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J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

EV Category Selection Criteria Eligibility Criteria* Duration of Participation
Professor An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, & similar types of institutions. May also conduct research.

Temporary appointment; non-tenure track position.

Participant has not been in the U.S. as a J-1 EV or J-2 dependent during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of a new EV program, unless the participant:

  • is transferring to the sponsor's program;
  • was in the U.S. less than 6 months; OR
  • was in a short-term scholar EV program.
3 weeks minimum, 5 years maximum.

An EV is barred from repeat participation for 2 years IF he/she:
  • Completes 5 full yrs of program participation with 1 or more sponsors; or
  • Completes a specific EV program & the SEVIS record becomes inactive before the full 5-year period ends.
Research Scholar An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. May also teach or lecture.
Short-Term Scholar A professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. 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. Will participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, study tours, professional meetings, &/or similar types of educational & professional activities.

No minimum duration, 6 months maximum. No extensions beyond the 6-month maximum period are allowed.

Specialist Experts in such areas as mass media communications, environmental science, youth leadership, international educational exchange, museum exhibitions, labor law, public administration, library science, & other non-academic activities. Individual is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, he/she seeks to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of observing, consulting, or demonstrating his/her special knowledge or skills, AND he/she does not fill a permanent or long-term employment position while in the U.S. 3 weeks minimum, 1 year maximum. Extensions beyond the 1-year maximum period are allowed only in very limited cases with US Dept of State approval.
Non-Degree Student An individual who is engaged full-time in a non-degree "prescribed course of study" conducted by a post-secondary accredited academic institution.  Non-degree academic program must have a specific educational objective. Such course of study may include intensive English language training, classroom instruction, research projects, and/or academic training to the extent allowed by Department of State regulations.

During the program, student must meet one of these criteria:

1) Student/program is financed directly or indirectly by: (i) U.S. government, (ii) home country's government, or (iii) international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute;

2) Program is pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government;

3) Program is pursuant to a written agreement between: (i) U.S. and foreign academic institutions, (ii) U.S. academic institution and a foreign government, or (iii) U.S. state or local government and a foreign government;

4) Student is supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds.

2 years maximum. Matriculation from non-degree student category to degree student category and vice versa is not allowed.

*Individuals must be sufficiently proficient in the English language to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program.

Source:  22 CFR 62 (Department of State Exchange Visitor Program regulations)