UMD: A Globally Connected University

J1 Scholar Application Process

J1 Scholar Application Process

The University of Maryland’s International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is authorized by the Department of State to be a designated sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program provides countless opportunities for foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, conduct research, demonstrate special skills, study or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.  The broader objectives of the program are to facilitate the exchange of ideas and scholarly research in a variety of fields between people of the United States and people of other countries and to promote increased mutual understanding.

J-1 Program Category and Duration

J-1 category

Minimum duration

Maximum duration

Research scholar or Professor

3 weeks

5 years

Short term scholar

No minimum

6 months


3 weeks

12 months

Step 1: Invitation or Offer Letter

You have been invited by the University of Maryland to come to campus to conduct research or teach.  You will receive an invitation or offer letter by email with the details of your visit.

Step 2: Eligibility

The hosting department will request the following documents.  These documents will be used to determine your eligibility for the visit and the J-1 program, which includes Foreign Visitor Screening.

  • Resume
  • Proof of degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD
  • Passport biographical page
  • Proof of funding (if applicable)
  • Proof of English proficiency-You 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
      • TOEFL with a minimum score of 80
      • 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
      • 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.

Step 3: iTerp

The department will submit a request for a J-1 DS-2019 on your behalf through the University of Maryland’s immigration database, called iTerp.   At the department’s request, the system will email you a link, login and password information.  You will complete the following forms in the iTerp system:

  • Biographical Information
  • Current Immigration Status
  • U.S. Immigration History
  • Health Insurance Requirement
  • Dependent Spouse and Children
  • Notify My Department of Form Completion

J-1 Program Start Dates: ISSS plans for an average of 2 - 3 months to process the J-1 DS-2019, book a visa appointment, U.S. consulate’s administrative processing, receive the visa and make travel and housing arrangements for your stay in the U.S.

Once the request is completed, the department will forward the iTerp request to ISSS for processing.  ISSS requires 2 weeks for processing.

Step 4: J-1 DS-2019

Your department will send you the J-1 DS-2019 and pre-arrival packet via express mail.

  1. Review the DS-2019 for errors
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee of $220 online at least five days before the visa interview
  3. Complete the DS-160 visa application form and schedule your visa interview at a US Consulate We recommend that you wait to receive your J-1 DS-2019 in the mail before scheduling your visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate.
  4. U.S. Consulate will issue your visa and place it in your passport. Review the visa for any errors.
  5. Visa wait times vary from country to country.
  6. Finalize your travel arrangements