This page outlines and clarifies departmental responsibilities for hosting J-1 exchange visitors.
1. Compliance with Federal Eligibility Requirements
When you invite a scholar and submit a DS-2019 request form, you are responsible for verifying that s/he meets the eligibility requirements to come to the United States as a J-1 exchange visitor. The exchange visitor:
- may be sponsored as a J-1 if s/he will be participating in a program that furthers the objectives of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
- must possess sufficient financial support.
- must possess sufficient English language proficiency for the proposed teaching/research activity.
- must have appropriate academic credentials for his/her category and position
- must intend to return to his/her home country.
- must be aware of the health insurance requirement and maintain health insurance which meets both Federal and University requirements throughout his/her J-1 program.
See Hosting a J-1 Exchange Visitor for more details.
- An exchange visitor may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the start date indicated in section 3 of the DS-2019.
- All J-1 exchange visitors must complete the Mandatory Check-In Process which consists of two online trainings and an in-person physical presence check-in at the International Center. Mandatory Immigration Check-in for Scholars has instructions for scheduling the physical presence check-in.
- J-1 Exchange Visitors must bring both originals and photocopies of the immigration documents listed in the Required Immigration Documents section of Mandatory Immigration Check-In for Scholars to the physical presence check-in.
- The IC is required by law to verify the exchange visitor’s immigration documentation and report arrivals of exchange visitors to the Department of Homeland Security in SEVIS. J-1 Exchange Visitors must attend the Mandatory Immigration Check-In no later than 15 days after their DS-2019 start dates so that the International Center can report their arrival by the government deadline. Missing this deadline has significant consequences; the Exchange Visitor will no longer be in valid J-1 status, will no longer have employment eligibility, and will have to leave the United States.
Note: Colleges and universities are required to report information about J-1 Exchange Visitor and their J-2 dependents to the Department of Homeland Security using SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is the International Center’s responsibility to comply with SEVIS reporting regulations.
3. Delayed Arrival
If the exchange visitor is unable to arrive and report to the IC within 15 days of the start date on the DS-2019, contact the Shared Services Center (SSC), or for Medical School units, contact the Immigration Compliance Unit (ICU), so that a request for an amended start date can be submitted to the International Center. The IC must update the intended start date in SEVIS to prevent the record from being cancelled by SEVIS.
4. Early Departure
Since the IC is required to report any changes to the end date of an Exchange Visitor’s J-1 program to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS, departments hosting scholars must notify the IC if a scholar is leaving U-M before the end date of the DS-2019 (found in section 3). Please use the J-1 Exchange Visitor Departure Form located on our web site to report a scholar’s early departure. Remember that even if your J-1 Exchange Visitor is employed by U-M and you terminate his/her appointment in M-Pathways, you must also submit the departure form in order to notify the IC that the Exchange Visitor’s J-1 program has ended.
5. Health Insurance
- All U-M J-1 exchange visitors are required to have health insurance which meets University of Michigan standards, for themselves and their dependents, from the start date through the end date of their DS-2019 form. These standards are met by any of the health insurance plans administered by the Benefits Office (U-M Premier Care, etc.) or by the U-M International Student/Scholar Health Insurance, which is offered by Aetna Student Health.
- All exchange visitors will be automatically enrolled in the International Student/Scholar Health Insurance beginning on the start date on their DS-2019 to ensure that they are covered.
- J-1 exchange visitors who have University appointments and are eligible for one of the U-M faculty/staff health insurance plans should use normal Benefits Office procedures to enroll themselves and their dependents in one of these plans as soon as possible after arrival. Once the visitor has been enrolled into a benefits plan, the International Health Insurance will be cancelled automatically.
Note: Please remind benefits-eligible Exchange Visitors whose dependents will join them in the U.S. at a later date to enroll their dependents in their U-M faculty/staff insurance plan as soon as their dependents arrive. If the dependents are not enrolled within 30 days of arrival, they cannot be added until the next open enrollment period.
- J-1 exchange visitors who are not eligible for a U-M faculty/staff health insurance plan will stay enrolled in the U-M International Student/Scholar Health Insurance plan, effective from the start date of their DS-2019. If these visitors would like to request a waiver of the insurance requirement by presenting evidence of alternative acceptable coverage, they should follow the instructions at U-M Health Insurance Standards and Insurance Waiver. The waiver request form must be submitted within 30 days of the Physical Presence Check-in.
6. General Obligations
- Make sure that your J-1 exchange visitors understand how to enter and update their local addresses and phone numbers in Wolverine Access, and help them if they need assistance. U.S. Government guidelines for updating addresses and phone numbers are special for these visitors, so they should follow the instructions on the I-Center website.
- Cultural Exchange: provide opportunities for your Exchange Visitor to interact with American individuals and groups and experience American culture firsthand. This includes both activities within the department (meetings, seminars, etc.) and activities that have been arranged with the express purpose of enabling the visitor to actively participate in an aspect of American culture, including sports, theater, holiday celebrations, etc., or to gain a deeper understanding of some aspect of U.S. culture.
- Make sure that your Exchange Visitors get MCards if appropriate.