J-1 Sponsorship of International Scholars

The following are the required steps, beginning with the academic appointment process.

1 Initiating the process: The first contact between the scholar and Northeastern

In some instances the prospective scholar will initiate the contact with Northeastern University directly to inquire about the sponsorship. The scholar should be directed to the faculty host of the appropriate academic department. The faculty host then makes the decision as to whether the international exchange would be beneficial for both the scholar and department. If so, the faculty host would move to Step 2 below.In other instances, the faculty host will initiate the process by reaching out to the scholar, the next step also being Step 2 below.

2 The appointment letter

Northeastern University requires that the international scholar receive a formal letter of appointment signed by the Dean. The letter should include appointment start and end dates and any form of payment (e.g. salary, honorarium). From an immigration standpoint, this letter is also essential as it formalizes the affiliation between Northeastern University and the nonimmigrant participant (the scholar) and, in conjunction with other required OGS forms, allows the OGS to issue the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, which the scholar must present at a U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for a J visa.

3 OGS forms to request DS-2019

In addition to the appointment letter, in order for the OGS to issue the DS-2019, hiring department, the faculty host, SEVIS Contact (a contact in the Dean’s office for international academic appointments and immigration sponsorship), and international scholar must work together to complete the DS-2019 request. SEVIS Contact will initial the process and will send emails to each party to access required eforms. You may refer to myOGS user guide to review the overall process.The SEVIS Contact will enter the scholar’s information in OGS’s database and initiate the DS-2019 request eform process.

The Hiring Department will complete details of Scholar’s appointment at Northeastern

The Faculty Host will complete Faculty Host Form including the verification of English Language Proficiency information.

The Scholar will receive an email to request completion of the following forms with appropriate attachments:

  • Personal information
    • Acknowledgement of Time Limit for J-1 Short-Term Scholar Category (if applicable): The STS category, according to Department of State regulation, is for scholars who plan to be at Northeastern for 6 months or less, engaged in research, teaching, collaboration or training. The scholar must read and sign this portion if appointment duration is 6 months or less.
  • Financial information and certification
  • Statement of Compliance with Health Insurance Requirements
  • Dependents information (if applicable)
  • SEVIS Record Transfer-in form (if applicable)
    • J-1 Scholars, who have been offered appointments at NU and are currently in the U.S. at another institution in J-1 status must complete this form. The form is used to facilitate the transfer of their J-1 record from their current institution to NU.

Once all forms are completed by each party, the DS-2019 request will be submitted to OGS for final review and process of DS-2019.

Since the international scholar must also be allotted time to obtain a visa appointment abroad, after the OGS issues the DS-2019, the OGS requires that all completed DS-2019 request be received at least 8 weeks in advance of the DS-2019 start date.

The OGS processing time for DS- 2019 issuance is 10 business days from the date the complete DS-2019 request is submitted to OGS.

Required minimum funding

Please be aware that the minimum funding required per year are the following:

·         for a J scholar is $28,000;

·         for a spouse, an additional $14,000

·         for each child an additional $7,000

The total of financial support declared above should match or exceed the estimated living costs of the J scholar, and his/her dependents, if applicable.


A Scholar and Spouse with 2 children staying for one year and 6 months will need to show the amount of $42,000 for Scholar, $21,000 Spouse, and $21,000 Children equals to $84,000 in total.

Guidelines for Acceptable proof of funds

Funding from sources other than Northeastern (private sponsor, government funding, scholarships, personal funds, etc.) will be considered towards meeting the NU minimum funding requirements, with the following restrictions:

  • All documentation must be translated into English; currency must be clearly referenced and converted into USD.
  • If you are providing bank statement(s), they must include the following info:
    • English translation
    • Name of the account holder
    • Currency info (USD, Euro, RMB, etc.)
    • Amount available
    • Issue date (the bank statement cannot be older than 9 months upon receipt by OGS)
  • If you have multiple statements, upload all documents in this category together in one pdf and attach the coversheet.
  • Documentation must be copies of originals (note that the U.S. Consulate requires original documentation during the visa process).

Sponsorship by family member(s):

If you are financially supported by your family member(s), please submit the followings:

  • Financial institution documentation, such as bank statements or letters, including name of the financial sponsor; documentation must be recent, and not older than 9 months upon receipt by the OGS
  • A letter signed by the financial sponsor attesting that the scholar is entitled to the funds in the sponsor’s account

Sponsorship by home country organizations:

  • In cases in which the documentation reflects a range in funding, the OGS will use the lowest figure in the range unless the scholar provides a letter from the funding source indicating otherwise. Note: OGS retains the right to request original documentation or other means of clarification.
  • If you are sponsored by your home country employer (e.g., you are taking a sabbatical at your home university), the letter form the employer must state that you will be receiving your salary while at Northeastern University (salary statement alone is not sufficient).
  • Note: OGS retains the right to request original documentation or other means of clarification.

