J-1 Scholar Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have temporary academic appointment at Northeastern University (examples: postdoctoral research associate, research scientist, visiting scholar, etc.)
  • Must have at least a bachelor’s degree with appropriate experience in the field in which research/teaching is to be conducted.
  • Must have adequate financial support for all living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying dependents (family members).
  • Must maintain health insurance for illness or accidents while at Northeastern.
  • Must have sufficient English language ability to engage in J-1 program activities and function in daily life in the U.S.

DS-2019 Request Process

Your DS-2019 Form, also known as a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, indicates that Northeastern has invited you to perform scholarly activities and that we have created a record for you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). DS-2019 application process involves the following steps:

  • The host Northeastern department determines that you have the appropriate academic background, funding support, and English language proficiency and offers you an academic appointment with the university.
  • The Office of Global Services (OGS) contact (SEVIS Contact) for the college works with you and your host department at Northeastern via the e-form process to collect all the required paperwork for the OGS so that we can prepare your Form DS-2019.
  • When your Form DS-2019 is ready, your college mails it to you.
  • Once you receive your DS-2019, you may start the visa application process.

The DS-2019 includes dates and information about your intended scholar activities. You can find your unique SEVIS ID number in the upper-right corner of your Form DS-2019. If you have dependent family members (husband or wife, children under the age of 21) who will be traveling to the US with you, they will receive their own Form(s) DS-2019 to assist with their application(s) for J-2 visa(s).

If all the information on the form is correct, sign your name in the appropriate space on the form. If you have J-2 dependents, who are receiving their own DS-2019 forms, they must sign their own forms (except children under the age of 14; you must sign their DS-2019 forms for them).

Please present Form DS-2019 with other required documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply for your J-1 visa. You should also present these forms to the Immigration Inspector at the U.S. Port of Entry when you arrive in the U.S.


Transferring In from another institution

Scholars who are currently in J-1 Scholar status at another U.S. educational institution may be able to transfer their sponsorship to Northeastern. The new Northeastern DS-2019 Form application process is the same as for new scholars coming from overseas (see DS-2019 Application Process section above), except that it will also involve the scholar’s current U.S. institution.Please note: transfer-in J-1 scholars will not be issued a Form DS-2019 from Northeastern until the OGS receives and approves the DS-2019 request and the scholar’s academic appointment at Northeastern and the SEVIS record release dates are reached.

Understanding J-1 status

Health insurance requirements

All J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance that meets specific requirements. You are able to pick insurance that fits your needs and your dependents, however, the insurance must meet the below stated minimum requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses in the amount of $50,000 associated with the medical evacuation of the J exchange visitor to their home country
  • A deductible amount not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Health insurance options

The options below are a collection of agencies offering insurance service in the field of international education. The Office of Global Services does not endorse any health insurance plan in particular. The choices and responsibility of selection and relation management rest with the J-1 exchange visitor.

Benefits are subject to change at any time. For complete and current information, please visit the provider’s website to ensure that you have the correct information.

For J-1 scholars paid by Northeastern, please be aware that Northeastern University health plans do not include evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. Scholars eligible for and selecting a Northeastern University plan must purchase evacuation and repatriation insurance separately (please refer to the list above if you need suggestions).

Be prepared to show proof of Department of State mandated J-1 health insurance coverage during your program at Northeastern University. The Office of Global Services is required by the Department of State to confirm that the J-1 scholar has fulfilled their obligation to purchase the requisite insurance prior to providing any J-1 benefit, including but not limited to travel signatures, extensions, and transfers. Therefore, the Office of Global Services reserves the right to request both the policy name and number at any time.

Home residency requirement

The goal of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to promote mutual understanding and cultural and educational exchange, with the intent that participants return to their home countries and share knowledge gained during the program. In certain instances, scholars in J-1 status are required to return to their home country or country of legal permanent residence for two years before obtaining a more permanent status in the USA, such as an H, L, K nonimmigrant classification, or becoming a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder). In addition, scholars who are subject to this requirement are not eligible to apply for a change of status to another nonimmigrant classification while inside the USA.

Scholars are subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement – also known as 212(e) – if:

  • They came to the USA to participate in medical residency under J-1 Alien Physical category OR
  • They received direct government funding (from the USA or their home country) for the purposes of international exchange OR
  • Their country has an “Exchange Visitor Skills List” and their field of research is on this list (Please visit travel.state.gov website for details)

NOTE: That receiving a salary that is funded out of a government grant that is given for the purposes of conducting research but not specifically designated for the scholar’s exchange program does not result in the scholar being subject to this provision.

Two-Year Home Residence Requirement (212(e)) can affect scholars in any J classification, including J-2 dependents. 212(e) is distinct from the 24-month bar on repeat participation in J-1 research scholar and professor categories which only affects scholars in J-1 research scholar or professor categories.

Waiver of the requirement and advisory opinions

In limited circumstances, exchange visitors who are subject to the home residency requirement may apply for a waiver directly from the Department of State if they meet certain conditions. The eligibility and required steps are outlined on the website of the Department of State. In addition, if the scholar believes they have been incorrectly subjected to 212(e), the first step would be for the scholar to file an advisory opinion as an initial inquiry.

Before applying for a waiver, J-1 scholars are encouraged to contact the Office of Global Services and let an advisor know their intent of the waiver application. Failure to inform the Office of Global Services regarding this matter could jeopardize the J-1 scholar’s ability to extend their DS-2019 and remain at Northeastern.

NOTE: The Office of Global Services can only provide general information about these two options. The Office of Global Services cannot directly assist or prepare documentation.

12-month bar

Prospective Northeastern scholars who have been in the USA for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in any J visa status are not eligible to enter the USA as a J-1 research scholar or professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 short-term scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar applies to both the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the USA in any other visa status or in some other J categories such as short-term scholar or student.

24-month bar

Effective November 18, 2006, scholars in the J-1 research scholar or professor categories who complete their exchange program become subject to a 24-month bar or prohibition from returning to the USA to start a new J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the research scholar or professor category. If the scholar anticipates that they will be interested in continuing research or teaching at Northeastern or at another USA institution, they should consult with the Office of Global Services regarding future potential options, such as extending the current program or transferring to another exchange visitor program outside of Northeastern.

NOTE: The extensions or transfers must be planned several months prior to ending the J-1 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System immigration record.

This prohibition does not apply to scholars in other J-1 classifications, such as J-1 Short-Term Scholar Category. This bar on repeat participation is distinct from the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement –212(e). There is no possibility of a waiver for the 24-month bar on repeat participation in the J-1 research scholar and professor categories.