Finding Us

IPO Office

phone: (208) 885-8984
fax: (208) 885-2859

Mailing address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1250
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

Physical address:
901 Paradise Creek Street
LLC Bldg. #3
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

J-1 Scholar FAQs

  • Am I eligible for J-1 scholar status?
    At the University of Idaho (UI), the J-1 program is used for temporary visits. By law J-1’s cannot be a candidate for a tenure-track or permanent position. Please see Who Qualifies as a J-1 Scholar for additional information.
  • How do I invite a J-1 scholar?
    Please see Guidelines for Bringing a New J-1 Scholar to Campus for additional information.
  • How do I apply for J-1 scholar status?
    Please see Scholars Needing a DS-2019 for additional information.
  • Does the employer need to advertise the job?
    Please see Exception 11 on the Human Resources website for additional information.
  • After I get J-1 scholar status, may I accept any job?
    You are authorized to work for UI only. Under certain conditions you may be paid an honorarium for occasional lecture, short term consultation, research done at another institution or conference expense, provided you have obtained an approval from the International Scholar Advisor ahead of time. Please contact International Programs prior to accepting offers to find out what you need to do to secure approval.
  • When may I begin working?
    As a J-1 visa holder you are automatically eligible to begin working or start your program up to 30-days prior to the begin date on your DS-2019. You are eligible to get paid after you have applied for a Social Security Number (SSN) which is your identification for tax purposes. Your department will assist you in getting to the Social Security Office if you need a SSN, which is located 40 minutes from Moscow.  

    If you are hired and paid by UI, the University’s Payroll Office must know your immigration status for taxation purposes. You will need to work with a Payroll Office representative or your host department in completing the proper documents. After each calendar year, you must make a report of your U.S.-source income called a tax return. Help with this process can be obtained through the International Programs Office, which will be available in February of each calendar year. 

  • If I get J-1 scholar status, how long may I remain in the U.S.?
    Your program dates are indicated on your DS-2019 from start to finish. You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the begin date and you have a 30-day grace period after the end date on your DS-2019. Dates on your DS-2019 must be updated to reflect the actual program dates. If an extension of your program is necessary, your host will need to turn in the appropriate documentation for that extension, providing a reason for the extension and additional proof of funding. If the program ends sooner than listed on the DS-2019 it is your responsibility to inform the Scholar Advisor of the change to remain in valid visa status.
  • If my job ends earlier than expected, may I still remain in the U.S.?
    You can stay only for a 30-day grace period in order to make arrangements to return to your home country. The International Scholar Advisor would need to be informed of the shortened dates and change the DS-2019 to reflect those dates.
  • What if my employer wants to give me a promotion?
    Your employer will need to work with the International Scholar Advisor on the next course of action, as continuing in J-1 visa status may not be possible.
  • What if I want to transfer to another university?
    Transfer to another university may be possible if it's agreed upon between sponsors and meets certain conditions such as time limitations and category restrictions. Transfer must be approved and coordinated prior to the exchange visitor moving to another institution.
  • How long does it take to get the J-1 status?

    Normal processing times at the UI is within 1 week for issuance of the DS-2019 as long as all documentation has been submitted to the International Programs Office. Normally the DS-2019 packet is sent via FedEx to the J-1 scholar, which may take up to 1 week. Visa processing times vary. Additional information can be found in the Scholars Needing a DS-2019 section.

  • How much does it cost to apply for J-1 visa?
    It will cost $180 to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee and approximately $160 for the visa application.
  • Do I need to get any immunizations before I arrive in the U.S.?
    Please check the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention for updated information about health risks and immunization for visiting North America.
  • How expensive is medical care in the U.S.?
    Because medical care is extremely expensive in the U.S., it is essential that a foreign scholar and accompanying family members have adequate health insurance while in the United States. For example, the average daily room charge at Gritman Medical Center (Hospital) $545 and, depending on the reason for hospitalization and the use of emergency services, can be more $1,200 per day. Surgeries or other types of physician care would be additional expenses for which the patient is responsible.

    Therefore, the U.S. Department of State requires that J-1 scholars and their family members have medical/health insurance for the duration of their program. Evidence of your medical insurance certificate or contract must be presented to the International Programs Office upon your arrival at the UI.
    Requirements of US Department of State are:
    • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness (to include maternity insurance for females of childbearing years)
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
    • Co-payment amount not greater than 25 percent (%) so that the insurance pays at least 75% of charges
    • Repatriation coverage of at least $7,500 (A type of life insurance whereby the deceased is returned to their home country)
    • Medical evacuation coverage of at least $10,000 (If the scholar should be too ill to perform their duties, this assists with expenses for the scholar/dependent to return to their home country)
    The scholar is responsible for the cost involved in purchasing a health insurance plan.  

