The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is the most common visa issued for international scholars who are coming to Rice to research or teach, as it is a more cost effective option and has the benefit of providing work authorization for a period of up to a maximum of five (5) years for those in a Research Scholar or Professor category. Their immediate dependents arrive as J-2s.
J-1 scholar can come to Rice in one of several categories:
Research Scholar or Professor: This category is intended for individuals who are coming to Rice for more than 6 months to conduct research or teach. The maximum duration of this category is 5 years. Upon completion of the program, the Exchange Visitor will be subject to the 24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation as a J-1 Research Scholar / Professor.
Short-Term Scholar: This category is intended for individuals who are coming to Rice for less than 6 months to conduct research or teach. The maximum duration of this category is 6 months, and it cannot be extended beyond that time. Back to back visits as a J-1 Short-Term Scholar are not permitted without a clear change in the research objective.
Student Non-Degree: This category is intended for visiting international undergraduate students, who come to do research and do not yet have a bachelor's (or bachelor's equivalent) by the time of their arrival at Rice. The maximum duration of this category is 24 months. If the program is longer than 6 months, upon completion the Exchange Visitor will be subject to the 12-Month Bar on Repeat Participation as a J-1 Research Scholar / Professor. For more information on processing these visitors, please see the Visiting International UG Researcher page.
Specialist: This category is intended for individuals who can demonstrate highly specialized skills. The maximum duration of this category is 12 months. If the program is longer than 6 months, upon completion the Exchange Visitor will be subject to the 12-Month Bar on Repeat Participation as a J-1 Research Scholar / Professor.
Obtaining a DS-2019 Form for a J-1 Exchange Visitor
Applying for a J-1 visa requires obtaining a DS-2019 form, issued by OISS to the visitor. Please submit request packet below to OISS at least 90 days before requested program start date to allow time for OISS and visa processing. For J-1 Exchange Visitors who are paid by Rice, please submit the following documents in hard copy to OISS. For J-1 Exchange Visitors who are not paid by Rice, the following documents may be uploaded through the Visitor Portal.
Please note that the DS-2019 form should not be copied and may not under any circumstances be sent electronically (e.g. scanned or faxed). You may send relevant information from the DS-2019 (i.e. the SEVIS number and Rice's Program Number), but not a copy of the form itself. Please feel free to contact OISS if you have any questions.
Start Date Guidance for J-1 Exchange Visitors
The Actual Start Date ("ASD") is the calendar day on which a J-1 scholar begins in the Academic Department. Quite often the ASD is different from the DS-2019 Start Date, which was issued many months ago. OISS is required to update the DS-2019 Start Date to accurately reflect the ASD.
In order to comply with this requirement, we need our Academic Departments to maintain continuous communication with their J-1 scholars and inform OISS of any ASD changes in a timely manner.
Required Documents to change a DS-2019 Start Date (All documents must be submitted with any change request):
Procedure to change the DS-2019 Start Date to reflect the ASD:
Your effort in following this procedure will determine the success of having a final ASD by the time the scholar checks in with OISS so that your Department programs will start as scheduled.
J-1 Scholar Extensions
In order to request an extension of J-1 status for a current scholar, the sponsoring Academic Department must provide OISS with the following documentation at least two weeks before the scholar's current DS-2019 end date via campus mail (MS-365), or through the Visitor Portal:
There are time limits for different J-1 categories. For questions on time limits or other questions regarding J-1 extensions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
12-Month and 24-Month Repeat Participation Bars
There are two Repeat Participation restrictions for the Research Scholar and Professor categories:
The 12-month and 24-month repeat participation bars are separate from the 212(e) 2-year home-country physical presence requirement. It is possible for a J-1 Exchange Visitor to be subject to both requirements.
2-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement
Some J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to return to their home country for 2 years at the end of their program, before they are eligible to apply for specific types of work visas or permanent residency in the U.S. This requirement is typically imposed based on government funding (i.e. if the program is financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the Exchange Visitor's citizenship), or the "Skills List" (i.e. the Exchange Visitor is a citizen of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country). The 212(e) 2-year home-country physical presence requirement may be waived if the Exchange Visitor is able to secure a recommendation for a waiver from their home country government as well as the U.S. Department of State. For more information, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange.html.
The 212(e) 2-year home-country physical presence requirement is separate from the 12-month and 24-month repeat participation bars. It is possible for a J-1 Exchange Visitor to be subject to both requirements.