The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is meant to facilitate international exchange between the U.S. and other countries. The J-1 category of Non-degree Student is used to sponsor individuals who have received an invitation from a JHU faculty member and are admitted to a JHU school as a visiting student. This includes designations of Visiting Undergraduate Student, Visiting Graduate Student, Visiting Graduate Scholar and Exchange Student. Acceptable activities in the J-1 Non-degree Student category include coursework, research or a combination of the two undertaken by an individual who is a full-time degree seeking student at an institution of higher education abroad. The J-1 Non-degree Student category has a minimum duration of three weeks and a maximum of two years. If a specific situation requires a shorter or longer duration of J-1 visiting student sponsorship, please contact the OIS to see if other options exist.
Admission and Enrollment Requirements
All J-1 visiting students must secure a letter of agreement from a JHU faculty host and gain admission to a JHU school as a visiting student. Please contact Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions for questions about the admissions process for Visiting and Exchange Students on the Homewood campus.
J-1 visiting students are required to enroll full-time in either coursework or research credits each term. The start and end dates of J-1 sponsorship must fall within term dates.
Requesting J-1 Visiting Student Sponsorship
J-1 sponsorship requests must be initiated by the host department AFTER the student has been admitted. Please make sure to review the process flow chart and contact the OIS if you have any questions before proceeding. When requesting J-1 sponsorship, it is important to pick a start date that will allow time for visa processing and travel. While there are many variables to consider and visa processing times can vary greatly, we recommend allowing at least 90 days from the date the student is admitted in SIS to the date the student is expected to start their program at JHU. If an unrealistic start date is requested, the OIS will amend the date and inform the department.
The request is completed via an electronic process in iHopkins. Host department staff initiating a request must have attended a Visiting Student training and been granted access to the iHopkins system. Additional resources and the letter of agreement template can be found in OIS SharePoint in the J-1 Visiting Student Resources folder. The host department will need to upload the following items to the J-1 visiting student request:
- Letter of Agreement from Faculty host that follows required template. If JHU funding will be provided, this letter must indicate the amount of funding
- Documentation to fulfill the English Language Proficiency requirement.
The J-1 visiting student must demonstrate at least than $2,000/month for individual living expenses by uploading documentation to their request form in iHopkins. Funding may be in the form of JHU funding, funding from outside organizations, government funding, or personal funds.
If JHU is providing funding, the amount should be stated in the letter of agreement. If personal funds will be used to support the J-1 visiting student's stay, a personal bank statement can be provided to show proof of the availability of funds. The bank statement must have the student's name visible and should be dated within the last 3 months. If the funding comes from a family member, an affidavit of support must also be attached. Documentation of funding from all other sources should be provided on institutional letterhead with the amount of funding and dates during which the funding will be available. If any documents are not in English, an official English translation must be attached. If an unofficial translation is provided, attach the Certification by Translator Form. Translations using online services such as Google Translate will not be accepted. All foreign currency documentation must be converted to US dollars. Include documentation of the currency conversion (www.oanda.com is a useful site for this).
J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required to carry health insurance for the duration of their J-1 program that meets the minimum requirements as mandated by the US Department of State.
Visiting students must purchase JHU Student Health Insurance coverage. Waivers will not be allowed for any outside insurance coverage. For additional information regarding the University Health Insurance plan please contact your school's Registrar's Office. The OIS cannot assist with any health insurance related questions.
J-2 Dependents do not have to purchase the University's Health Insurance Plan, but they must have health insurance coverage that meets the minimum Department of State requirements throughout the duration of their stay in the US.
J-1 Extension Request for Visiting Students
If a visiting student requires additional time to complete research or coursework, the student must submit a J-1 extension request to the OIS no later than 30 days in advance of the current DS-2019 end date. Visiting Students in the J-1 Non-degree category are limited to 24 months of participation in their program.
To Apply For an Extension
- Obtain an updated Letter of Agreement from the faculty host that includes the dates of the extension request.
- Complete the Health Insurance Pledge.
- Gather documentation of financial support based on Funding Requirements above.
- Obtain your most recent form I-94 arrival /departure form. To obtain the I-94, visit the Customs and Border Protection Website.
- Submit the Letter of Agreement, Health Insurance Pledge, financial documents and I-94 to the OIS. To submit your extension request:
- Go to http://ihopkins.jhu.edu
- Click "Login" under "Active JHED Login."
- Login with your JHED ID and password.
- Once logged in, click on "J-1 Student Services" in the menu on the left, then click on "Submit a Request."
- You will be required to upload all the documents as one PDF file.
OIS is processing SOM Research Trainee appointments as J-1 Non-Degree students (where they were formerly processed in the J-1 Scholar category). This change was necessitated by the implementation of the university-wide Visitor Policy, which requires Research Trainees to be processed as “visiting students”. OIS is working to develop a process. At this time:
- Department Admins with access to iHopkins should continue to submit the same J-1 Exchange Visitor Request eForm and follow the J-1 Scholar process (until further notice. *At this time, the J-1 Visiting Student eForm should not be used*)
- Departments should carefully review the requirements of the J-1 non-degree category and determine whether this is the best category for the purpose of the individual’s visit (considering intended length of stay and implications for future immigration benefits) as follows:
- Two-year limit on Research Trainee Appointments - Under J-1 regulations, the J-1 Non-degree student category carries a maximum duration of two years and cannot be extended. This time is inclusive of any period of Academic Training, (which does allow a student to continue their activity after completing a degree program—i.e. Research Trainee to Postdoc—but the total visit may not exceed two years)
- Must Be in Student Status (unless OIS Approves Academic Training)- J-1 Non-Degree Students may only hold this status for as long as they are considered to be in “student status” and enrolled in a degree program abroad. If the Student graduates from their program abroad, OIS must have previously approved Academic Training in order for them to continue their activities at Hopkins—or they must change to a different immigration status (if eligible). Please consult OIS about best options.
- Source of Funding- J-1 non-degree students must have substantial funding from a source other than personal funds. Students with 100% personal funds are not eligible for the J-1 non-degree category.
- Possible 12 month Waiting Period - If a visitor holds the J-1 Non-Degree Student status for a period of more than 6 months, they are subject to a 12 month bar. This bar prohibits their eligibility for sponsorship in the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor category for a full year following the last day of their J-1 Non-degree Student status. Departments wishing to transition Research Trainees into postdoctoral fellow appointments should contact OIS to discuss immigration options.
Please contact OIS with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.