Failure to follow the instructions above will result in the delay of DS-2019 issuance.

4 Scholars application for J-1 visa

Once the Office of Global Services (OGS) has processed the DS-2019, the SEVIS Contact will be notified to retrieve it from the OGS and mail it to the scholar via FedEx, or another secure international carrier. By law, we are not allowed to electronically distribute copies of Form DS-2019.The scholar should review the DS-2019 carefully immediately upon receipt and contact the OGS if there are any errors on the form. In order to make an appointment at a U.S. Consulate abroad to obtain the J-1 visa, the consulate will request the SEVIS ID number, which is found in the upper right hand corner of Page 1 of the DS-2019. Consulates will also typically ask for the program sponsor number, which is the number beginning with “P,” and is also located on Page 1, Section 2 of the DS-2019. If all of the information on the DS-2019 is correct, the scholar should sign their name in the appropriate space on the form, at the bottom. It’s important not to make any other extraneous notations on the form.

If the scholar has J-2 dependents (Spouse, children under the age of 21) traveling at the same time, they will receive their own DS-2019 to assist with their application(s) for J-2 visa(s).

For more information on the SEVIS fee and other issues related to obtaining a visa, scholars should review the Pre Arrival Instructions for J-1 Scholars.

The scholar should pay close attention to the start date in Section 3 of the DS-2019 because entry to the U.S. in J-1 Scholar status or J-2 dependent status is only permitted up to 30 days before and up to 30 days after this start date. If it will not be possible to enter the U.S. AND REPORT TO THE OGS (by attending one of the weekly J-1 Immigration Clearance Sessions) by the program start date or shortly after, please notify the OGS as soon as possible. If Scholar’s program start date must be changed, please submit the “Start Date Amendment Request” to OGS. This requires an updated appointment letter.

Start date Amendments before scholar’s entry to U.S.:

If the faculty host and scholar must change appointment dates due to visa delay, security checks  (administrative processing) or other extenuating circumstances, or change financial information after the submission of the J-1 packet to the OGS or issuance of the DS- 2019 but before the scholar’s entry to the U.S., they must notify the OGS immediately.

If appointment date changes are requested, a new appointment letter is required, and SEVIS Contact submit Start Date Amendment Request via myOGS. Once the request is reviewed and processed ,a new DS-2019 with new dates will be issued. OGS processing time is 10 business days.

Please note that it’s important for all parties to be made aware of any changes so that they can coordinate changes concurrently.

5 Scholar's arrival in the U.S.

To ensure that the international scholar’s arrival is confirmed and that the DS-2019 is timely and legally validated in the SEVIS system (also referred to as J-1 Immigration Clearance), the scholar must attend a J-1 Immigration Clearance Session at the OGS. The J-1 scholar must register for the Clearance Session in advance.If the scholar is salaried or reimbursed by Northeastern University, they must complete Form I-9 at the OGS on the first or second day of employment at Northeastern. Please note, the I-9 process can only be completed after the scholar’s record is validated in SEVIS (after the scholar has attended the Immigration Clearance Session).

Maintaining J-1 Scholar Status while in the U.S.

Any changes to the scholar’s status, including pay changes, site of activity, etc. must be reported to the OGS immediately. Please refer to the chart below for the list of possible e-form requests and who initiates them:

  • J-1 Extension of DS-2019: SEVIS contact must initiate the DS-2019 program extension request. Once scholar fills out the eform on myOGS, SEVIS contact will then have to fill out their portion with the updated appointment letter. Please note that the OGS also has a 10 business day processing time for J- 1 extensions.
  • Funding update: If a scholar’s funding source changes (i.e. additional funding from Northeastern, Pay rate change, etc.), their DS-2019 must be updated to reflect the change. Scholars will need an updated appointment letter to request the change via myOGS.
  • End of Program Notification: this form is required when the scholar ends their J-1 program more than 15 days earlier than expected. This form must be imitated by scholars, and completed by the SEVIS Contact, faculty host, and scholar. The SEVIS Contact should then submit an HR/Payroll Action Form to HR/Payroll, if the appointment was paid.
  • J-1 Scholar Transfer-Out Form: If the scholar intends to continue their J-1 program at another institution in the U.S., the completion and submission of this form will initiate the process of J- 1 status transfer out of NU to another institution in the U.S.