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 positions included in this category are Postdoctoral Scholar and Professional Research Assistant. A J-1 Temporary Scholar Employee appointment must be offered at a rate comparable to that of similarly employed researchers or instructors in the hiring department. The maximum duration of participation as a temporary scholar employee through the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is five years. Under FSU policy, Postdoctoral Scholar positions are limited to four years. At a minimum, all temporary scholar employees must hold at least a bachelor's degree. 

Please review the J-1 Visa Restrictions to ensure that the planned activities, timing of the appointment, and the visitor’s background will allow employment in J-1 status.

If you are inviting an undergraduate intern, part-time paid visitor, or an unpaid visitor, see the Visiting Scholar page. 

If you are appointing an international employee who already has work authorization through the appointment ending date, a J-1 visa is not required and the following information does not apply. Examples could include an F-1 student enrolled at FSU, an individual with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or someone otherwise eligible for employment. 

Departments can proceed with the J-1 Scholar Request process below if offering a Postdoctoral Scholar or Professional Research Assistant position.

If the department is requesting J-1 sponsorship for another temporary, full-time research, teaching, or specialized position, before proceeding with the request process email the CGE J-1 Scholar Advisor, Jscholar@fsu.edu, and provide a description of the proposed responsibilities, length of stay, proposed remuneration, and job classification that will be in the offer letter. Then proceed with the J-1 Scholar Request process below after receiving approval from the CGE J-1 Scholar Advisor. 

The process of inviting a J-1 Scholar to FSU can take some time. The CGE review is only one part of it. This roadmap shows an overview of everything that is happening from the time you request RAMP Export Control Approval to the time the scholar can begin their program at FSU. 

J-1 Scholar Request Process and Instructions

  1. Inform the prospective temporary scholar about the J-1 English language proficiency requirements as soon as possible.
  2. Create a Postdoctoral Researcher offer letter or Professional Research Assistant offer letter (following your college’s procedures) and obtain university approval through the RAMP Export Control process (using the “Visa” Request Type; Temporary Scholar Employees are not Visiting Scholars).
    1. The offer letter should clarify that the offer is contingent upon university approval. We have sample letters for Postdoctoral Researchers and Professional Research Assistants
    2. For more than half-time positions other than Postdoc or Professional Research Assistant, the offer letter should include, at a minimum:
      1. a brief description of duties,
      2. the dates of employment (in month/day/year format),
      3. the minimum hours per week,
      4. compensation
      5. The following language regarding insurance and eligibility must be included:

        J-1 scholars receiving payment through Florida State University and appointed at a .75 full-time equivalency (FTE) or higher may be eligible to sign up for state health insurance benefits within 60 days of hire. Most of these health insurance plans meet the minimum requirements for accident and injury coverage for J-1 visa holders. However, the earliest a J-1 scholar would be eligible for state health insurance coverage to begin is the month following their hire date (i.e., if a J-1 is hired in January, the earliest that coverage could begin would be February or later). Enrollment in this benefit for the J-1 and any J-2 dependents must occur within 60 days of hire, even if the J-2 dependents will not arrive until after that date. Please note that the continuation of state health insurance benefits for those scholars appointed as OPS employees will be reviewed annually to ensure their average work hours exceed 30 hours per week. OPS scholars that do not meet the hours requirement may have state health insurance benefits discontinued for the following plan year.

        Since US government regulations mandate J-1 visa holders have medical insurance upon hire, J-1 scholars still need to obtain initial medical insurance meeting at least minimum J-1 requirements for medical accident and injury as well as medical evacuation and repatriation of remains for yourself and any J-2 dependents. Such insurance could be through a private short-term temporary policy until such state health insurance coverage begins. This initial short-term policy must cover dates up to 90 days from the start date of the J-1 program.

        Once enrolled in a state health insurance plan, the visitor must also purchase separate insurance meeting the minimum requirements for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains for the J-1 scholar and any accompanying J-2 dependents. This separate policy must include coverage for one year, beginning from the last date of the 90 day temporary insurance.

      Note: University Human Resources can assist with questions regarding appropriate verbiage for employee insurance, the amount to be paid for a particular position, and information regarding background checks.

