UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / Hiring International Faculty & Staff / Inviting J-1 Exchange Visitors

Inviting J-1 Exchange Visitors

University departments wishing to invite a J-1 Exchange Visitor should follow the steps below. 

To make a request to invite or hire a J-1 Exchange Visitor, please request access to our immigration software system, iCAT. To request permission, please follow instructions at  Request Access Instructions

Department and/or college requests will continue to be limited to those who have been pre-approved and vetted through appropriate department channels.  Permission will limited to no more than 2 people per department.  

Please note that the International Scholar and Student Services office (ISSS) will assess a fee, click here for more information.


Step 1: Determine Eligibility for J-1 Status

For assistance in determining eligibility, departments should contact ISSS in order to select the most appropriate J-1 category and/or visa status for the Exchange Visitor.  A complete list of J categories are available here.

Step 2: Determine English Proficiency

Determine that the candidate has sufficient English skills (including verbal communication) to undertake your program objectives. This is a regulatory requirement found in 22 CFR 62.10(a)(2). Also, departments should verify that candidate meets the minimum educational requirements: Master’s Degree or a Bachelor’s with extensive experience (at least 10 years) in the relevant field. 

As of January 5, 2015 the U.S. Department of State regulations require that faculty provide proof that an objective measurement was used to determine English language proficiency. 


Step 3: Determining the Start Date of J-1 Status Status

Departments must allow a total of approximately 60 days for completing all steps for a J-1 exchange visitor.  Therefore, departments must consider the following factors in deciding a reasonable start date: 

  • An employee’s personal or work related travel itineraries (employees should inform departments as soon as possible) 
  • Expiration of current visa status, gaps in current work authorization including an employee changing to J-1 status or “transferring” a current J-1 visa status. 
  • Potential delays due to administrative processing by the U.S. Embassies in adjudicating the visa
  • Hiring or selection dates which will not allow enough time for visa appointments for interviews
  • Pre-filing preparation and processing required for ISSS (typically 2-3 weeks)

Many of above factors are out of the control of ISSS. Therefore, departments must allow ample time to complete the J-1 visa process given all possible factors. ISSS is unable to process incomplete requests.

To comply with university policy, departments should also inform their candidates that obtaining J-1 status on their behalf does not obligate the university to sponsor the employee for H-1B. Such sponsorship is left to the discretion of hiring officials.

Step 4: Review Financial Requirements

ISSS will prepare the DS-2019 and the department will be notified when the packet is ready to be picked up for mailing. Prior to issuing the DS-2019 ISSS will verify that funding meets the minimum requirements.

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor only is $1,834/month or $22,000/year
  • J-2 Spouse is an additional $567/month or $6,800/year
  • J-2 Child (per Child) is an additional $392/month or $4,700/year

Note: J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Student Non-Degree category must receive a minimum of 51% of their funding from a source other than personal funds (i.e. funding from universities or governments).

Step 5: Submit Application to ISSS

Initial requests for all J-1 Exchange Visitor categories except Student Intern are submitted through iCAT. Please find the instructions here.

Note:  J-1 Student Intern category requests along with J-1 extension requests will continue to be submitted via paper requests.  Please contact Marc Invergo for instructions and documentation to be completed by the department for this category

Reporting Incidents

Per [22 CFR 62.13(d)], All Departments/Hosts are required to report incidents involving J-1 exchange visitors that have or could endanger the health, safety, or welfare of an exchange visitor or otherwise could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or the sponsor’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute.  Examples include, but are not limited to exchange visitor’s death, exchange visitor missing, exchange visitor serious illness or injury, incident involving the criminal justice system, sexually-related incidents or abuse, negative press involving a sponsor’s exchange visitor program, litigation, foreign government involvement, lost or stolen passports, violations of export control, intellectual property theft, and other situations.  Should an incident occur, please contact Marc K. Invergo at or call 859-257-8776 as soon as possible.

UK Policy Regarding Changes of Status to H1-B

The University of Kentucky has determined that J-1 visa holders are expected to remain in this status for a minimum of two years before the University will sponsor a change of status to H-1B. This requirement is a UK policy, not an immigration regulation. It does not apply in cases where a tenure-track faculty position is being sought with a change of status to H-1B or  O-1 status.


Departments wishing to extend the stay of an Exchange Visitor should submit the "J-1 Scholar Extension" form in iCATat least 30 days in advance of the Exchange Visitor’s DS-2019 expiring. 

Information to be included in request: 

  • JV Account number for the $216 processing fee (fiscal year 2017/2018) 
    • International Student & Scholar Services charges a fee for the processing of a DS-2019 Certificate of 
    • Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status for all J categories, except J-1 students. This fee maybe paid either by the department or the J-1 Exchange Visitor, but payment must be processed through a JV.  (Note:Fees cannot be charged to grants.) 
  • Ending date of extension 
  • Funding amount 
    • Funding must be guaranteed for the specified period of time. It is possible to give an extension for short periods as funding allows. 
  • Funding source 
    • If the funding source is UK, specify the name of the grant. 
    • Other sources must be verified by a statement from the sponsoring organization or bank. 
  • Proof of continued health insurance (including J-2 dependents, if applicable) 
    • If covered by UK-HMO, include a copy of the computer print-out verifying coverage of SOS(Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance). 
    • If covered by Humana insurance, include a copy of an updated E-mail from Humana with the confirmation number. 
    • If other insurance, the Exchange Visitor must complete a form verifying that the coverage meets the UK requirements

PDF icon J-1 Exchange Visitor Invitation Letter