UNC Greensboro welcomes faculty and researchers from around the world. Many faculty members and academic departments at UNCG have an interest in expanding the number of scholars from across the globe. The International Programs Center (IPC) is here to facilitate the process of bringing international scholars to UNCG to work with our prominent faculty members in the spirit of exchange.

The Exchange Visitor Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, allows the University to use the J-1 Exchange Visitor immigration classification to invite or employ international professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists in the United States temporarily.

The following information provides everything you need to know, from becoming a J-1 scholar to completing your exchange experience. IPC is here to guide you and your host faculty member through this journey! If you have questions about finding or contacting a sponsoring academic department, please contact Ms. Jennifer Kelley at jlkelley@uncg.edu.


A J-1 Scholar is a visiting professor, researcher, or specialist who has been approved to temporarily enter the United States for a specific educational purpose.  The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to promote international educational exchange of expertise and stimulating collaborative teaching and research efforts.  Exchange is truly at the core of the program and based on this philosophy and directive.

For a concise overview of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, reference the DOS J-1 visa Fact Sheet.


The J-1 program is for temporary visits to the US for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, observing, conducting research, consulting, or demonstrating special skills. J-1 Scholars are classified as follows:

  • Research Scholar: An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
  • Professor: An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
  • Short-Term Scholar: A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • Specialist: An individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills.

Maximum Length of Stay

  • Research Scholar or Professor................5 years
  • Short-term Scholar...................................6 months
  • Specialist..................................................1 year

The U.S. DOS provides a comprehensive guide titled, “How to apply to the Exchange Visitor Program.” This guide will help you with everything from determining which program is right for you to the specific steps needed to obtain your J-1 visa. You are also encouraged to review the eligibility and fees associated with the J-1 visa prior to seeking sponsorship from UNCG. The first step in becoming a J-1 Scholar at UNCG is to coordinate with your sponsoring academic department to submit the following items:
  • Visiting Scholar DS-2019 Data Form, Part B (Visiting Scholar Profile)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume
  • Insurance Attestation Form
  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Evidence of sufficient financial support (e.g. institutional, government, or personal) according to the minimum amounts required by UNCG:
    • J-1 Scholar $1,625 per month = $19,500 per year
    • J-2 Spouse $ 826 per month = $9,912 per year
    • J-2 Child $ 610 per month = $7,320 per year per child
    • J-2 Spouse and child 1,018 per month= $12,216 each additional child
For funding documents in which a range of funding is given (such as $1400 – $1800), ISSS will use the lower amount of the range when calculating the funding. If you have family members traveling with you, be sure to review the Information for J-1 Scholar Dependents (J-2).

Evidence of Financial Support

If the J-1 scholar’s support is from a source other than UNCG, evidence of funding must be included with this request. If supported by personal funds, a bank statement in US$ must be provided. If supported by government or international funds, an official statement translated into English with funds converted to US$ must be provided.

Insurance Requirement

Health and accident insurance coverage is mandatory for all J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents while they are in the US. For further details please refer to our Exchange Visitor Program Participant (J-1/J-2) Mandatory Health Coverage Requirement.

Preparing for your Arrival to UNCG

Once you have received your appointment letter and Form DS-2019, you can begin preparations to come to the U.S. for your exchange experience! Prior to your arrival, you should:

Many international scholars prefer that their spouse and children accompany them while in the U.S. Dependents (a spouse and/or children) must have a SEVIS record, a valid passport and visa, and their own visa certificate (DS-2019). In order for IPC to issue a visa certificate for a family member, please submit the following supporting documentation:

  • Copy of dependent’s passport(s)
  • Financial documentation

Dependents must submit to the U.S. Consular Officer a properly endorsed DS-2019. Dependents must also have a valid passport and must be able to demonstrate eligibility for J-2 visa status, such as proof of relationship to the J-1 scholar (e.g., a marriage certificate for spouses or a birth certificate for minor dependent children) as well as demonstrate proof of ties to their home country and financial solvency to cover the additional dependent expenses associated with their stay in the U.S..

If a scholar would like their parents, siblings, friends, or relatives to visit the United States temporarily, they may request us to write a letter of invitation to aide their loved ones in obtaining a temporary visitor visa from the U.S. Consulate in their country – or they may use the visa waiver program if they are from a visa-waiver country.

Invitation letters can be requested via the ISSS Portal which you will have access to once you have activated your University accounts. If you experience any issues accessing the portal, please contact jlkelley@uncg.edu for further assistance.

Employment Opportunities for J-2 Dependents

The federal regulations do give dependents of a J-1 student or scholar (a J-2 spouse or minor child of working age – 16 to 20) the option to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The J-2 dependent does not need a job offer first and may apply directly to the USCIS (no recommendation or authorization from OIS is necessary). We do offer a checklist and sample request letter for you.

Educational Opportunities for J-2 Dependents

In the United States, all children, including those of international students or scholars, are required to attend school until they are at least 18 years old. Public education for kindergarten through high school in the United States is free and there are numerous school options, types of schools, and varying schedules.

Greensboro and Guilford County offer numerous options for public, private, secular and charter K-12 (Kindergarten through 12th grade) school. The school system for the Greensboro area, Guilford County Schools, not only provides regular stream elementary, middle and high schools but also popular magnet and newcomers' schools. For secular and private school options, please Google keywords “private schools in Greensboro North Carolina” or search the Greensboro Yellowpages.

There are also several Intensive English programs available around the UNCG area including INTERLINK, housed on our campus.

