General Information for Scholars
The Purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
The objective of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961)] The Exchange Visitor program is often referred to as a “J-1 Program” because the “J-1” class of visa is issued to international professionals and students invited to the United States to participate in educational and cultural exchange activities.
There are many federal policies and procedures regulating J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs. OSU departments inviting and hosting international visitors and the exchange visitors themselves should thoroughly review and understand these policies contained in the manual below for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for Professors, Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars and Students on this website.
All visiting international scholars, regardless of immigration status, must have official university appointments or academic affiliations with the University. Scholars may or may not be paid by the university. International scholars receiving payment from OSU must hold J-1, H-1b, O-1 or permanent resident status.
The nature of the work, activities, or employment will determine the appropriate visa classification for an international visitor. In most cases, the university invites “non-immigrants” to engage in cultural and educational exchange under the J-1 Exchange Visitor classification. The J-1 Exchange Visitor program is described on this website as well as in printed documents available in the ISS office. Non-immigrants are defined as those who intend to return to their home countries upon completion of their programs. Visiting scholars must come to the United States on appropriate visas. Departments and prospective visiting scholars should clearly understand these distinctions before preparing documents, working with the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) and interacting with consular and immigration officers.
The university must maintain strict procedures to maintain the integrity of its international exchange and employment activities. Unauthorized employment of aliens and inappropriate use of exchange visitor programs is a violation of federal law. Employers and the aliens who work illegally may be subject to fines of up to $10,000 and criminal penalties.
This chart may help define what particular program activities may require:
|J-1 Scholar Exchange Visitors
(Professors, Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars)
(Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, Non-Degree)
|Permanent Resident (Green Card Holders)||
|B-1, B-2 (Visitors - Tourist Status)||
Collecting and preparing the documents required to invite international scholars to Oklahoma State University may require a few weeks. The processes an international scholar must undergo to apply for a visa can take up to three months. Advanced planning is necessary. Reviewing the proposed activities of an international visitor and their appropriateness for a J-1 Exchange Visitor is important in defining whether or not it is feasible to obtain proper immigration status for an international scholar within the time available. The accuracy of documents is also very important as they are closely scrutinized. One error in the spelling of a name, financial figure or other supporting data may result in a visa denial. Visa applications and trips to the US Embassy can be costly. To avoid repeating the application process and paying additional fees, please pay close attention to detail when preparing applications and requests.
Please visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information on visa classifications. To inquire about visa classifications and visiting scholar programs, at OSU, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.
For more information on employment and tax, click here.