J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Each Exchange Visitor Program has a program description under which that program must operate and designates an individual or individuals as the University staff responsible for the administration of the particular J-1 program.

Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) regulates Foreign Relations. Part 62 regulates Exchange Visitor Program. As a designated sponsor, GMU must comply with regulations and compliance administration outlined in 22 CFR 62.

The Responsible Officer for the George Mason University J-1 Exchange Visitor Program:

Irina Chizhova
Associate Director for Faculty & Exchange Visitor Services
Office of International Programs & Services
SUB I, Room 4300
Email: ichizhov@gmu.edu

Scroll down to review the J-1 Scholar categories and what steps you need to take to invite a J-1 Scholar:

Category: J-1 Professor or Research Scholar

The program duration for the category J-1 Professor or Research Scholar is a minimum of 3 weeks and maximum of 5 years.

If you wish to participate in research/teaching activities at George Mason University under our Exchange Visitor Program sponsorship, you should first contact a faculty member or the department which you are interested in and discuss with them your proposed research/teaching interests. Requests for university sponsorship begin with the hosting department. Once the department agrees to host you, they will contact OIPS for the required paperwork.

George Mason's Policy

George Mason’s policy on eligibility for participation as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar (Handout 2022)

  • Must qualify professionally for a faculty appointment – the inviting faculty member must ask whether s/he would hire this individual
  • Possess a terminal degree (e.g. have a Master's Degree)
  • Make an academic contribution to the university
  • Affiliated centers/institutes must go through the related academic department to invite a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
  • Deans must sign all request forms
  • Visitors who don’t meet these conditions may come as a J-1 Short Term Scholar for up to 6 months; repeat participation in Short Term Scholar category is allowed.

Regulatory Conditions

Regulatory conditions affecting participation as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar

  • May not be a candidate for tenure
  • Must be proficient in English
  • Must maintain health insurance coverage for self and all dependents
  • 12 month bar – may not have been physically present in the U.S. in any J status (including J-2 dependent) during the previous 12 months unless transferring in from another institution, or unless previous J-1 stay was less than 6 months
  • 24 month bar on repeat participation as a Professor or Research Scholar
  • OIPS must examine all conditions when determining eligibility to participate as a Professor or Research Scholar.

Minimum program duration for a Professor or Research Scholar: 3 weeks

Maximum program duration for a Professor or Research Scholar: 5 years

The 5-year period is a continuous period given to a participant on a “use or lose” basis, beginning with the initial program begin date and ending 5 years from such date. J-1 participation at Mason may be extended as needed up to 5 years, or J-1 participant may transfer to GMU from another institution during their 5 year period.

The 5-year eligibility window can be closed, and the remaining time lost, if the participant completes a program in less than 5 years and returns home, and OIPS terminates the record. Participants must then wait for 2 years before returning on another J-1 program.

Category: J-1 Short-term Scholar

An ideal category for programs and visits lasting anywhere from one day to a maximum of six months.

A J-1 Short-term Scholar 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. A short-term scholar may engage in collaborative research. This is an ideal category for programs and visits lasting anywhere from one day to a maximum of six months, depending on the time needed to complete the objective. Extensions are not permitted.

Short-term scholars may participate in the Exchange Visitor Program at conferences, workshops, seminars, or other events listed their Forms DS-2019. Participants may also lecture or consult at institutions not listed on the Form DS-2019 if the responsible officer issues a written authorization for such activity. The authorization must be attached to the participant’s Form DS-2019.

Click here to download the Short-Term Scholar 2024 handout.


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