UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD: A Globally Connected University

J-1 Scholar Application Process

J-1 Scholar Application Process

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 a step-by-step description of the process for sponsoring a J-1 exchange visitor (EV) in the following categories: Research Scholar, Short-Term scholar, Professor or Specialist categories.

You may find the Data Collection Form and the J-1 Checklist helpful in beginning this process. 

Step 1:  Export Compliance Office 

Step 2: Faculty Affairs 

  • Prepare Professional Track Faculty agreement/contract

  • Review academic credentials for eligibility

Step 3: PHR

  1. Department creates PHR record including

    • Export Screening 

    • Employee Biographical Information

    • Education

    • Paid or non paid appointment

  2. Department routes PHR appointment for approval to VP/Provost

  3. ISSS will only issue the J-1 DS-2019 form after the appointment has gone through proper approval channels and routes to ISSS.  ISSS will hold the appointment.

Step 4: The Department submits a J-1 Request in iTerp

  1. Complete the “J-1 Request for Immigration Sponsorship. The following will help the departments create the request. 

  2. ISSS will check to see that the appointment has been approved and the start date is feasible. 

  3. ISSS approves the e-form, granting access to department e-forms. 

  4. Department completes e-forms and gives Scholar access to iTerp

  5. Scholar completes e-forms

  6. Department is notified the scholar has completed the e-forms and the department submits the request to ISSS for review.

  7. ISSS reviews request and issues J-1 DS-2019

Upon receiving the request, ISSS will review and determine eligibility.  If the EV  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.  

Step 5: J1 DS-2019 is mailed & EV applies for visa

  • Department will mail the J-1 DS-2019 form and pre-arrival packet to the exchange visitor via express courier. 

  • The Department may elect to provide ISSS with an Fedex label by email and ISSS will send it out directly to the EV. The department should include the international customs forms for international shipments.

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

  • Review the DS-2019 for errors

  • Pay the SEVIS fee of $220 online, at least five days before the visa interview

  • Complete the DS-160 visa application form

  • Schedule and appear at visa appointment at the US Embassy/Consulate by selecting the region

  • 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.

  • ISSS will invite the EV to a pre-arrival orientation. Pre-arrival Orientations are held monthly.

  • EV will be granted access to pre-arrival videos on housing, insurance and the visa application process

Step 6: EV enters U.S. and arrives on campus

When the EV arrives to campus, 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 check-in with their faculty host. 

  2. The administrative contact in the department should provide visitors their Faculty Identification number (FID) and UID 

  3. Documents Check: Exchange Visitors are required to submit their immigration documents electronically in 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

  4. Appointment approval: ISSS reviews check-in documents, validates J-1 records in SEVIS and approves PHR appointments.

  5. Orientation: 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.