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J-1 Scholar Eligibility and Requirements

The primary purpose of J-1 scholars programs is for academic exchange, therefore J-1 visas are not appropriate for staff or tenure-track positions. However, it is important to note that a J-1 scholar may hold a position normally classified as tenure-track, so long as the position will be temporary for the J-1 scholar. Any program an exchange visitor will participate in must be suitable to the exchange visitor's education, experience and needs. A J-1 scholar must be engaged in a full-time (40 hours per week) program capacity. Prospective exchange visitors must have earned at least a bachelor's degree to participate in the Professor, Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar categories, though higher degrees may be required for a specific position. For example, many J-1 Scholars are hired into post-doctoral appointments at the University, and therefore must have a doctorate degree. Additional requirements for J-1 scholars are described below.

English proficiency

J-1 regulations require all exchange visitors to have the ability to speak and understand verbal English, as well as the ability to read, write and comprehend written English, to be able to conduct their J-1 program successfully, and function on a day-to-day basis. The host department will be responsible for assessing the individual's proficiency in the English language as part of our application for a form DS-2019, through completion of the J-1 English Assessment Form and providing appropriate supporting documentation. The host department will be responsible for the cost of English language training for J-1 Scholars who arrive with inadequate skills. Please keep in mind that a consular official may deny a foreign national a J-1 visa if they deem their English language skills to be inadequate.

Department Host Requirement

As explained in the J-1 Scholar Department Questionnaire, each department that wants to bring a J-1 scholar is required to designate at least one person within the department to serve as a host to the J-1 scholar. The host can be anyone of foreign or U.S. nationality, who is willing to help the J-1 scholar find housing get acclimated to life at the University and in Rochester for the duration of the J program.  A comprehensive list of host responsibilities can be found here.

Minimum Funding Requirements


Non-UR funded research and visiting faculty positions, except post-doctoral research appointments

The funding amount must meet the minimum established for University of Rochester positions (e.g. postdoctoral appointments). Personal funds (i.e. bank accounts) cannot be used to fund a J-1 program in its entirety. If no established funding amount exists, then the ISO minimum for the principal J-1 of $3,100 per month (equal to $37,200 per year) is required, plus an additional $500 per month for each dependent who may accompany the J-1. Neither of these amounts includes the cost of a health insurance policy for the exchange visitor and if applicable, any accompanying family members.

Funding requirements for post-doctoral research appointments (UR and non-UR funded)

The funding amount must meet the minimum established for University of Rochester postdoctoral appointments. The current minimum funding amount is $55,341/year. Refer to the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) or the Arts, Sciences and Engineering (AS&E) post-doctoral appointment policy for more information.

Funding Verification

Verification of financial support for the total length of the visitor's program is required. Funding may come from the department, the visitor's government or employer, or a combination of these sources. Personal funds (i.e. bank accounts) cannot be used to fund a J-1 program in its entirety. Individuals who will not be paid by the University of Rochester MUST provide proof of funding that is:

  • Written in English 
  • On letterhead from the funding source 
  • Signed by someone with the authority to dispense the funds from the funding organization 
  • Include the specific dates of funding coverage 
  • Include amount of funding in U.S. dollars