Prospective J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was created by the U.S. Department of State to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. Participants approved to participate in the program will enter the U.S. as Exchange Visitors on a J-1 visa status.
J-1 Categories

Texas A&M University (TAMU) sponsors four categories under the J-1 Exchange Visitor program:
  • Student Intern:   Objectives are for foreign college and university students to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience.  Student interns may participate in an internship program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to 12 months for each foreign degree/major.
  • Short-Term Scholar:  Objectives can be to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Short-term scholars will come to the U.S. for a short visit and have no plans to continue beyond the 6-month limit. Visiting Short-term scholars may stay in the U.S. anywhere from 1 day to 6 months.
  • Professor:  The primary purpose is to teach, lecture, observe, or consult. The professor may also engage in research and participate in occasional lectures if authorized by the program sponsor. Visiting Professors may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs.
  • Research Scholar:   This category is for an individual whose primary purpose is to perform research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project.  Visiting Research Scholars may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs. They may not change their objective in the U.S.

Prior participation in a J program may affect your ability to participate in future J-1 programs. Contact our office at (979)862-1719 or if you have questions about this.
Application Process
You begin the process by contacting the Texas A&M University or Texas A&M University System member department of interest. Immigration Services for Faculty & Scholars (ISFS) will only accept J-1 requests directly from sponsoring departments. If your invitation request is approved and the host department generates an invitation letter, the department will request and collect all requisite documents and information from you and forward your invitation packet to our office. Once your request is approved by our office, we will process your initial Form DS-2019 and will mail the form along with important information to the address you will provide on the nonimmigration questionnaire. The form DS-2019 or “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form will allow you to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad in order to obtain a J visa to enter the U.S. The form will contain your biographical information and information about your designated sponsor or host department. The DS-2019 also provides a short description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate cost of the program. Note that the issuance of the J visa is at the discretion of Consular Officers at U.S. embassies and consulates.
Documentation Required for J Program
It is important that you provide up-to-date documents, i.e., valid passports, etc.  All documentation should be gathered according to the checklist and then forwarded by the hosting department to ISFS.  Exchange Visitors participating in the Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar and Professor categories should refer to the 
Documentation Checklist for J-1 Scholars.  If you will be visiting as a Student Intern, refer to the Documentation Checklist for J-1 Student Interns.

J-1 Operational Fee
ISFS charges a $350 operational fee to support the services our office provides to sponsor and host J-1 exchange visitors at Texas A&M University.

This one-time fee will be charged for every new complete J-1 visa sponsorship application. The fee will not apply to J-1 program extensions or J-2 dependents. If you come as an employee (on payroll) then the hosting department will pay the fee. If you come as a non-employee, ISFS will charge you the fee unless the hosting department is willing to pay the fee for you. The fee will be collected at the time we approve the request and are ready to issue and send you the form DS-2019.

The Health Insurance Requirement for J-1 Visitors and their J-2 Dependents
As an J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are required by the US Department of State to carry medical insurance and evacuation/repatriation for the duration of their J-1 program at Texas A&M University. You must also carry medical insurance for all of your accompanying J-2 dependents

Minimum insurance coverage requirements include:
  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person,  per accident/illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of you to your home country in the amount of $50,000
  • Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident/illness
  • Co-insurance not to exceed 25% of the covered benefits per accident/illness

The policy must be backed by either the full faith and credit of your home country government OR the company providing the insurance must meet minimum rating requirements established by the U.S. Department of State (an A.M. Best rating of “A-“ or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-1” or above, a Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above).
Health insurance may be available to you in the following ways:
  • Home country insurance coverage with the policy satisfying all minimum requirements listed above
  • Home country insurance coverage with supplementary U.S. coverage
  • Full insurance coverage from a U.S. insurance company
It is your responsibility to ensure that you will be properly insured while in the U.S. by contacting the health insurance company and making sure that your policy/plan meets the federal guidelines. Read the policy information carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions before you buy.
Exchange visitors who will be put in a paid position at Texas A&M University (TAMU), Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) or Texas A&M AgriLife will be required to enroll in the TAMU-sponsored insurance plan (A&M Care J) and should contact their future employer for information about insurance benefits.
Acceptable documentation of health insurance coverage includes either a copy of the insurance policy certificate (for example an insurance card) listing the name of the insured person and effective dates of coverage or a copy of a completed insurance policy enrollment with evidence of payment.
Willful failure to carry insurance is considered to be a violation of the Exchange Visitor Program and will result in immediate termination of your participation in the program. Texas A&M will report your violation of lawful status to the Department of Homeland Security and you will be required to leave the U.S.