J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.”  [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright - Hayes Act) of 1961]

As a J-1 Program Sponsor, Florida State University can invite J-1 Exchange Visitors, often referred to as scholars, to the university for the purpose of teaching, lecturing, conducting research, observing, or demonstrating special skills. The exchange visitor’s program must include components of cultural and educational exchange. Exchange visitors can be supported by external or personal funds, or they can be employed by FSU. Although J-1 status allows employment, the primary purpose of the program is not employment, but rather, cultural, and educational exchange.

After the department and the proposed exchange visitor complete all steps of the invitation process, the Center for Global Engagement issues the DS-2019 form that invited individuals use to obtain a J-1 visa (J-2 visa for dependent family members) for entry to the U.S. or for transfer to FSU from another J-1 program sponsor.

Florida State University hosts the following types of J-1 scholars. The invitation process depends on the purpose of the visit, funding, and proposed length of stay.


Visiting Scholars

A Visiting Scholar is an individual who comes to FSU to temporarily engage in research or creative activity at the invitation of an FSU faculty or staff member working in the same field of endeavor.

A J-1 Visiting Scholar will have a courtesy (no payment) appointment, or up to a half-time appointment. Any appointment must be offered at a rate comparable to that of similarly employed researchers. The maximum duration of participation as a Visiting Scholar at FSU is from one to two years, depending on funding; please see FSU Policy 3-100 to read the entire FSU Visiting Scholar Policy for more information.

Read the overview memo on Visiting Scholars highlighting the December 2020 changes to the FSU Visiting Scholar Policy. FSU faculty members intending to invite a visiting scholar, or the human resources representative in the academic department assisting with such an invitation, please click here. You will be able to access the procedures and template invitation letters for both unpaid and paid visiting scholars.

If you want to invite an international undergraduate student to participate in research at FSU, you will invite the student as a J-1 Student Intern. All international undergraduate researchers are invited as Visiting Scholars, regardless of FTE.

Departments must contact the Center for Global Engagement (Jscholar@fsu.edu) prior to changing an exchange visitor’s status from Visiting Scholar to Temporary Scholar Employee, or vice versa.


Temporary Scholar Employees

A temporary scholar employee is an individual selected by a department to fill a full-time, temporary, research, teaching, or specialized position. The most common position included in this category is postdoctoral scholar. A J-1 temporary scholar employee appointment must be offered at a rate comparable to that of similarly employed researchers or instructors. The maximum duration of participation as a temporary scholar employee through the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is five years.

  • Go to our Temporary Scholar Employees page for information and instructions on the process of requesting J-1 sponsorship for a postdoctoral scholar.
  • Email the CGE scholar advisor, Jscholar@fsu.edu, to inquire about FSU’s J-1 sponsorship of international candidates for other full-time, temporary research, teaching, or specialized positions. Include a description of the proposed duties, the length of stay, proposed remuneration, and job classification. After the CGE verifies that the proposed activity is appropriate for the J-1 visa, see instructions at our Temporary Scholar Employees page for information and instructions on the process of requesting J-1 sponsorship for a temporary scholar employee.

Departments must contact the Center for Global Engagement (Jscholar@fsu.edu) prior to changing an exchange visitor’s status from Temporary Scholar Employee to Visiting Scholar or vice versa.


Fulbright Researchers

Fulbright researchers are a subset of visiting scholars who receive funding from the U.S. State Department and whose immigration status is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Click here for more information.


J-1 Restrictions

U.S. Department of State regulations can restrict the CGE’s ability to issue a DS-2019 form for some proposed activities or programs. Certain regulations can also prevent a potential visitor from being eligible to successfully obtain a J-1 visa.  Click here for more information.


J-1 Insurance

U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor regulations require participants and dependent family members to have continuous health insurance coverage from the program start date to the program end date. A prospective exchange visitor must provide evidence of health insurance that meets J-1 program requirements before the CGE can issue the DS-2019 form required for a J-1 visa or for a transfer from another J-1 program sponsor. Click here for more information.

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