J-1 Visiting Scholars

Welcome to the Resources for J-1 Visiting Scholars landing page! This section and its subsections (see lefthand sidebar) contain a wealth of information about the J-1 Exchange Visit or program for those participating in th program here at UNC-Charlotte.


The Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program was established by the U.S. Department of State to provide opportunities for scholars from other countries to come to the U.S. to participate in educational and cultural programs. The primary goals of the Exchange Visitor Program are to allow participants the opportunity to engage broadly with Americans, share their culture, strengthen their English language abilities, and learn new skills or build skills that will help the individual participants and the citizens of the U.S. and the Exchange Visitors’ countries. Exchange visitors on private sector programs may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. UNC Charlotte is recognized by the U.S. Department of State as an Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor.

Prospective scholars to UNC Charlotte will receive J-1 visa status for their programs. Accompanying dependents (spouse and unmarried children of 21 years of age or younger) will obtain J-2 visa status. All U.S. visitors holding J-1 visa status are referred to as Exchange Visitors (EV).


Exchange Visitors to UNC Charlotte will participate in one of the following 5 categories: Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Specialist, and Student (College/University).

The specific category to be used for an individual’s visit is based on a number of complex factors, including proposed duration of stay, proposed activities at the university, qualifications, and other factors.

Before the ISSO can issue Form DS-2019 for an exchange visitor, written verification of financial resources must be provided either in the form of a UNC Charlotte appointment letter or a guarantee from another source (government, institution, personal). All documentation must be on letterhead, in English, and in U.S. Dollars.

Minimum monthly support (current as of 12/2022 and subject to change):

$1,700 – for scholar

$700 – for spouse

$400 – for each child


The Two Year Home Residency Requirement, often referred to as “212(e)” for the section of government code where the rule is written, is a condition attached to some Exchange Visitors (EVs) who receive J visa status when:

  • the Exchange Visitor received funds from the U.S. government, his/her own government, or an international organization funded by government;
  • the education, training, or skills that the Exchange Visitor is pursuing in the U.S. appear on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for his/her country published by the Department of State.
  • the visitor is a foreign medical graduate receiving training in the U.S. under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

EVs who become subject to the Two-year Home Residence Requirement cannot change their visa status from J-1 to H (temporary worker), L (intra-company transferee), or an immigrant visa (“green card”), unless they reside in the country of their last permanent residence for two years after completing their J-1 program(s) in the U.S.

EVs who become subject, but, for whatever reason, do not wish to complete the residence requirement may apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of State during or after the completion of the program. Information and guidelines are available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange/waiver-of-the-exchange-visitor.html.


The J-1 Exchange Visitor program, which relies on a non-immigrant visa status, is meant to allow a finite period of stay in the U.S. For this reason, certain rules of the program prevent visitors from “stringing together” multiple 5 year programs (e.g. someone attempting to do several 5 year Research Scholar programs in a row, for a total of 20 years–this is not possible). Specifically, because the Research Scholar/Professor categories allow the most duration for a program, visitors who are in this category, or were, are subject to the following participation “bars”:

24-month Research Scholar / Professor Bar: J-1 Exchange Visitors (and their J-2 dependents) in the Professor or Research Scholar category are subject to the 24-month bar. This means that the EV will not be able to begin a new J-1 program as Professor or Research Scholar until 24 months after their current Professor or Research Scholar Program ends.

12-month Research Scholar/ Professor Bar: J-1 Exchange Visitors (and their J-2 dependents) in any J-1 category other than Professor or Research Scholar (e.g. Degree Student, Specialist) for more than 6 months are subject to the 12-month bar. This means that the EV will not be able to begin a new J-1 program as Professor or Research Scholar until 12 months after their current J-1 program ends.

Exceptions to this rule exist for those Exchange Visitors who are transferring programs or who have been present in J status in the Short-Term Scholar category.

There is no way to waive the participation bars.