Professor and scholar visas

Exchange visitors under the research scholar and professor categories are eligible to apply for a J-1 visa.

An Exchange Visitor in the Professor category is for a foreign national that is primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at an accredited post-secondary educational institution. The Research Scholar program refers to a foreign national that is primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project. The research scholar may also teach or lecture.

After you have been offered a temporary short-term job, and/or join a research group to collaborate in a joint project, the URI sponsoring department will request a DS-2019 form on your behalf.  You will use the DS-2019 form to schedule a visa interview at the United States embassy or consulate in your country.

Applying for a J-1 professor and scholar visa

After receiving your DS-2019 form

1. Read and confirm the information appearing on the form. If you find errors, please e-mail the Office of International Students and Scholars to request a new document before going to your appointment.
2. Sign and date the form, at the bottom of page 1. Read the DHS instructions on page 2. This page explains your legal responsibilities as a J-1 recipient.
Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
3. Find the nearest U.S. Embassy or consular post that has jurisdiction over your visa application and request a visa interview.
4. Examine your passport before going to your visa appointment. The passport must be valid for at least six months into the future.Important: Do not attempt to enter the US more than 30 days prior to the beginning date noted on the DS-2019 form.

Visa interview

The appointment will be in English, not in your native language. Be prepared to demonstrate that you are entering the US with the sole intent of obtaining a degree or participating in training. Be prepared to demonstrate that you have strong ties in your home country, and that you intend to return home.

Documents You Must Take to the Visa Interview

  • Two passport-size photos
  • DS-2019 form from URI
  • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 payment
  • Letter of invitation and/or employment (scholars, professors or student interns), or award letter
  • Financial sponsorship letter (if sponsored by U.S. government agency, own government, other agency)
  • Bank statement in your name, letters of credit, proof of anticipated assets if your support is from personal and/or family funds

Documents Required at the Point of Entry (airport, border)

  • Passport
  • DS-2019 form
  • Letter of invitation from the University of Rhode Island
  • Proof of financial responsibility
  • Upon arrival, a US Customs and Border Protection Officer will review all your documents and ask you specific questions regarding your stay in the US.

Your passport will be stamped with the notation J-1 and duration of stay (D/S). Your two index fingers will be scanned by an inkless device and a photograph of your face will be taken.

12/24 month bar

The 12 month bar applies to individuals who were in the U.S. on any J visa status for more than six months in the previous 12 months prior of the start date of the Research Scholar/Professor program will not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar/ Professor category for a period of 12 months. An exception to this rule is for those who were in a Short Term Scholar category, or whose total J program duration was 6 months or less. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status or in J categories such as Short-Term Scholar or Student.

Any individual who participates in an Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Research Scholar categories must wait 24 months after completing the program before returning to the U.S. to conduct another Research Scholar or Professor J-1 exchange program. The 24-month bar will apply regardless of whether the duration of the J program was a few months or the full five years allowed. It does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status.

Two-year home country foreign residency requirement

When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program you may be subject to the two-year home-country foreign residency requirement if your exchange program is funded by either your government or the U.S. government, involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country or you received graduate medical training.

If this requirement applies, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. You are not prohibited from traveling to the United States but may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the foreign residency requirement is satisfied.

If you are made subject to the two-year residency rule, the J-1 visa stamped in your passport will have the following annotation “subject to 212e.” If you have questions about the requirement, including whether or not you will be subject to it, please ask the Consular Officer when you apply for your visa. For the terms of the requirement please read page 2 of the DS-2019 form.

Report to Office of International Student and Scholars

The University of Rhode Island must report your arrival to the Department of Homeland Security. Report to the Office of International Student and Scholars within 10 days of your arrival in the United States do not forget to bring your passport, DS-2019 form, and proof of health insurance, when making your first visit.

We’re here to help

Office of International Students and Scholars
Office Hours:

Monday – Friday
8:30am – 4:30pm Eastern Time

International Center, 3rd FL
37 Lower College Road
Kingston, RI, 02881
Phone: 401.874.2395

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