    If the scholar is hired and eligible to receive UI employee medical benefits, please note that employee medical insurance at the UI does not cover medical evacuation and repatriation. Unless your UI host department agrees to pay for this you will need to spend around $38 per year per person for the evacuation and repatriation insurance. Insurance companies that provide medical evacuation and repatriation policies include:
    For scholars who are not covered by the UI employee medical insurance plan, you will be expected to purchase your own medical insurance. Prices vary depending on age and policy features (at a minimum $50-150 per month).  The three links provided below are U.S. insurance companies that do meet the requirements for J-1 health insurance:
    Please realize that the least expensive contracts offered as “travel medical insurance” usually do not cover costs of child birth, elective dental care, elective eye care or medicines. Be sure to check the benefits of the policy you purchase.
  • How do I get to the University of Idaho?
    UI is located in the town of Moscow, Idaho in the northwest corner of the United States. There is a small airport that serves the university community called Moscow/Pullman Regional Airport. Its symbol is PUW and can only be accessed through other U.S. airports such as Seattle/Tacoma International (SEA), Washington.

    It is also possible to fly to Spokane International Airport (GEG) and drive by automobile or shuttle to Moscow (80 minute drive). Daily airport shuttle service between the Spokane Airport and the UI campus is available through Wheatland Shuttle for a charge of $45 USD. Reservations can be made by contacting:

  • How do I get an apartment before I arrive?
    Your host department may be able to help you with this.

    However, here is some additional information:
    • Off-campus housing options
    • For more information about Moscow
    • To inquire about university housing, you may contact: 
      • UI Housing at or by phone at 208-885-6571. Please note that on-campus housing is very limited, so this may not be possible.
  • If I need to travel outside of the U.S. during my program, what do I need to do?
    You will need to request and obtain a travel signature on the bottom left hand corner of your DS-2019 (for dependents too), from the International Scholar Advisor and should also request a travel letter. Please make these requests at least 2 days prior to travel (preferably 1 or more weeks in advance). We also suggest that you obtain a letter from your host verifying your travel and your intent to return to complete your program.
  • If I travel outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days and I have dependents, what do I do?
    You should take your J-2 dependent(s) along with you. The J-2 visa status is based on the status of the J-1 scholar. By leaving your dependents alone in the U.S. you put yourself at risk of negative consequences, such as the refusal of a request for a visa renewal for abandoning your family and misuse of program.

  • What are reasons for termination of a J-1 sponsorship?
    Please note that it is your responsibility to be aware of and comply with the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and the US Department of State. It is important to realize that a sponsor shall terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in its program when the exchange visitor:
    • Fails to pursue the activities for which he or she was admitted to the United States;
    • Is unable to continue, unless otherwise exempted pursuant to these regulations;
    • Violates the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and/or the sponsor’s rules governing the program, if, in the sponsor’s opinion, termination is warranted;
    • Willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage required under these regulations.
    Please note that an exchange visitor who engages in unauthorized employment shall be deemed to be in violation of his or her program status and is subject to termination as a participant in an exchange visitor program. Following your arrival, International Programs will tell the rules and regulations with which a J-1 exchange visitor must comply to maintain lawful J-1 status while in the United States.

  • What should I know about immigration documents for a J-1 visa holder?


    A passport permits its bearer to return to the issuing country, usually the country of the passport holder’s citizenship. In order to obtain a J-1 visa from a U.S. embassy/consulate, your passport has to be valid for at least the next 6 months. If it is not valid for at least 6 months, you will be denied admission to the U.S. at the port of entry. 

    How do I renew my passport when I am in the U.S.?

    Contact the embassy of your country or their nearest consulate for instructions.


    A visa is a stamp affixed in your passport enables you to request admission to the U.S. It does NOT guarantee admission to the US. The validity period of the visa is determined by an agreement between your country and the U.S. in something called a reciprocity table.

    DS-2019 Form

    This is the document you use to request an entry visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. It is also called the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. The information on the DS-2019 is also stored on an electronic database called SEVIS. It is specific to you and any changes must be updated via your scholar advisor at UI. You must present this document along with your passport and visa every time you enter the U.S.

    Your DS-2019 remains valid until the program end date indicated.  

    I-94 Form

    This document is extremely important, even though you will not get one when you enter the U.S. This is necessary for when you need to demonstrate your current nonimmigrant status for a Social Security Number, driver’s license, for payroll, etc. The I-94 form has to be offered as proof. Therefore, you will need to print your I-94 card after your arrival in the U.S. at 
  • What is a DS-2019?
    A DS-2019 is an “eligibility” document which provides a basic description of the exchange visitor and the exchange activity. The DS-2019 enables the visiting scholar to:
    • obtain a J-1 visa at a US. Embassy or Consulate overseas
    • to enter/re-enter the U.S. as a J-1, provided they also have a valid unexpired passport and visa (Canadians do not need a visa to enter but must possess a DS-2019 to enter as J-1)
    • benefit from employment, change of status (if eligible), or transfer of institutions.
    The information appearing on a DS-2019 is contained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). All DS-2019s for scholars sponsored by UI are created by the Office of International Programs.