Health Insurance for J-2 Dependents

Medical care can be extremely expensive in the United States and without health insurance a medical emergency can be financially disastrous. J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by law to maintain health insurance coverage for themselves as well as all dependents on a J-2 visa. The health insurance must meet a set of minimum federal requirements for the duration of their Exchange Visitor Program. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage for the entire duration of the DS-2019 for either the J-1 or J-2 may result in termination of the J-1 visa holder’s record. More information about the health insurance requirements for J-1 and J-2 visa holders can be found here.

When you first arrive to UNCG, be sure to check in immediately with your hosting department. Your department will assist in activating your UNCG computer accounts and will introduce you to your workspace and the campus.

After your check in with your host department, it is important that you come to IPC for orientation. Please contact Ms. Jennifer Kelley, International Student and Scholar Services Lead at jlkelley@uncg.edu to set up your orientation time. Scholar orientation is mandatory in order to confirm your arrival to the U.S. Make sure to bring your passport (with I-94 and visa) and form DS-2019 with you. If you plan to bring dependents, please provide their immigration documents as well.

Orientation will cover a number of important topics including:

  • How to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) - if applicable
  • Obtaining a North Carolina Driver’s License or State ID
  • Opening a Bank Account
  • And more!

In order to maintain your J-1 status, certain requirements and procedures must be followed throughout your program:

  • Check-in upon arrival: Within 10 days of your arrival to the U.S., make an appointment for a new scholar orientation with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Please note that you should arrive no more than 30 days after the program start date on your DS-2019.
  • Maintain your program objective: You were granted a DS-2019 document based on a specific academic objective agreed upon between you and your host department. The Department of State requires that this objective be maintained throughout your stay in J-1 status. If you plan to change your objective in any way (including a change in faculty sponsor, change of lab, change of department, etc.) you must inquire with ISSS in order to ensure that the change is permitted.
  • Maintain a valid DS-2019: Do not allow your DS-2019 to expire. Work with your department to request an extension if you need additional time to complete your program objective. The J-1 Extension Request should be initiated by your department. Note: extensions, transfers, and a change of status to another immigration status can take significant time to process.
  • Maintain a valid passport: If you should need to extend the validity of your passport while in the U.S., contact your embassy for application processing procedures and times. Refer to The "Department of State Contact Info for Foreign Embassies and Consulates in the U.S." list for the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Do not accept unauthorized employment: Your J-1 exchange program specifies approved activities in section 4 of your DS-2019. Please consult ISSS prior to accepting any employment not authorized on your DS-1029.
  • Health insurance mandate: Comply with Department of State federal health insurance requirements for J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents. Please refer to Exchange Visitor Program Participant (J-1/J-2) Mandatory Health Coverage Requirement found here for further details.
  • Proof of Medical Insurance Coverage: IPC is required to verify that exchange visitors have health insurance in place for the J-1 Exchange Visitor and accompanying J-2 dependents. Upon arrival in the United States and no later than 10 calendar days from date of arrival, the J-1 Exchange Visitors will provide IPC with copies of medical insurance coverage, including ID Cards depicting dates of coverage, and policy information (including benefits and exclusions) for themselves and any accompanying J-2 dependents. The J-1 Exchange Visitors will continue to provide IPC with copies of insurance coverage for themselves and accompanying J-2 dependents throughout their stay in the United States.
  • Report change of address: You must report any address change to ISSS within 10 days of the change; ISSS will report your change of address directly to SEVIS.

Two Year Home Residency Requirement 212 (e)

J-1 Exchange Visitors who receive direct funding from their government or the U.S. government, or whose skills are determined to be specialized and in short supply by their home government according to the Exchange Visitor Skills List are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement, Section 212(e) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. Those who are subject to this requirement are not eligible to change to another nonimmigrant visa status permitting employment, such as H-1B or adjust status to permanent resident, until they return to their home country for an aggregate period of two years or until they receive a waiver of the requirement upon recommendation of the home government or on other grounds.

12 Month Bar

Anyone who has been in the U.S. in any J status for more than six months, such as in the Specialist category, is barred from reentering the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for 12 months following the completion of his/her program or stay. This regulation does not apply to short-term Scholars.

24 Month Bar

Anyone who has been in the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for any length of time and whose SEVIS record is no longer active is barred from reentering the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for 24 months following the completion of his/her program or stay. This only applies to those who completed programs after 11/17/2006.


If you and your sponsoring department wish to extend your J-1 program, please have your department request the extension of appointment from the Provost’s Office. Please complete Visiting Scholar DS-2019 Data Form (Part B) and have your sponsoring department fill out Part A of the same form. Have the department submit these forms along with updated proof of financial solvency to the International Programs Center at least one month in advance to the end of your current program. Extension requests submitted after the expiration of the program can not be processed.

30-Day Grace Period

As a J-1 exchange visitor, you are eligible for a 30-day grace period that starts on the date your program ends. This period allows you to prepare for departure from the United States. Please note that you are technically not affiliated with UNCG during the 30-day grace period and thus you cannot receive payment or reimbursement for activity during this period.

It is important to notify IPC of your departure from UNCG so that your DS-2019 reflects an accurate program end date, and your record is completed properly. As a J-1 scholar, you have a 30-day grace period following the end of your program to depart the U.S.

J-1 Program Transfer Out

If you wish to transfer to another U.S. institution/J-1 sponsor, you will need preapproval from UNCG, your current program sponsor. Please consult your academic department sponsor, and complete and submit the Scholar Transfer Out Form to ISSS at least one month prior to your intended transfer out date. Transfers in SEVIS are not possible after your program end date has expired.

(Note: time spent in previous J-1 programs prior to the transfer, including at UNCG, will be counted toward the maximum stay allowed for each respective J-1 category.