Overview of the J-1 Exchange Visitors at

Texas A&M University San Antonio

The J-1 "Exchange Visitor" visa is a non-immigrant (temporary) visa. The purpose of the  J-1 visa is to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges, thereby strengthening the ties between the nations. Texas A&M University San Antonio sponsors “Exchange Visitors” for full-time, temporary activities that include teaching, lecturing, observing, consulting, conducting research, or interning. At the time of appointment, the expectation is that you, the Exchange Visitor, will return home upon completion of the activity.

J-1 Categories sponsored at A&M-SA

Texas A&M University-San Antonio sponsors four (4) categories under the J-1 Exchange Visitor program:

Student Intern: Objectives are for foreign college and university students to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience.  Student interns may participate in an internship program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to 12 months for each foreign degree/major.

Short-Term Scholar: Objectives can be to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Short-term scholars will come to the U.S. for a short visit and have no plans to continue beyond the 6-month limit. Visiting Short-term scholars may stay in the U.S. anywhere from 1 day to 6 months.

Professor: The primary purpose is to teach, lecture, observe, or consult. The professor may also engage in research and participate in occasional lectures if authorized by the program sponsor. Visiting Professors may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs.

Research Scholar: This category is for an individual whose primary purpose is to perform research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project.  Visiting Research Scholars may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs. They may not change their objective in the U.S.

Evidence of Funding or Financial Support

  • You must provide evidence of funding or financial support. Financial support may come from a variety of sources including your personal funds, an entity in their home country, a U.S. government agency, or Texas A&M University-San Antonio, or any combination of these. Note that personal funds or funds from family/friends are not acceptable as the sole source of funding unless your visit at A&M-SA is less than 3 months.
  • Evidence of funding must be in English and equivalent to U.S. dollars must be stated. Acceptable supporting documents providing sufficient financial resources are:
  • Official bank statement and bank letters - These documents should be dated within the last 6 months and must have the bank official’s signature, name of the account holder, and the final balance in the account;
  • Official sponsorship letter from the home government or institution - This letter should list the scholar’s name, state the award amount, and dates of the award; or
  • Funding from family members - If funding comes from family members, a support letter signed by the family member arranging the funds must be provided.

Sources of funding should be sufficient to cover living expenses while you live in San Antonio, Texas as follows:

  • J-1 Professor/Research Scholar: $1500 per month
  • J-2 spouse: $550 per month
  • J-2 child: $300 per month for each child

Health Insurance Minimum Requirements

You (and your dependents, if applicable), at the time of entry to the U.S. as exchange visitors are required to have insurance in effect that covers you (and your dependents) for sickness or accident during the period of time that the exchange visitor participates in the exchange visitor program. The current minimum insurance coverage requirements are:

*REQUIRED MINIMUM INSURANCE COVERAGE

(1) Major Medical Coverage per person………...............................................$100,000

(2) Medical Evacuation per person….............................................................$50,000

(3) Repatriation of Remains per person…...…..…………………....................$25,000

(4) Maximum Deductible per Accident/Illness.................................................$500

It is your responsibility to maintain valid Medical Insurance and valid Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains Insurance for the J-1 and all J-2 dependents during the entire J program as outlined on the Form DS-2019. You are also responsible for providing a copy of the valid insurance to the Office of International Affairs to maintain in their file.

*MINIMUM POLICY RATING - *(Must Comply With One) A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above; Insurance Solvency International Ltd., rating of “A-”; Standard and Poor’s rating of “A-” or above Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above.

 Duration of J-1 Status

Depending on your category of participation in the J-1 program, you may hold J-1 status for just a few days or up to the maximum of five (5) years plus a 30-day “grace period” following completion of the program. You are expected to return home to exercise the skills and knowledge acquired in the United States. Employment is not permitted during the grace period.

Two Year Home Residency Requirement

If you are coming to the U.S. in "J" Research/Teaching status, you will be subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement if your financial support comes from the U.S. government, your government, an international organization, or if your country and field of specialization are listed, which indicates the labor needs of most developing countries in the world. 

NOTE: Research Scholars who receive funding from a U.S. government research grant awarded to an institution for a specific research objective are not considered to be subject to the foreign residency requirement because of such funding.

U.S. Entry Process

You should not make any travel arrangements to enter the U.S. until you receive the Form DS-2019 and is granted the "J" visa by the U.S. Embassy.

The final decision to grant the J-1 Visa is that of the U.S. Embassy or Consul abroad and is based on you: 1) establishing you qualify for the appointment offered (educational credentials); 2) are proficient in English; 3) have sufficient funds to support your stay in the U.S.; 4) have evidence that any prior stay in the U.S. was in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security regulations; and 5) you are able to demonstrate strong ties to your home country.

The final decision to grant admission to the U.S. as a J-1 Exchange Visitor is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Inspector at the Port of Entry.  The same documentation presented to the U.S. Embassy or Consul may be requested at the U.S. Port of Entry.  

Check-In Procedures at A&M-SA

As the institution hosting you, the J-1 exchange visitor, The Office of International Affairs is required by federal regulations (through TIEC) to timely report all activities of J-1 and J-2 visitors in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  This reporting begins upon your arrival to the U.S. and continues throughout the period they are with our institution. 

The first obligation under the J-1 visa requires a "check-in" visit to the Office of International Affairs immediately upon your arrival in the U.S.

At the time of your "check-in" visit to our office, you will be required to present your original valid passport, Form I-94, approved Form DS-2019, and any other immigration documents issued to you and/or your dependents (if applicable) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The OIA will review with you your immigration rights and responsibilities under the J-1 visa status. The office will also discuss insurance coverage and will retrieve your original immigration documents for review/copying. Finally, should you also have a dependent spouse and/or children, the OIA will also review their documentation/information. 

Furthermore, if for any reason you are unable to enter the U.S. by the start date indicated on the DS-2019, the OIA must be immediately notified in order to take appropriate action.  

The OIA strives to provide our international visitors with as much information as available to ensure compliance with U.S. federal regulations. For this reason, our J-1 exchange visitors are required to check-in with OIA at point of arrival to U.S. 

After Checking In

Information collected from you during the "check-in" visit will be submitted to TIEC so that they may “validate” your program participation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which holds your electronic immigration record. Failure to report to the Office of International Affairs and complete SEVIS validation within 30 days of the expected program start date will cause the SEVIS immigration record to become inactive and automatically reports a violation of status to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of State.