Visiting J-1 Researchers and Scholars


University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) hosts international scholars and professors from around the world each year. Visiting scholars and faculty come to University of Alaska Anchorage for collaboration in their fields of research or teaching.

J-1 Visas for Visiting International Scholars and Professors

UAA is a sponsoring institution for the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, which is monitored by the Department of State (DOS). Prospective scholars may stay from a few weeks to up to five years and must at minimum hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in their field of research or teaching.

The J-1 scholar and professor categories are not appropriate for full-time study at UAA. Individuals who desire to pursue a course of study should pursue a student visa status.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Category Descriptions

Professor: an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor. (22 CFR 64.2(e) )

Research scholar: an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor. (22 CFR 62.4(f) )

Short term scholar: a professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at the research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. (Regulation 22 CFR 62.4(b).) Short-term scholars may also participate in collaborative research.

 J-1 Exchange Visitor eligibility

An individual may be selected for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a professor or research scholar subject to the following conditions:
  • (i) The participant shall not be a candidate for tenure track position; and
  • (ii) The participant has not been physically present in the United States as a nonimmigrant pursuant to the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J) (in J status) for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement set forth on his or her Form DS-2019, unless:
(A) The participant is transferring to the sponsor's program as provided in Sec. 514.42; or 

(B) The participant's presence in the United States was of less than six months duration; or

(C) The participant's presence in the United States was pursuant to a Short-term scholar exchange activity as authorized by Sec. 514.21.

Prior to reapplying for entry into the United States, J-1 scholars are often required by law to return to their home country for two years to use the skills and knowledge they have gained.

Hosting International Scholars and Professors

UAA departments interested in hosting a J-1 scholar must complete the International Visiting Scholar Request Form and submit it to International Faculty and Staff Services, Human Resources for review. Upon approval, the department should contact International Student Services (http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/iss) for forms to be completed by the visiting scholar and requirements from the sponsoring department.

Download Visiting Scholar or Professor Request Form

The Hosting Process

  1. Department completes International Visiting Scholar Request Form and forwards to John C. Bhend in HR. Departments should submit applications six months prior to scholar start date – three months prior at the absolute minimum.
  2. Upon approval from International Faculty and Staff Services, the department should contact International Student Services for forms to be completed by the visiting scholar and requirements from the sponsoring department.
  3. ISS ensures that documentation is a adequate for compliance with Department ofState regulations and issues a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility issued through SEVIS.
  4. ISS makes available for the scholar or professor a DS-2019 signed by the University of Alaska Anchorage SEVIS official(s), department’s letter of offer or appointment, and information on how to apply for a J-1 visa.  The department may choose to pick up the materials to send or provide account information to which courier service can be charged.
  5. If outside the US, scholar or professor applies for a J-1 visa at a US Consulate or Embassy overseas and undergoes an interview. If already inside the US, scholar or professor must consult with ISS about possibility of changing status or sponsor. The SEVIS I-901 fee (currently $180) must be paid before the visa interview.  J visa applicants should bring proof of the fee payment to their visa interview.  SEVIS fee information will be included in the scholar’s DS-2019 packet.
  6. If outside the US, the scholar or professor applies for entry into the US with J-1 visa and the DS-2019 at a US port of entry. Upon entry, the J-1 scholar or professor will receive an I-94 card marked “J-1”.
  7. Upon arrival at UAA, J-1 scholar or professor must check in with ISS within 10 days of start date on DS-2019 form. Failure to do so will jeopardize the individual’s legal status in the US. The Scholar will then check in with Human Resources with a completed the Affiliate Appointment or Term Faculty Appointment.
Affiliate Appointments: Please use the template from the SWLR website Affiliate Appointment letter. Be sure to include a paragraph indicating specifically what the scholar will be doing at UAA.

Paid Scholars: Please use the Term Faculty Appointment letter from the SWLR website, but include an additional paragraph detailing the individuals’ roles and responsibilities at UAA.

The department is expected to maintain professional contact with the scholar while they are at UAA by offering access to the department through invitations to meetings and events, and for the scholar to sit-in on occasional courses

Arrival and Departure – 30 Day Grace Periods Before and After Scholar Dates

J-1 Scholars may enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date on their DS-2019 forms. They also have an additional 30-day grace period following the end date of their DS-2019 forms to remain in the US and prepare for departure. If a scholar departs the United States during the 30-day grace period at the end of the program, the scholar has ended his or her J-1 program and may not return to the US as a J-1 visitor.

If a new J-1 scholar will be delayed or late and plan to enter the United States more than a week after the start date on the DS-2019 form, please contact Cecile Mitchell or Doni Williams at ISS immediately. It may be necessary to change the start date on the documentation or in SEVIS. Failure to do so may jeopardize the scholar’s ability to enter the US in J-1 status.

Arrival Check-In (Mandatory)

Upon arrival in the US, J-1 scholars must check in by visiting Doni Williams in the ISS office with their local address and phone number, DS-2019, passport, and proof of health insurance for themselves and any dependents. Scholars are required to check in at ISS within 10 days of the start date of their program. The university is required by law to report scholars who fail to check in and failure to do so could result in the termination of their program, so this check-in is VERY important. If the scholar will not arrive within 10 days of the start of their program, it is important to notify Doni Williams in the ISS office

Extension of J-1 Status

J-1 status may be extended for up to five years. (Short-Term Scholars are limited to six months total program time.) Requests for extensions must be received at ISS at least 30 days prior to the end date on the scholar’s DS-2019. The UAA department must provide a new letter of appointment containing new dates of appointment, anticipated activities, and any department-provided funding. The J-1 visa holder should submit the original letter to ISS and a copy to Human Resources. Scholars must show proof of meeting minimum funding requirements for the duration of the extension. ISS will then extend the DS-2019 as provided by the Department of State.