Visa for International Employees
All persons who are not U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, (“green card holders,” “resident aliens”), must have permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain and work in the United States. This permission comes in various forms of visa classifications. It is mandatory that all noncitizens and nonimmigrants maintain a valid visa status for employment. Below are some of the most commonly used visa classifications for noncitizens and nonimmigrants at East Carolina University.
Contact for any visa except J-1: Brian Meyerhoeffer, Director of Immigration Services
International Visitors & Payments
Exchange Visitor Program: J-1
Contact: Sandy Dumpor, Scholar/Student Services firstname.lastname@example.org
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program allows East Carolina University to bring foreign professors, researchers, short-term scholars, specialists, and students to the United States. The University has been approved by the State Department (formerly USIA) to serve as the visa sponsor for these individuals. Federal regulations govern the Exchange Visitor and the sponsor.
The intent of the program is exchange of knowledge. The assumption is that the foreign national is coming temporarily to the United States and expects to return home. The J-1 exchange visitor classification is appropriate for most research scholars and for faculty who do not hold tenured or tenure-track positions.
To apply for a J-1 visa, scholars are issued a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status; commonly referred to as a DS-2019. The spouse and children of a J-1visa holder, holds J-2 status and may apply to the USCIS for permission to work in the United States.
The following J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories are authorized by the Department of State for East Carolina University:
Student – An individual who is:
1. Studying in the United States:
- Pursuing a full course of study at a secondary accredited institution;
- Pursing a full course of study leading to or culminating in the award of a U.S. degree from a post-secondary accredited educational institution; or
- Engaged full-time in a prescribed course of study of up to 24 months duration conducted by:
-A post-secondary accredited education institution; or
-an institute approved by or acceptable to the post-secondary accredited educational institution where the student is to be enrolled upon completion of the non-degree program;
2. Engaged in academic training as permitted in § 62.23(f); or
3. Engaged in English language training at:
(i) A post-secondary accredited educational institution, or
(ii) An institute approved by or acceptable to the post-secondary accredited educational institution where the college or university student is to be enrolled upon completion of the language training.
Professor – An individual who is:
- primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
Research Scholar – An individual who is:
- primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture unless disallowed by the sponsor.
Short-Term Scholar – An individual who is:
- A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions.
Specialist – An individual who is:
- an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills.
(Source: NASFA Manual)
J-1 Exchange Visitor Process
To help us prepare the necessary documents, the following items are required from the hiring department:/p>
- an Application for a form DS-2019. This form must have original signatures from the Department Chair and Dean. (Original signature page should be sent to Sandy Dumpor, OIA, MS#598.)
- a copy of the contract letter or exchange agreement
- financial documentation to support the position
- a copy of the Exchange Visitor's passport
Upon receipt of these items, the DS-2019 Form is prepared within 3 – 5 business days. The department must arrange to come by and pick up the DS-2019 Form.
NOTE: The DS-2019 is a controlled form and will not be placed in campus mail.
The DS-2019 form, along with other documents from OIA, should be mailed to the incoming Exchange Visitor.
The University's success in obtaining approval of its petitions is dependent upon its responsible adherence to law, regulation, and procedures. It is essential, therefore, that individual departments within the University and all those with authority to recruit and hire University employees understand the procedures, time frames, and restrictions involved in the appointment of foreign nationals and to plan accordingly. This requirement applies to all appointments—those of unpaid visiting scholars, as well as salaried faculty and staff. Please contact Scholar/ Student Services if you have additional questions.
Time Required Prior to Bringing a J-1 Exchange Visitor to ECU
OIA, (Office of International Affairs), should be notified two to three months in advance of a J-1 Exchange Visitor's (EV's) visit to allow sufficient time for receipt of required department documents, and to give the individual sufficient time to make an appointment with the Embassy and get their visa to come to the U.S.
30-day Entry and Exit Window
There is a 30-day window prior to the J-1 Exchange Visitor's Beginning Program Date. Exchange Visitors can enter the U.S. 30 days ahead of starting their program at East Carolina University. This entry time allows incoming visitors to get settled into a house or apartment before checking in at East Carolina University.
NOTE: The 30 day window Entry and Exit window is not to be used to begin the J-1 status early, nor to extend the J-1 status for additional days. The last date shown in Item #3 on the DS-2019 form is the last date the Exchange Visitor should be on campus.
The Exit Window allows 30 days to pack, travel inside the U.S., and to make return travel arrangements.
It is important to have an accurate Beginning Program Date stated on the invitation letter and on the DS-2019.
If a visitor is delayed, does not, or will not show up within this 30-day entry time, it is imperative OIA is notified immediately.
