Exchange Visitor Services

Exchange Visitor Services

Office of International Programs

The U.S. Department of State administers the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The Act promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The Exchange Visitor Program provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the United States and then return home to share their experiences. 

In accordance with provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), the University of Texas at Tyler has delegated to International Student Services (ISS) of the Office of International Programs (OIP) sole authority to administer the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in support of the teaching and research mission of the University.

Inviting an Exchange Visitor to UT Tyler

Exchange visitors are invited by departments at UT Tyler. The purpose of their visit is to engage in collaborative academic projects. These activities include teaching, lecturing, observing, consulting in connection with a research project, departmental research, researcher training, or demonstrating a special skill. Exchange visitors are encouraged to voluntarily participate in activities that provide them with an opportunity to share their language, culture, and history with Americans.

At the core of educational and cultural exchange is the connection between the faculty sponsor (host) and the Exchange Visitor. Exchange Visitors must be sponsored by a UT Tyler faculty member who is willing to act as an advisor to the proposed project or activity. The faculty member inviting the Exchange Visitor is responsible for initiating this request and serving as the primary support person in the U.S. Faculty may learn the process and access necessary forms to bring a J-1 Visitor.

Funding/Financial Support

The funding source for the exchange visitor may be the inviting University/Department within the University, the exchange visitor's home country government, personal funds, or a combination of sources. Verification of funding/financial support is required. If the funding is from the inviting University/Department within the University, then the initial request by the department can be for up to a maximum of five years.

The funding/financial support requirements for exchange visiting scholars are:

  • $1,500/month (J-1)
  • $500/month (J-2 spouse)
  • $500/month (per J-2 child)

J-1 Requirements

Before arriving to UT Tyler:

  • Verify that the details are correctly entered on your DS-2019. Note the program begin date and notify your sponsor and J-1 Advisor immediately if your plans change.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee online.
  • Apply for a J-1 Visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to your home residence.
  • Find approved health insurance. Requirements listed below.
  • Arrange housing needs.
  • Arrange transport from the airport to housing.

Health Insurance Requirements

Program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage in effect during the period of time of the exchange visitors program with the following minimum benefits [22 CFR 62.14].

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000.
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors who will be covered within the United States under a foreign insurance policy must submit a copy of the insurance policy. If applicable, the policy documentation should have an English translation, indicating amounts of coverage and the dates of coverage. Individuals carrying policies that do not meet the minimum levels of coverage outlined in this guide will be required to purchase insurance that meets the U.S. Department of State requirements.

If either J-1 or a dependent spouse is currently pregnant, be sure to purchase a medical insurance policy that will cover the pregnancy and birth while in the United States.

Documents to Submit

The inviting department must submit the following documents to OIP at least 2-3 months before the intended start date to allow time for visa processing in the home country:

The Exchange Visitor must submit the documents listed below:

  • Exchange Visitor Application
  • Copy of passport (must be valid at least 6 months past the last day of the program)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Proof of Funding (letter from supporting institution or bank statement)
  • Copy of passport(s) for dependent(s) (must be valid at least 6 months past the last day of the program)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

*All documents must be translated to English.

It is important that the exchange visitor understands and abides by the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, U.S. laws, and sponsor’s institutional rules. Regular contact with the OIP/ISS helps the J-1 scholar in keeping current of any changes, which may affect their J status.

After applying for your visa and receiving approval, start planning your trip to Tyler. We have travel planning resources available to assist you, and you may ask your sponsor for additional guidance as needed.

Check-In and Orientation

The U.S. Department of State requires that the program sponsor provides the exchange visitors with an orientation program. After the exchange visitors attend the orientation, an Advisor will validate his/her arrival in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database. This notifies the Department of Homeland Security that the invited exchange visitor has arrived, and has begun his/her J-1 exchange visitor program activities. This process also changes the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record to ACTIVE status.

Failure to attend orientation and have SEVIS record validated may result in future immigration complications as well as problems in obtaining a Social Security Number.

