J-1 Exchange Visitor
This information is for the University of Houston hiring departments who have hired or are interested in hiring a foreign national. This information does not constitute legal advice.
The J-1 program was designed to promote exchange opportunities (i.e. research work, ideas, etc.) between the U.S. and other countries. UH hires individuals in the Student, Student Intern, Professor, Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar categories of the J-1 program. The immigration form for J-1 exchange visitors is the DS-2019 form. This form can be requested through ISSSO
Notable Requirements (note that other requirements/restrictions not mentioned here may apply):
Non-Tenure-Track: The faculty in J-1 status may not be a candidate for a tenure.
Wage: There is no specific wage requirement from UH; however, the exchange visitor must provide evidence of a minimum of $1200/month to receive a DS-2019 form.
Location: The assignment must be performed at the location identified on Form DS-2019.
Insurance Coverage: J-1 visa program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage (which includes medical evacuation and repatriation insurance). This coverage can be provided by UH, the exchange visitor’s financial sponsor, or purchased independently by the exchange visitor. Please see the following link for specific medical insurance requirements: ISSSO website.
Two-Year Home Residency: Certain J-1 workers will be required to return to their home country and not be allowed to apply for the same or another classification for two years until the home residency requirement is met or unless the requirement is waived through a process that begins with the U.S. Department of State: J-1 Waiver. This requirement is normally imposed on J-1 workers meeting one of the following three conditions: (1) the U.S. government, their home country’s government, or an international organization provided funding for the program; (2) the set of specialized knowledge and skills being applied at the job are on the Exchange Visitor Skills List of the worker’s home country; or (3) the worker obtained J-1 status to receive graduate medical education or training. Once the waiver is recommended by the US Department of State, no more J-1 program extensions are permitted and the J-1 must immediately apply for a change of status.
* It is imperative for departments to establish whether or not a foreign national applying for the H-1B classification is subject to the two-year home residency requirement. If unsure, please contact the Immigration Specialist and provide him with copies of the individual's J-1 visa(s) and form(s) DS-2019.
J-1 students enrolled at UH may work on campus per the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship; however, a letter from ISSSO authorizing the employment is required before the exchange visitor can begin working. Employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. J-1 students may work on campus on a full-time basis while school is not in session or during the vacation break. Employment during a summer session is limited to no more than 20 hours per week for graduate and professional students if taking a full course load.
Academic Training: Academic training in an academic field (i.e practicum, clinical, or student teaching) may be permitted. The students must apply for the academic training prior to the completion of the degree. UH exchange visitors can receive additional information by scheduling an appointment with an International Student Counselor in ISSSO: ISSSO Contact Information). Academic training is authorized by recognized officials in ISSSO.
Some types of academic training, internship, or fellowship may be eligible for payment via stipend rather than payroll. United States labor laws govern this distinction and the University can be subject to federal audit of payment practices.
These individuals engage in teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting for a period of time no less than three weeks and not to exceed five years (unless the participant is directly sponsored by a federally funded national research and development center or a U.S. federal laboratory).
These individuals engage primarily in conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project at UH for a period of time no less than three weeks and not to exceed five years (unless the participant is directly sponsored by a federally funded national research and development center or a U.S. federal laboratory).
These individuals engage in lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills relating to a research project at UH for a period of time not to exceed six months.