J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa – Short-Term Scholars

 1. Definition of J-1 Exchange Short-term Visitor Scholar. 22 C.F.R. 62.4 (b).

A J-1 Exchange Short-term Visitor Scholar is a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar type of institutions.

2. Purpose of the J-1 Short-term Scholar Program. 22 C.F.R. 62.21 (b).

The J-1 Short-term Scholar Program provides foreign scholars the opportunity to exchange ideas with their American colleagues, participate in educational and professional programs, confer on common problems and projects, and promote professional relationships and communications.

3. Location of Visit. 22 C.F.R. 62.21 (f).

Generally, a short-term scholar may only lecture, observe, or consult at the conferences, workshops, seminars, or other events or activities stated on his or her Form DS-2019. However, a short-term scholar may lecture or consult at institutions not listed on the Form DS-2019 if the short-term scholar obtains authorization from the program’s RO in writing. Any such written authorization must be attached to the participant’s Form DS-2019.

4. Duration of J-1 Short-term Scholar Status. 22 C.F.R. 62.21 (g).

Generally, exchange visitor program sponsors must provide each exchange visitor with a minimum period of participation in the United States of three weeks. Programs under the J-1 Short-term Scholar category are exempt from this minimum duration rule.

The short-term scholar is authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program, but only up to six months. No extensions are permitted under this category.

5. Other Options for Scholars.

Because J-1 Short-term Scholars may be subject to home residency requirements, a less detrimental option for the short-term scholar may be the B-1 visa category. The B-1 classification is reserved for individuals coming to the United States temporarily to conduct limited business activities, including negotiations, conferences, and consultations.

Under the B-1 classification, a scholar may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for usual academic activities (which can include lecturing, guest teaching, or performing in an academic sponsored festival) if:

  • The activities last no longer than nine days at any single institution or organization;
  • Payment is offered by the institution or organization;
  • The honorarium is for services conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and
  • The scholar has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than five institutions or organizations over the last six months.