills List- The Exchange Visitor Skills List is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are deemed necessary for the development of an exchange visitor's home country. When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program, if your skill is on your country’s Skills List you are subject to the two-year foreign residence (home-country physical presence) requirement, which requires you to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.

If the participant has received approval of waiver of the two-year home residence requirement (212(e) Restriction), they are not eligible to receive an extension of their Form DS-2019. Any request for extensions should be completed prior to the Exchange Visitor receiving the waiver.

Professor/Research Scholars taking classes for credit: Under this J-1 visa category, exchange visitors may engage in incidental studies only and on a part-time basis (no more than six hours per semester). You may not enroll in a degree-seeking program. A research scholar must maintain full-time research/teaching. Extensions for the purpose of completing a degree are NOT permitted. 

Exchange Visitors who are Physicians in their home country: If the request is for a person who is a physician in their home country or holds an MD degree, the "5 Point Letter" must be completed and submitted with the DS2019 request form. Please note that this letter must be reviewed and signed by the Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs before the DS2019 will be issued. When requesting the "5 Point Letter," you must submit a copy of the DS2019 Departmental Request Form and the exchange visitor’s resume or vitae with the “5 Point Letter”.

If the visitor is a physician who will have no clinical responsibilities, please indicate in the "DUTIES" section of the request form "NO PATIENT CONTACT." This will certify that the program the physician is to be engaged in is solely for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research, and no element of patient care service is involved. If incidental patient contact is involved, please provide a statement certifying the points listed in the Alien Physician instructions, and obtain approval from the Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs. Note that UofL cannot issue a Form DS-2019 for clinical programs.

Short-term Scholar Programs: Are permitted for up to six (6) months: No extensions are permitted. Please note that this category is not subject to the “24-month bar” and therefore should be considered if the program period will not exceed 6 months.

Request for J-2 DS-2019 forms after the J-1 has arrived at UofL: If the J-1 Exchange Visitor wishes to invite their dependent(s) to join him/her after their arrival, they should submit the Request DS2019 Form for Dependents to the ISSS office along with a copy of their dependent’s passport picture page and financial documents. 

TRANSFER INFORMATION: J1 participants may transfer to or from the University of Louisville if the purpose of the transfer is to continue under their original objective for which she/he was admitted and if she/he remains in the same category. The visitor must notify their supervisor/sponsor of their intent to transfer and provide an end date.

1) For transfers within the University: The Exchange Visitor must contact their current supervisor/advisor and make the necessary arrangements to request an intra-campus transfer. The new department must submit the Departmental Request Form indicating an Intra-University Transfer and verify that the objective for which the scholar was admitted will remain the same. A new Form DS-2019 will be issued to the Exchange Visitor for the new site of activity and any necessary changes in program end date and finances.

2) For transfers from another university to UofL: In addition to the Departmental Request Form, please submit a copy of the visitor's current Form DS-2019, Form I-94 information, visa page of the passport, and the J-1 Transfer-In Request Form releasing the scholar from their current university. Also, the sponsoring Department should verify that the primary objective at UofL will be the same as the scholar’s original objective indicated on their Form DS-2019.

3) For transfers from UofL to another institution: The Exchange Visitor must submit a completed J-1 Transfer Out Request Form which may be obtained from the International Center’s website. This form should be completed by a J-1 research scholar or student wishing to transfer program sponsorship from the University of Louisville to another sponsor. Transfers should be requested 30 days before the effective date of transfer and no later than one week prior to the end date of the current DS-2019.

The transfer institution’s J-1 Officer should also send an email note to the International Student Center to request the transfer, indicate maintenance of the Exchange Visitor’s objective, and provide the effective date of transfer and their SEVIS Program Number.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the International Center at 502-852-6604.

For additional information and forms, please visit the following websites:

Department of State: www.state.gov
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov