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Scholars & ResearchersVisas for Scholars & Researchers


Research Scholars
The purpose of the J-1 visitor program is to foster the exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals and to stimulate international collaborative teaching, lecturing, and research efforts. The exchange of professors and research scholars promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

Eligibility: An individual may be selected for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a professor or research scholar subject to the following conditions:

• The participant must not be a candidate for a tenure track position
• The participant has not been physically present in the United States as a J-1 nonimmigrant for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement, but a few exceptions apply.

Location: Professors or research scholars must conduct their exchange activity at the site of activity identified in SEVIS, which may be the location of the exchange visitor program sponsor or the site of a third party facilitating the exchange with permission of the Responsible Officer. An exchange visitor may also engage in activities at other locations if such activities constitute occasional lectures or consultations as defined below.

Occasional Lectures: Professors and research scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations, if authorized to do so by his or her sponsor. Such lectures and consultations must be incidental to the visitor’s primary program activities. If wages or other remuneration are received by the exchange visitor for such activities, the exchange visitor must act as an independent contractor.

Duration: A professor or research scholar may be allowed to participate for the length of time necessary to complete his or her program, provided such time does not exceed five years.

Short-term Scholars
J-1 visas for short-term scholars are for scholars coming to the United States for a short period of time to lecture, observe, consult, and to participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, study tours, professional meetings, or similar types of educational and professional activities.

Location: The short-term scholar shall participate at the conferences, workshops, seminars, or other events or activities as stated on his or her Form DS-2019. A participant may also lecture or consult at institutions not listed on the Form DS-2019 if his or her Responsible Officer issues a written authorization of such activity.

Duration: A J-1 short-term scholar visa is normally issued for four-month periods with a maximum six months allowed.

If you wish to study/work on a J visa in Colorado or elsewhere in the United States, contact Denver immigration attorney Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us at 303-322-2117.

J-1 Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Depending on the circumstances, J-1 visa holders and their family members may be subject to a two-year home residence requirement, which limits that person’s ability to change status to a different type of temporary visa in the United States and to apply for permanent residence (green card) until either the two-year residence requirement is fulfilled by returning to the home country or last country of residence or applying for a waiver.

The following J-1 aliens are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement:

1. Those who are financially supported by their home government, the government of their last residence, or the United States government;

2. Those whose skills have been determined by the United States Information Agency to be in short supply in their home countries, aka the “Skills List”; or

3. Those whose exchange programs involve graduate medical education or clinical training. The requirement is fulfilled by the alien’s return to, and actual physical presence in, the home country for a period of two years; this presence may be cumulative and not continuous. The “home country” is defined as the country of nationality, or the country where the alien last had a residence.

There are waivers available for the physical presence requirement but it is always recommended to seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney about whether one is actually subject to the requirement and if so, what waivers will be most applicable.

To obtain a J waiver, contact Denver immigration lawyer Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us or at 303-322-2117.

Waivers for J-1 Visa Holders:
No Objection, Interested Government Agency, Extreme Hardship, Conrad (Physicians Only)

Waivers or pardons of the two-year home country physical presence requirement are possible under the following circumstances:

Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen or permanent resident alien spouse or child
Persecution to the exchange alien on the basis of race, religion, or political opinion
Recommendation of a waiver based on its being in the national interest by an interested government agency, including a state public health department
“No Objection” Statement: Available to anyone except foreign medical graduates engaged in graduate medical education or training and likely those funded by the U.S. government
The two-year home residence requirement also applies to any J-2 spouse or dependent who accompanied or followed the J-1 to the United States during the exchange program that subjected the J-1 to the requirement.

Determining which waiver or waivers are most applicable to your situation should prompt you to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation. Contact Denver immigration attorney Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us at 303-322-2117.

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Law Office of Catherine Brown
111 N. Public Rd.
Lafayette CO 80026