A Division of the International Studies Office



Department Responsibilities

  • Work with your Dean's Office and Human Resources to determine the appropriate academic affiliation.
  • The faculty host should draft a well-defined research and/or teaching agenda, determine the start date and duration of the scholar’s visit, and funding, if any, associated with the scholar’s stay. The invitation or offer letter must include appointment dates, remuneration (if any), a description of program activities, research focus and any other expectations or restrictions the University or department may impose. 

Please note that the start date listed on the request form should conform to the date that you expect the scholar to start his or her program at UVA, NOT the expected date of entry to the U.S. Visa regulations allow scholars to enter the country up to 30 days in advance of the start date listed on the DS-2019, which should allow scholars sufficient time to enter the country and get settled before beginning their program at UVA.

  • Obtain evidence of sufficient funding from all sources for the duration of the appointment. J-1 Scholars may be self-funded or may receive funds from the department. Total funds must equal a minimum of $1,550 per month from all combined sources for the exchange visitor, and an additional $500 per month for each dependent (J-2). Self-funding scholars must demonstrate funds to cover the entire period requested. Appropriate proof of funding includes bank statements, scholarship letter of award, or letter of support from home institution.
  • Obtain evidence of English language proficiency

Examples of approved recognized language exams include TOEFL, IELTS or IBD. Exam results should be no more than 2 years old. 

  1. Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.
  2. If the scholar earned a degree in the U.S. or from an institution whose language of instruction is in English, a copy of the diploma or transcript will fulfill the requirement.
  3. A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.

The supervising faculty can conduct the interview, but should ensure that the prospective Exchange Visitor is proficient enough in listening and speaking to function on a day to day basis in the community. You must maintain a record of the date of the phone or videoconference interview, name of interviewer, topics addressed during the interview, and the duration of the interview. Interview attestation must be attached to the J-1 request form. 

  • The host professor and/or department administrator should communicate with the scholar before arrival; arrange for office space in the department, telephone, library privileges and computer use as appropriate; and ensure that the scholar is integrated into the activities of the department. Even if the scholar will not be employed by UVA, the host faculty member is expected to assist or collaborate with the scholar, and to be aware of the scholar’s activities while at UVA. 
  • Complete the J-1 Sponsor Request online through your ISSP connect portal. Required documentation includes 1) evidence of funding, 2) documentation of English language proficiency, 3) scholar’s CV, 4) copy of passport ID page, 5) departmental offer letter detailing appointment type, length, remuneration (if any), and any other terms of sponsorship. Obtain the appropriate signatures from the Department Chair and the Dean’s office and then forward the completed and signed J-1 Sponsor Request with accompanying documentation to ISO. If the Exchange Visitor is a foreign medical graduate, attach "incidental patient contact” form.
  • When it has been processed, the DS-2019 form will be available to download from the scholar's ISSP portal. Notify the ISO if the Exchange Visitor will not arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date on the DS-2019.

Notify ISO of any change in the scholar’s activities including a change in duties, worksite location, or dates of participation. If the scholar is planning to continue his or her J-1 program at a different institution in the U.S., we can transfer J-1 sponsorship to the new institution. The scholar will need to complete the Transfer Out request through their ISSP connect portal and contact the ISO to discuss the procedures for coordinating the transfer.

ISO Responsibilities

Upon notification of the J-1 Sponsorship Request in the ISSP portal, ISO reviews the application materials for completeness and to ensure that they meet program requirements and eligibility criteria, prepares the DS-2019 and emails the scholar and department that the DS-2019 is available to download. Separate DS-2019s are issued for accompanying dependents.

In addition to the DS-2019 forms, we include information for the visiting scholar designed to assist in preparing to come to the U.S. and to UVA. We include information on:

  • the visa process and U.S. government regulations affecting the scholar's legal status in the U.S.
  • transportation to Charlottesville,
  • housing
  • social security number and drivers license
  • health insurance requirements

The ISO provides pre-arrival information to visiting scholars through our website. In addition to providing pre-arrival and orientation information, the ISO provides on-going support. Scholars can make an appointment with an advisor through their ISSP connect portal. Advising hours are Monday through Thursday 9-12 and 1-4 if there are questions or issues they wish to discuss. 

The ISO also sponsors a variety of programs and activities through the Lorna Sundberg International Center. A calendar of events is available on the website. Activities are open to anyone and we actively encourage visiting scholars to participate.

Visiting Scholar Responsibilities

The Exchange Visitor must pay the SEVIS fee (the department may pay the SEVIS fee on behalf of the Exchange Visitor or reimburse the EV, but this is at the discretion of the department).  The ISO does not pay these fees on behalf of international students or scholars. The EV completes the on-line visa application (form DS-160), pays the visa application fee, and makes an appointment with the consular office at the nearest US Embassy for a visa interview.  Accompanying dependents apply for J-2 visas. (Canadian citizens are visa exempt, and simply present the DS-2019 to the U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry.)

In some cases, delays in visa approval should be anticipated due to security reviews that take into account the applicant's country of origin, the likelihood that the visa applicant will return to the home country following completion of their program, and field of research.

The Exchange Visitor must enter the U.S. on or before the program start date listed on their DS-2019 form and must check in with the ISO no later than 30 days beyond the program start date (this is done online via Zoom). If entry is not possible within that time frame, a new DS-2019 should be requested. Check in with ISO within 30 days of the program start date is mandatory.  Failure to do so results in immediate termination of the J-1 program.