J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

OISS helps to promote international education and cultural exchange through the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Pre-Arrival Newsletter

  • Prospective exchange visitors are issued Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) by OISS on behalf of UNH, the Program Sponsor.
  • Exchange visitors use the Form DS-2019 to apply for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.
  • Exchange visitors must comply with all federal program regulations.

The DOS has designated the University of New Hampshire to serve as Program Sponsor, thereby enabling us to issue Form DS-2019 to prospective exchange visitors.  UNH is designated to sponsor exchange visitors in the categories of professor, research scholar and short-term scholar.  Exchange visitors are only permitted to engage in the field of activity listed on their Form DS-2019.

Professor: an individual primarily engaged in teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries or similar types of institutions.  A professor may also conduct research.  The maximum length of stay is 5 years.  By federal regulations, this visa category may NOT be used for tenure-track positions.

Research scholar: an individual primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions or similar types of institutions.  The maximum length of stay is 5 years.  This visa category may NOT be used for permanent research positions.

Short-term scholar: defined as a professor, research scholar, specialist or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary education institutions or similar types of institutions.  There is no minimum stay for this category.  However, six months is the maximum allowable stay, and no extension beyond six months is permitted.

A program extension may be granted per recommendation by the program sponsor as permitted under federal regulations.

Transferring: Exchange visitors are permitted to transfer from one program sponsor to another.  This process must be closely coordinated between the two program sponsors.

Exchange visitors may have their program terminated for violating federal regulations which govern the program.

Reasons for termination may include:

  • willful failure to maintain required medical insurance coverage;
  • engaging in unauthorized employment;
  • failing to pursue the activities listed on Form DS-2019, or;
  • engaging in activities not authorized by the program category.

Federal regulations prohibit a program sponsor from issuing a DS-2019 in the professor or research scholar category to an individual who has been physically present in the U.S. in J-1 visa status for six months or more of the twelve month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program.  The only exception to this rule is if the exchange visitor is being transferred from one program sponsor to another.

Federal regulations require that the program sponsor provide an orientation to exchange visitors. OISS provides this service and all exchange visitors are required to check in with OISS during their first week.

Guide for Inviting Visiting Scholars

At the heart of educational and cultural exchange is the relationship between the Faculty Sponsor (Host) and the Exchange Visitor (Visiting Scholar).  Exchange Visitors must be sponsored by a UNH faculty member who is willing to act as an advisor to the proposed project or activity.  The faculty member is responsible for initiating the request and serving as the primary support person in the U.S.


  • Faculty Sponsor (or department/unit staff member) submits the online J-1 Application for a New Exchange Visitor via eOISS Online Services at least two months prior to the Exchange Visitor’s proposed start date
  • Faculty Sponsor contacts UNH's Office of Contracts and Export Controls (ext. 2-2001) to review purpose of visit and determine if a Visiting Scientist Agreement is needed.
  • OISS reviews the application within five business days and issues the immigration document (Form DS-2019)
  • OISS ships the DS-2019 to the Exchange Visitor
  • Faculty Sponsor (or department/unit staff member) submits a request via UNH’s IT Accounts Management System for the Exchange Visitor’s Sponsored User Account/UNH ID
  • Exchange Visitor makes an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for the J-1 visa
  • Exchange Visitor secures off-campus housing prior to arrival with the assistance of the Faculty Sponsor (see below)
  • Exchange Visitor purchases an insurance plan that meets or exceeds the government regulations prior to arrival
  • Exchange Visitor arranges travel to the U.S. after his/her J-1 visa has been issued (Note: The Exchange Visitor is allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before his/her program start date, as stated on the DS-2019.)
  • OISS contacts the Exchange Visitor to arrange a welcome meeting/orientation session upon arrival to review the J-1 immigration rights and responsibilities (Note: If the Exchange Visitor will be paid by UNH, he/she will need to complete the required hiring paperwork at OISS, as well.)
  • Exchange Visitor arrives at UNH, has orientation at OISS, and obtains a UNH ID card at the ID Office in the MUB
  • Faculty Sponsor provides the Exchange Visitor with an office or desk space and a computer
  • Faculty Sponsor ensures the Exchange Visitor fulfills his/her academic/work obligations

Housing Information

Department of State Welcome Brochure

Application Instructions

Please submit an online application to OISS at least sixty days prior to the Exchange Visitor’s proposed start date.


Exchange Visitor (Scholar)

  • Host department/unit will grant you access to your online application via eOISS Online Services
  • You will need to upload the following documents to your online application:
    • Copy of biographical/picture page of passport
    • Letter of financial support from sponsoring department/unit (if paid by UNH)
    • Letter of financial support from your home country government, employer, or university (if not paid by UNH)
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • Copies of passports for any family members who will be accompanying you
    • If you are already in J-1 status: copy of your DS-2019, J-1 visa, I-94, and corresponding documents for any family members who are in the U.S. with you

After all sections of the online application have been submitted and approved by the necessary UNH staff, OISS will be able to review and then issue the Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) for the Exchange Visitor.