  • What is the 2-year home-country residence requirement?
    J-1 exchange program participants that are financed by their government or the U.S. government, or if their field of inquiry appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills list, will be subject to restrictions on changing to immigrant and most non-immigrant statuses, or acquiring immigrant and certain non-immigrant visas (H and L), unless they are granted a waiver or reside in their home country for a period of two years following the completion of their J exchange program.
  • What is the 12 month bar and does it apply to me?
    The 12-month bar applies to any exchange visitor who was in the U.S. in the preceding 12 months in any J-1 or J-2 status other than Scholar/Researcher. The exceptions to this are if you are a transfer from another program, were here as a Short-Term Scholar or were in the U.S. in any other J-program that was less than 6 months.
    If you were in a prior J-1 status other than the exceptions, you may not begin a new program in a research scholar/professor category until 12 months is completed outside of the U.S or in another visa status in between. For example, someone who was in the U.S. as a J-1 from January 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, would need to wait till June 1, 2014 before being eligible to return to the U.S. as a J-1 research scholar/professor.

    These 12 month bars apply only to Research Scholar/Professor category; the person subject to bar could still return as a J-1 Short-term Scholar.
  • What is the 24 month bar and how does it apply to me?
    Not to be confused with the 212(e) (2-year home country residency requirement). This applies in situations when someone came as a Research Scholar/Professor to U.S., completed their program and would like to return in the same category as Research Scholar/Professor for repeat participation. You would need to wait 24 months before being able to do so.

    These 24 month bars apply only to Research Scholar/Professor category; the person subject to bar could still return as a J-1 Short-term Scholar.
  • Do I need to be fluent in English?
    It is essential to ensure the visiting scholar has sufficient English language ability to assure a successful exchange for the benefit of all persons involved. We suggest that the host faculty member make a personal phone call to the prospective visitor. E-mail correspondence is not adequate for assessing conversational skills. The host department’s chairperson’s/director’s signature is an acknowledgement that the visitor has adequate English skills.
  • How do I apply for a J-1 Visa?
    A J-1 visa is a large stamp affixed to foreign passport which allows the visiting scholar to request entry to the U.S. A separate (J-2) visa is required for all family members that accompany the scholar as dependents. A J-1 visa stamp can only be obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a location outside the United States by presenting a valid Certificate of Eligibility DS-2019, along with a valid passport, and visa application forms, including all applicable fees.
  • What about my dependents?
    If bringing dependents with you to the U.S., they will be required to obtain a J-2 visa stamp. In order for our office to issue the DS-2019 for the J-1 dependent, the prospective J-1 will need to show proof of additional funding of at least $600 per month per dependent to cover basic living expenses. J-2 dependents are also required to have health insurance, same as the J-1 Scholar. See “How expensive is medical care in the U.S.?” above.
  • May I still enroll in school with J-1 scholar status?
    As a J-1 scholar, you cannot be a full-time student, but may engage in incidental study while in the U.S. In other words, you should not come with the intent of finishing a degree program.
  • Can I be denied a J-1 visa?
    There is always a possibility that obtaining a J-1 Scholar visa stamp may not be possible. It depends upon the circumstances and what you will be doing in the U.S., your home country’s agreements with the U.S., your visa interview and your intent to return to your home country. Many U.S. visas are approved and denied every day. 10 basic tips to follow when applying are*:    

    1. Showing Ties to Your Home Country. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those remaining in the United States. "Ties" to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. Each person's situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate or letter, which can guarantee visa issuance.
    2. English. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice conversation with a native speaker before the interview.
    3. Speak for Yourself. Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.  
    4. Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans. If you are not able to articulate the reasons for the particular program you will be engaged with in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to research and teach, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how your program at the UI relates to your future professional career when you return home.
    5. Be Concise. Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point.
    6. Supplemental Documentation. It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you are lucky.
    7. Not All Countries Are Equal. Applicants from countries suffering economic or political problems may have more difficulties getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their program finishes in the United States.
    8. Employment. Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to research or teach temporarily, not for the purpose of seeking permanent employment. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying JF-2 visa, be aware that J-2 dependents may apply for work authorization but funding from that employment cannot be to supplement living expenses in the U.S. as the J-1 is ultimately responsible for providing funding for the entire family. Be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States.  
    9. Dependents Remaining at Home. If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income in your family. If the consular office gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your scholar visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
    10. Maintain a Positive Attitude. Do not engage the consular office in an argument. If you are denied the visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
    *NAFSA would like to credit Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and former U.S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands, and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document.  NAFSA also appreciates the input of the U.S. Department of State.
  • Is there a different visa process for Canadian citizens?
    Though Canadian citizens are still required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee of $180, they are not required to obtain a visa stamp in their passports in order to enter the U.S. Therefore, they do not need to make a US Visa appointment. Instead they will be required to show all documents (DS-2019, passport, financial documentation, invitation/hire letter) at the port of entry and will pay a nominal fee for the visa status and I-94 card at the Port of Entry.