Host or Hire a J-1 Scholar

Academic departments may bring international scholars to UNL through the ISSO Visiting Scholars Exchange Program by careful planning and closely following this guide.

The J-1 visa classification is usually the most appropriate visa for a visiting International Scholar. Refer to ISSO's Visa Classification Table or contact an ISS Specialist with any question regarding visa status.

Bring a J-1 Visiting Scholar to UNL

This process is to apply for a scholar coming to UNL for the first time.
For a scholar already at UNL, use a Request for Extension of Stay form.
    1. Identify the terms of the exchange visitor’s project, assign a faculty mentor and complete the necessary hiring paperwork. Note that as of January 5, 2015, U.S. regulations require all new faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars (and some students) in J-1 immigration status to demonstrate proficiency in English.
    2. The host department submits the forms listed in the DS-2019 Request Packet including evidence of the scholar's English language proficiency to ISSO at least 2 months in advance of the scholar’s desired arrival date so the scholar will have time to obtain a visa. After documentation is submitted, ISSO will prepare a Welcome Packet for the scholar, including a DS-2019 form, and notify the host department when the paperwork is ready. 
    3. The host department mails the ISSO Welcome Packet to the scholar, along with a departmental invitation letter. The host department might also want to include information about working at UNL, living in Nebraska, U.S. academic culture, etc. The scholar should receive these documents as soon as possible to begin the visa process and make travel arrangements.
If the scholar is currently a J-1 Exchange Scholar at another U.S. school and wishes to transfer visa sponsorship to UNL to pursue the same objectives, make arrangements with an international advisor at the other school.
  1. After receiving the DS-2019, the scholar pays the SEVIS I-901 fee and then makes an appointment at a US embassy or consulate for a J-1 visa. Please notify ISSO if the visa is denied or if the scholar decides not to come to UNL.
  2. The host department should ensure that housing has been arranged prior to the scholar’s arrival and that the scholar has information about transportation to campus from the Lincoln or Omaha airport. The scholar may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on the DS-2019, and must leave the country within 30 days of the program end date listed on the DS-2019.
  3. Scholar check-in sessions are at 10 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The scholar must bring all immigration documents (passport and DS-2019) and be prepared to provide local contact information. Failure to check-in with ISSO will cancel the scholar's immigration status.
  4. Host institutions are required by law to provide an orientation to J-1 visa holders. ISSO holds an orientation the first Monday of the month for J-1 Exchange Visitors every at 4:00 p.m. During weeks when the university is closed on a Monday, orientation is Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.
  5. To receive payment from a US source, the scholar needs a Social Security number (SSN). To obtain one, the scholar must visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) office and present a copy of the invitation letter from the host department and original immigration documents (passport, DS-2019, I-94 card). The host department should assist the scholar in obtaining an SSN, if needed. The scholar should wait at least 10 business days from date of entry to the U.S. and 5 business days from date of check-in with ISSO before visiting the SSA office.

It is critical for J-1 scholars to remain in status. Please refer the scholar to the ISSO for any immigration-related questions.

Host departments should provide ongoing support for the scholar. The most meaningful part of any scholar’s experience is substantive academic and cultural interaction with the campus and community.

Consider inviting the scholar to be a guest in a classroom, prepare a presentation for your department, engage in social events, attend professional meetings, etc.