UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD: A Globally Connected University

J-1 Scholar Application Process

J-1 Scholar Application Process

Steps for Bringing in a J-1 Exchange Visitor

The process of requesting a J-1 DS-2019 begins when an academic department decides to sponsor a foreign national for an exchange visitor program.  Departments will find below the processing requirements and procedures for sponsoring a J-1 exchange visitor (EV) in the following categories: Research Scholar, Short-Term scholar, Professor or Specialist categories.

Note: Before requesting an immigration document, if required, please screen the foreign national through Export Control.

Step 1:  Faculty Affairs and ORAA Foreign Visitor Screening

*Please note for nonpaid visitors, the process of Foreign Visitor Screening and offer letter is done in one step. The process begins by going to the Faculty Handbook website.

Step 2:  English Proficiency

The J-1 Exchange Visitor must possess English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis and to successfully participate in their program.   English language proficiency can be verified through one of the following:

  • English Language Tests
    • English language test - TOEFL with a minimum score of 80
    • English language test - IELTS with a minimum score of 5.5
    • TOEIC Listening and Reading Test with a minimum score of 400 on listening and 400 on reading
    • NEW! Duolingo English Test with a minimum score of 75
  • English Proficiency Interview can be conducted by one of the following:
  • Exceptions for citizens of English Speaking Countries
  • Scholars who have received a degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. (with the exception of Puerto Rico) or a nationally recognized university in one of the countries on the list of English Speaking Countries do not need to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores.  This exemption also applies to scholars who are currently studying for a degree at an institution in the U.S. or one of the countries on the list of English Speaking Countries, but will receive their degree before beginning their appointment at the University of Maryland.
We do not accept foreign-based evaluation tools as proof of English proficiency, for we are unable to determine if the level of proficiency is equivalent to the minimums of the accepted evaluations listed above. It is important that all J-1 Exchange Visitors meet the same standards of English proficiency so they can successfully participate in their program, function in the U.S. on a daily basis, follow lab safety rules, and handle any emergency that may arise.

Step 3: PHR

For paid and nonpaid J-1 visitors:

  1. Department creates PHR record including
    • Foreign Visitor Screening
    • Employee Information
    • Education
    • Appointment
  2. Department routes PHR appointment for approval
    Note: ISSS will only issue the J-1 DS-2019 form after the appointment has gone through proper approval channels and routes to ISSS.

For J-1 visitors receiving honorarium/fellowship:

  1. Follow UHR’s Honorarium/Fellowship policy and process
  2. Foreign Visitor Screening
  3. Provide ISSS with a letter from Department Chair
    1. Dates of visit
    2. Honorarium/fellowship amount
    3. Purpose of the visit

Step 4: The department submits a J-1 request in iTerp

The following will help the department to create the request. 

*Department staff must receive iTerp training before access is granted. To schedule a training please contact Siemy Khan.

Step 5: ISSS reviews the DS-2019 request and issues the DS-2019 form using iTerp

On receiving the request, ISSS will review and determine eligibility.  If the foreign national is eligible, ISSS will prepare and issue a J-1 DS-2019.  Processing of DS-2019 form can take approximately two weeks. ISSS will notify the department when the form is ready.  Department will mail the J-1 DS-2019 form and pre-arrival packet to the exchange visitor via express courier.

Note:  Exchange Visitors should wait until they receive the DS-2019 form before booking a visa appointment at the US embassy.

Step 6: J-1 Exchange Visitor receives the J-1 DS-2019.

Once the exchange visitor receives the DS-2019 form he/she will:

The US embassy will issue a visa stamp in EV’s passport. Visa wait times vary from country to country. Some visitors go through additional clearance called Administrative Processing which adds 3-4 weeks to the visa application process. If administrative processing is not required, ISSS estimates an average of one month for a visitor to book a visa appointment, receive the visa, and make travel and housing arrangements for his or her stay in the U.S.

Step 7: J-1 Exchange Visitor arrives to the University of Maryland.

When the visitors arrive, they must complete the check in process within 30 days of their program start date as listed below:

  1. J-1 Exchange Visitors must report to the hosting department for human resources and payroll processing and to check in and let departments know they have arrived to the university. They must bring their immigration documents (i.e. passport, visa, entry stamp (in passport), I-94* and DS-2019) to this meeting. The administrative contact in the department should provide visitors their Faculty Identification number (FID) and UID and inform visitors to bring the numbers with them to the J-1 scholar orientation.
    *If visitors require assistance accessing their I-94, they should come to ISSS during walk-in hours, Monday-Thursday, 1:30-4:00 pm.
  2. Exchange Visitors are required to submit their immigration documents electronically on iTerp.  This is a requirement of the Department of State (DOS). The following documents are required for the check-in:
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • I-94 electronic record, if available
    • DS-2019 form
    • Health insurance, if available
    • If applicable, dependent’s passport, visa, I-94 card and DS-2019 form
  3. ISSS reviews check-in documents, validates J-1 record in SEVIS and approves PHR appointment.
  4. Exchange Visitors must attend an ISSS J-1 scholar orientation session. ISSS hosts J-1 Scholar orientation every other Thursday at 10:00 am, except holidays. Currently, orientation is being held virtually; a link to register will be emailed to the scholar upon approval of their check-in documents.