  3. Submit a J-1 Scholar Request to the CGE (see Step-by-Step Guide for FSU Departments –J-1 Scholar Request for more information creating and submitting the e-form):
    1. Department representative or inviting faculty member logs into Nole Start with their FSUID and password to “Add a New Person” for anyone who does not already have an EMPLID and FSUID from previous FSU enrollment or employment. If the scholar does have an EMPLID and FSUID, choose J-1 Scholar. The EMPLID will be entered as the University ID.
    2. After selecting “J-1 Scholar Request” e-form, the department completes and submits the department section of the form before at least the number of days equal to the _Anticipated Start Date_ calculation:
      1. Screenshot of RAMP approval
      2. Offer letter
      3. If the temporary scholar employee has an MD degree, upload an additional letter from the Dean of the College of Medicine stating the following (required):

        Letter requirements:

        1. The program in which (name of physician) will participate is predominantly involved with observation, consultation, teaching, or research.
        2. Any incidental patient contact involving the alien physician will be under the direct supervision of a physician who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien and who is licensed to practice medicine in the State of Florida.
        3. The alien physician will not be given final responsibility for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
        4. Any activities of the alien physician will conform fully with the State licensing requirements and regulations for medical and health care professionals in the State in which the alien physician is pursuing the program.
        5. Any experience gained in this program will not be creditable towards any clinical requirements for medical specialty board certification.
    3. Temporary scholar employee automatically receives an email with a personal link to the J-1 Scholar Request form after the department submits their portion of the J-1 Scholar Request. The temporary scholar employee then completes their portion of the request form, uploading the following documents:
      1. Copy of their passport biographical information page
      2. Documentation of English language proficiency
      3. Curriculum Vita/Resume
      4. Documentation of required health insurance, including health insurance for any J-2 dependents. Insurance must meet U.S. Department of State J-1 Insurance requirements.
        1. Scholar must upload to the J-1 Request Form documentation of temporary insurance coverage valid for 90 days from their program Start Date for themselves and all J-2 dependents. Documentation must be a certificate of insurance, not just a card. 
        2. Upon arriving at FSU and completing the hiring process, the temporary scholar employee will be eligible for employee health insurance that meets the accident and injury coverage portion of U.S. Department of State requirements. This eligibility window is only for 60 days from the appointment start date.  After starting employment, obtaining an SSN, and enrolling in a Standard HMO or PPO (not High Deductible), the employee must provide documentation of enrollment in the FSU employer insurance, plus separately purchased, required, medical evacuation and repatriation coverage for one year, beginning from the last date of the 90 day temporary insurance. Documentation must be uploaded in Nole Start.
      5. Copies of passport biographical information pages for a spouse and/or children who will join the visitor in J-2 dependent (spouse, children) status.
      6. Evidence of additional funding if the salary offered by the department does not provide the minimum financial resources required for dependents’ living expenses:
        Minimum Financial Resources for Living Expenses
        Principal Visitor (PV) alone PV + 1 Dependent PV + 2 Dependent PV + 3 Dependent PV + 4 Dependent
        $2,248/month $3,040/month $3,833/month $4,625/month $5,417/month
        $26,973/year $36,482/year $45,991/year $55,500/year $65,009/year
  4. CGE processes a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for the temporary scholar employee and any accompanying dependents if the request is complete and meets the requirements.
  5. CGE works with the department or scholar to ship the DS-2019/s along with comprehensive instructions. Federal regulations do not allow the CGE to transmit an electronic copy of a DS-2019 form.
  6. Scholar (if abroad) uses the DS-2019 form to apply for a J-1 visa (J-2 visas for dependents) to use to enter the U.S. If the scholar is currently a J-1 scholar in the U.S., the CGE scholar advisor will communicate with the current program sponsor to manage the transfer of J-1 sponsorship to FSU.
  7. After arrival in the U.S., J-1 scholars MUST check in with the CGE scholar advisor within 7 days of arrival in the U.S. The scholar advisor must validate the J-1 immigration record in the federal SEVIS database.
  8. The scholar must attend a scholar orientation (notification of time and dates sent to the scholar by the CGE).
  9. Departments must notify the CGE scholar advisor, Jscholar@fsu.edu, if a scholar cannot arrive by the requested program start date.