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Inviting J-1 Scholars

Before bringing a visiting scholar the sponsoring department must access/be familiar with the West Virginia University Academic Visitor/Visiting Scholar guidelines.

Please keep in mind that the J-1 category cannot be used for tenure track faculty positions. The following documentation needs to be submitted to International Students & Scholars Services (ISSS):

IMPORTANT: The J-1 request will not be processed until all the required documents listed below have been received by ISSS.  

To see a visual representation of the process of inviting a J-1 scholar, please take a look at our flowchart.

Please submit items 1-7 by email to

The processing time for J-1 requests is 15 (fifteen) business days .

Note: If bringing the exchange visitor on board is part of an executed agreement between WVU and another institution abroad, please attach a copy of the agreement with request for a J-1 exchange visitor. If an agreement between WVU and another institution abroad is required, please first contact the our Agreements Coordinator, Nikki Lauffer at or (304) 293-6049.

Please complete the steps and submit the documentation in the order listed below.

NOTE: The department or unit must apply for a Deemed Export Attestation. ISSS will not issue a DS-2019 until it has received this attestation from the Export Control Office.

  • 6. *For unpaid (courtesy) appointments (*required only when the J-1 scholar is unpaid or funding is from a source other than WVU):
    • If the Dean has not signed the offer/invitation letter, please complete the Appointment Acknowledgment Form (on the Dean's Letterhead) to notify the Dean's Office in your college that you wish to invite a visiting scholar.
    • Official documentation verifying the source of funding is also required. This official documentation must specify both the amount and duration of support.
  • 7. *HSC, 5-Point Certification for No Patient Care Form. (*required only when the invited exchange visitor is a foreign medical graduate.)
Scholars must enter the U.S. within 30 days of the start date shown on their DS-2019. Notify our office if their arrival will be delayed. If the visitor is currently in the U.S. on a J-1 visa and we are transferring the visitor from that institution to WVU, please have them also complete the Transfer In Form in coordination with their current international office.

Two-year foreign residency requirement

Please be specific when completing items concerning the legal residency, the visitor’s position in his/her home country, and the source of funding. They have a direct bearing on applicability of the two-year foreign residence requirement of U.S. law. In some instances, the legal residency of the visitor may not be the same as his/her country of citizenship. Under current U.S. law, some visitors may be subject to the two-year home-residence requirement upon completion of their programs because of their specialized knowledge and skills or their source of funding.

Government Restrictions & Regulations

Regulations governing the J-1 exchange visitors program prohibit us from issuing a DS-2019 to begin a new program under the professor / researcher category to visitors who have been in the U.S. in the preceding 12 months on a J visa in any category.

Exceptions to this rule are those who were here in the “Short-Term Scholar” category, were in the U.S. for less than 6 months, or are transferring directly from another program. In order to ensure compliance with these rules, please have the prospective visitor complete the "J-1 Status Eligibility" section of the "Request for J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Form."

Extension of Stay

U.S. Department of State regulations dictate the procedure under the “short-term” J-1 exchange visitors can be in the U.S. for up to 6 months with no further extension available, while J-1 participants processed under the “research scholar” and “professor” categories can be in the U.S. engaging in their research and teaching responsibilities for up to 5 years.

To initiate the extension procedure, the department should send ISSS the following documentation  at least one month prior to the expiration date on the visitor’s DS-2019.

  • J-1 Extension Request Form
  • Copy of an updated offer/invitation letter
  • Deemed Export Attestation (see #5 above for procedures)
  • Proof of insurance (for the extended period) from the J-1 exchange visitor
  • *For unpaid (courtesy) appointments (*required only when the J-1 scholar is unpaid or funding is from a source other than WVU):
    • Official documentation verifying the source of funding is required. This official documentation must specify both the amount and duration of support.
    • Please note: If the J-1 scholar is both self-funded and a courtesy appointment, an extension may be renewed for a maximum of one (1) year at a time.
A new DS-2019 document will be prepared and the foreign visitor will be notified to come to this office to complete the procedure .

IMPORTANT NOTE: The PI or supervisor is responsible for export control compliance. All visa extensions require export control approval. A new approval must be obtained through the Export Control Office before the extension request is granted.

Departure of International Visitor

When the visitor has completed their program in your department, please complete the  End of Program Notification Form and forward it to ISSS within 10 days of the expiration date on scholar’s current DS-2019 form.

In some cases, the visitor may be transferring to another institution to continue the same activity. If this is the case, the visitor will need to notify ISSS of the program they intend to transfer to, and the intended transfer date, at least 30 days before his/her intended transfer date or current DS-2019 expiration date, whichever comes earlier.

J-1 Transfer Procedures for Scholars and Researchers


An exchange visitor may transfer from one program sponsor to another if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the objective for which he or she was admitted to exchange visitor status and if the exchange visitor remains within the same participant category. A transfer out form must be submitted to ISSS along with a copy of the offer letter from your new institution.  Please note: t he faculty adviser hosting the exchange visitor must concur with the transfer out.

After being notified by the exchange visitor that they intend to transfer programs, it must first be determined that:

  • The transfer is consistent with the goals of the exchange visitor program
  • Current Regulations allow for both paid and unpaid Exchange Visitors. When unpaid, sponsors must determine that the scholars continue to have adequate financial support to maintain their extended program stay before authorizing an unpaid appointment.
  • The Program begin date will be filled in automatically as the same date as the transfer effective date. That field cannot be changed.
  • The Program end date in the exchange visitor’s record cannot be changed through the Edit DS-2019 fields.


All transfer-in exchange visitors must have their program participation validated by the transfer-in Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer, no later than 30 days after the transfer effective date. Validation represents the program sponsor’s acknowledgement that the exchange visitor has reported as required, and requires the program sponsor to update the SEVIS record with the exchange visitor’s current U.S. address.