Skip to main content

Sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 exchange visitor visa is the most common visa category for academic staff at Cornell. This visa is for academic exchange. It may not be used for tenure-track positions. It is relatively easy to process, and visitors may be paid a salary or self-fund.

J-1 work authorization is job- and location-specific. If the J-1 exchange visitor will need to be at multiple worksites, these sites must be part of their original program objectives and listed in the initial J-1 request. As the J-1 program is an exchange program, Department of State and Cornell policy is that remote work is only permitted if 1) the program has some in-person component, 2) the department has a supervision plan in place, and 3) the remote worksite is part of the original program objectives. In most cases, additional worksites cannot be added after the J-1 program has begun. 

Please take a look around! Our website has a wealth of information about J-1 exchange visitors. We are also happy to advise you or your visitors in person.

Exchange Visitor Categories 

Learn more below about categories of J-1 exchange visitors and their unique requirements.  

Professors and Researchers 

Faculty and staff in this category may be paid a salary or self-fund. They must be engaged in teaching or research and must have an academic appointment or qualifying internship. Academic staff hired as professors and researchers are required to have a master’s degree or Ph.D. and be well-established in their discipline.  

Eligibility Restrictions

Two-Year Repeat Participation Bar 

Professors or research scholars are required to have a gap of two years between the end of any previous professor/researcher exchange program and the beginning of a new professor/researcher exchange program. Visitors beginning new programs that will include repeat visits should have their programs extended for the full duration of their collaboration, up to the five-year maximum, even if portions of that time will be spent outside the United States.  

If your visitor is not eligible for a new professor/researcher exchange program, consider a short-term scholar program. 

12-Month Bar 

An individual who has been in any category of exchange visitor—including as an exchange visitor dependent or J-1 student—for more than six of the 12 months immediately preceding the new program start date is ineligible for the professor/researcher category.  

If your visitor is not eligible, consider a short-term scholar program. 

Short-term Scholars 

This category is only used for faculty and staff who will be at Cornell for less than six months or for visitors who are ineligible for the professor/researcher category.  

Short-term scholars may receive payment for services and/or reimbursement for their expenses. They must be eligible for an academic appointment or be appointed as an intern (an advanced degree such as master’s or Ph.D. is required). Extensions beyond six months are not permitted. 

Maximum Time Limits 

J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to work at Cornell for a limited period of time. The maximum length depends on the job category.  

Professors and Researchers 

Up to five years

Short-term Scholars 

Up to six months. Extensions can be made within the six months, but the length of the entire visit cannot exceed six months. Most visitors will not be able to change to another immigration status from within the United States. 

Duration of Status

Your exchange visitor's authorized stay is limited to the dates entered on their DS-2019 certificate of eligibility.

Entry to the United States is permitted up to 30 days before and 30 days after the beginning date on the form. Exchange visitors have a 30-day grace period after the end date of their DS-2019. During this time they can remain in the United States but may no longer be paid for employment. 

Financial Support 

Financial support must be verified for the entire length of your visitor’s stay.  

The minimum amount of financial support (net income) for individuals and for family members is assessed biannually by location.

Note the minimum amount does not include the cost of required health insurance and may not be enough to supply some visitors’ living needs. A person meeting only the minimum requirements, for example, may need to seek a shared housing situation.  

Ithaca and Geneva 

  • $2,400 per month for individual 
  • $1,200 per month for spouse 
  • $500 per month for one child and $400 per month for each additional child, if spouse is coming and will provide childcare 
  • $1,100 per month per child, if child is coming without J-2 spouse 

New York City and Washington D.C. 

  • $3,000 per month for individual 
  • $1,200 per month for spouse 
  • $500 per month for one child and $400 for each additional child, if spouse is coming and will provide childcare 
  • $1,200 per child, if coming without J-2 spouse 

Taxes and Social Security Number 

In general, foreign nationals earning any money in the United States must file a tax return, even if their earnings are below the minimum established annually by the IRS. Encourage your J-1 visitors to determine their tax status by contacting Payroll.

Employment Limitations 

J-1 exchange visitors may work at Cornell in the position described on their DS-2019 form. They are not permitted to receive compensation from another employer or for a different Cornell job.  

Occasional off-campus lecturing or consulting (as measured by days, rather than weeks, months, or semesters) may be allowed if it contributes to their original purpose in coming to Cornell University, but a letter of permission must be obtained from the Office of Global Learning before such work can be undertaken.  

Accepting compensation for a service without appropriate work authorization is a very serious violation of legal status in the United States. Find out more.

Critical Incident Reporting 

We are required by law to notify the U.S Department of State of any critical incident that may impact the reputation of the J-1 exchange visitor program.  

Please help us comply with this requirement. Email the Office of Global Learning in the event of an exchange visitor death, serious injury, arrest, conviction, or any other situation that could be considered a critical incident. We will submit a report about the incident to the U.S Department of State.