You will need to bring the following documents to orientation, for you and and accompanying J-2 dependents:

  • passport(s)
  • 1-94 card(s)
  • DS-2019(s)
  • proof of insurance
  • a local U.S. address and emergency contact information
  • TB Clearance (if applicable)

Your J-2 dependent family members are welcome to attend the orientation with you; however, the J-1 student /scholar is the only one who is required to attend.

Orientation covers J-1 maintenance of immigration status, medical evacuation/repatriation insurance, employment, banking, U.S. tax laws, Texas driver's license, University Identification Card (UT ID), U.S. Social Security Number, intercultural and family programs, and local transportation and shopping options. You will also need to complete the Non-matriculation Form in order to receive a UT Tyler ID to utilize campus food and recreational services.

Maintaining J-1 Status

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor (student) at The University of Texas at Tyler, you have been admitted for a specific period of time to engage in a particular research or teaching activity, as described on your DS-2019 form. You must take care during your stay to maintain lawful J-1 status, as failure to do so can have serious long-term consequences for you. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your stay in the U.S. remains valid:

  1. Be aware of the expiration date of your status. This is not your visa expiration date; it is the ending date in section 3 of your DS-2019 form. If your appointment at the UT Tyler is extended, the hiring department must contact ISS before the current expiration date of the current form to have the DS-2019 form extended.
  2. Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity you are permitted is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019 form. You must consult ISS beforehand if you wish to take up any other work during your stay.
  3. If offered a comparable position at another college or university, discuss your plans with ISS to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.
  4. Comply with the U.S. Department of State's health insurance requirements for J-1 visa holders and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status.
  5. Report to ISS any change of home address or phone number within 10 days of move.
  6. The dependent spouse is expected to reside with the J-1 while in the United States.
  7. Keep your passport valid. Passports can be renewed by your consulate in the United States. For a listing of Foreign Embassies in the U.S., go to the US State Department Website of Foreign Embassies Homepage.

Travel Outside of the U.S.

When traveling outside the United States, J-1 Exchange Visitors and dependents must have their DS-2019 signed for travel by their J Advisor in ISS/OIP, must have a valid passport and a valid visa for re-entry to the United States.


Individuals in Visiting Professor and Researcher categories may be eligible to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of five years. However, individuals in Short-Term Scholar category are limited to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of six months. No extensions can be granted beyond this maximum.

In order to process a J-1 extension for the Visiting Professor and Researcher categories, the following documents are needed:

1. A letter from the sponsoring professor requesting an extension, including:

  • The J-1 Exchange Visitor's UT EID.
  • The specific dates of the extension.
  • The specific amount of university funding provided, if applicable.

2. If insurance benefits are included.

  • Verification of funding if the scholar will not be supported by the department.
  • Verification of insurance that meets the requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents.

3. Passport

4. I-94

5. Previous form DS-2019

Please note: Extending the DS-2019 extends the immigration status of the J-1 Exchange Visitor, but does not extend the visa stamp in the passport. If the current visa is expired and the Exchange Visitor travels outside of the United States during the extended period, he/she must apply for a new visa stamp to return to the United States.

Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Some exchange visitors with J-1 visas are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement. It requires you to return home for at least two years after your exchange visitor program. This requirement is part of U.S. law, in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e). If you cannot return home for two years, you must apply for a waiver. The Department of Homeland Security must approve your waiver before you can change status in the United States or receive a visa in certain categories. For more information visit U.S. Department of State.

Prepare to Return Home

Prior to departure from Tyler, please make sure you've completed the following.

  • J-Scholar Report
  • Submit departure itinerary to OIP Advisor
  • If health insurance expires before departure date, ensure to extend coverage
  • Return any borrowed items (must be returned clean)
  • Make sure any library books are returned, utilities scheduled to be turned off, and apartment manager alerted of intent to vacate
  • If dependent attended school, obtain their transcripts and notify registrar of student's departure
  • Attend exit meeting and complete exit survey

For more information email or call 903.565.5960. 

J-1 Dependents

A J-1 Exchange Visitor may bring their spouse and/or child/children under 21 by applying for J-2 visa/s. A separate DS-2019 is required for each visa applicant. Please specify at time of application that you intend to bring a dependent with you.