The EV's record will be automatically deleted from SEVIS if not activated before the end of this 30 day entry period. If the EV comes in past the 30 day entry period, they will not be allowed to stay in the U.S.
However, if something prevents the visitor from entering the U.S. when expected, the DS-2019 Program Date can be moved forward to a later date, but only if OIA is notified BEFORE the expiration of the 30 day entry period.
Federal Medical Health Insurance Requirements
Under the J-1 Exchange Program, Exchange Visitors are required by federal regulation to have health/medical insurance which meets the following minimum requirements:
- $100,000 minimum per accident/illness
- $500 maximum deductible per illness
- $50,000 provision for medical evacuation
- $25,000 maximum repatriation coverage
Any scholar who willfully fails to maintain health insurance (either for themselves or dependents) will forfeit their J-1 status in the U.S. and be terminated.
(h) An exchange visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above while a participant in an exchange visitor program or who makes a material misrepresentation to the sponsor concerning such coverage shall be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and shall be subject to termination as a participant.
If the Exchange Visitor is being provided with a stipend to include the cost of insurance, a policy or insurance card must be provided at check-in.
Arrival at ECU Campus
Each Exchange Visitor will need to check in at the Office of International Affairs (OIA) as soon as possible after arrival. Please call Sandy Dumpor at 737.4378 to make an appointment for Check-In.
J-1 Exchange Visitor Intent to Transfer
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Intent to Transfer form is to be used for J-1 Students and Scholar attending East Carolina University who intend to transfer out of East Carolina University to attend another institution.
This form and the supplemental materials listed on the form must be submitted to OIA for processing at least 30 days prior to the transfer out date.
Eligibility for J-1 Students:
- All J-1 Students must be pursuing a full course of study at East Carolina University in order to be eligible to transfer to another institution.
- Classes must begin within 30 days of transferring out or 30 days within the program completion date.
Eligibility for J-1 Scholars:
- All J-1 Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars, and Professors must be pursuing the same prescribed activity that is listed on their current Form DS-2019 in order to be eligible to transfer to the new institution.
- All Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars, and Professors must have time remaining on their existing DS-2019 form in order to transfer to another institution. (Maximum length of stay for J-1 Exchange Visitor is five years).
Honorarium and/or Reimbursement Payment for Short Term J-1 Visitors
J-1 (Short-term Scholars)
The J-1 Short-term scholar visa classification can be used by a professor, research scholar, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills on campus.
A J-1 short-term visitor can accept an honorarium and reimbursement of travel expenses.
Academic Training: J-1
Students who enter the United States as exchange students or degree seeking J-1 visa students are eligible to accept employment under certain conditions after completion of study or program.
International students on J-1 visas are eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training.
Post-doctoral students are permitted three years of Academic Training. (Some J-1 program participants are also allowed to work part-time during the academic program.)
Academic Training is granted in the form of a letter by the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). Students should consult with the Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer at the Office of International Affairs.
Academic training is off-Campus work authorization for J-1 students to supplement their academic program in the United States before or after completion of their degree. Academic training involves "paid employment."
Students are allowed to work up to 18 months after their degree completion. If the student completed a doctorate degree, they may qualify for up to 36 months of academic training. (Academic Training is only granted for 18 months at the time). Part-time employment for Academic training counts against the 18 to 36 month limit, the same as full-time Employment. Earning more than one degree does not increase the amount of academic training time.
- One semester of study qualifies for four months of academic training.
- One year of study qualifies for nine months of academic training.
The J-1 student must obtain and present a written offer of appropriate employment to the RO prior to the end of his/her program.
Your primary purpose in the U.S. must be to study rather than to participate in Academic Training.
- You must be in good academic standing at the school named on the DS-2019.
- The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
- Throughout your academic training, you must maintain your ability to stay in the U.S.
- You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your academic training.
Application Procedure For J-1 Academic Training
Optional Practical Training: F-1
F-1: Practical training is a legal means by which F-1 students can obtain employment in areas related to their academic field of study. Students, in general, must have completed one academic year (approximately nine months) in F-1 status and must maintain their F-1 status to be eligible for practical training. Optional Practical Training (OPT) must be authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on a recommendation from the designated school official (DSO) at the school which issued the form I-20, a government document which verifies the student's admission to that institution. The term "optional" means that students can opt to use all or part of their total practical training allotment of a maximum of 12 months. Students who have received OPT permission will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by the USCIS. Their name, photo and valid dates of employment are printed on the EAD. Employers should note that the average processing time for USCIS to issue the EAD is two or three months, and students may begin employment only after they receive the EAD which will indicate the starting and ending dates of employment.