Hosting a J-1 Exchange Visitor

Instructions for FIU administrators

Florida International University is the sponsor of the Exchange Visitor Program P-1-04568 which is administered by the Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). In this section, the term “sponsor” refers to the Florida International University, the “Responsible Officer” and “Alternate Responsible Officers” are administrators/advisors in the Department of International Student and Scholar Services. Dr. Alejandra Parra, Executive Director, is the primary contact for the Exchange Visitor Program and the Responsible Officer (RO). Other Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) are Ms. Claudia Anderson (J-1 Coordinator), Mr. Ted Randall, Ms. Evelyn Rodriguez and Ms. Claudia Biscardi.

Due to the intricacies of J-1 immigration processing, the ISSS recommends that departments submit completed forms to ISSS at least 90 days prior to the proposed start date of the academic activity to enable sufficient time for processing.

Florida International University refers to a scholar as an exchange visitor for U.S. Department of State purposes and as a “visiting scholar” for university purposes. If the scholar’s spouse or children accompany him or her, they are considered dependents and must enter the United States on J-2 visas. The University is authorized to sponsor exchange visitors in five categories:

  • Professor,
  • Research scholar
  • Short-term scholar
  • Specialist 
  • Student

Annually, Florida International University hosts approximately 200 visiting scholars in the J-1 category. J-1 Exchange Visitors visit the university for as little as one week to a maximum of 5 years in paid or unpaid appointments (depending on their J-1 Exchange Visitor categories).

Department faculty and administrators who wish to invite and/or employ an international scholar in J-1 classification should click on the links under ‘Bringing an Exchange Visitor to FIU’ below to learn about how to request J-1 visa-related documentation for the prospectice scholar.

BEFORE THE SCHOLAR ARRIVES AT FIU

Bringing an exchange visitor to FIU

How does the process work?

  1. An FIU Faculty/Administration member decides to host/invite an Exchange Visitor under one of the J-1 Categories sponsored by FIU. This is done either by inviting the individual, partnering with an international organization; or through other international links that may result in an international scholar visit.
  2. FIU Faculty/Administration member works with the appointed liaison (generally an HR Liaison) within their departments/colleges and together, they prepare the documentation to submit to ISSS (see list below). Due to the intricacies of J-1 immigration processing, the ISSS recommends that departments submit completed forms to ISSS at least 90 days prior to the proposed start date of the academic activity to enable sufficient time for processing.
  3. During this process, the prospective Exchange Visitor communicates directly with the Faculty/Administration member and the College/Department liaison who are preparing the packet to be sent to ISSS.
  4. Please read the Health Insurance Information instructions very carefully. This is one of the main requirements for a DS-2019 to be issued. The hosting college/department/liaison is responsible for perocessing the payment and sending the payment receipt to our office.
  5. Once ISSS receives all the required documents (see instructions for submission below) and evaluates all of the forms and supporting documentation, a DS-2019 form is issued to assist the prospective scholar in obtaining the J-1 visa in his /her home country.
  6. The ISSS Officer contacts the FIU College liaison when the DS-2019 is ready to be picked up.
  7. The FIU Department/College sends the documents to the Exchange Visitor.

Step 1

  • Export Questionnaire.  Please access this form and follow all instructions. You will be notified via email when approved. Include approval email with your submission to ISSS.  DS-2019 process cannot be started without this approval. 

Step 2

Please access these docuemnts that will provide useful instructions:


Compile the following documents and submit them via email (as ONE PDF document) to the ISSS Exchange Visitor Coordinator

  • DS-2019 Initial Application Request (Read Instructions here)
  • Copies of all previous DS-2019s (if applicable)
  • FIU Offer letter
  • Funding information or Letter from Sponsoringt university, organization, or government agency in English indicating funding in US dollars or Personal Bank Letter indicating funding in US dollars
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of Biographical page of the prospective scholar (and dependents) passport
  • Export Questionnaire email confirmation of clearance 
  • English Language Proficiency Form
  • Health Insurance Purchase Receipt

SCHOLAR COMPULSORY HEALTH INSURANCE:

Visiting Scholars MUST hold a valid and FIU approved Health Insurance Policy for them and their dependents for the duration of their stay at FIU. The hosting department will ensure that scholars are insured by including the RECEIPT FOR INSURANCE PAYMENT to the application packet.

FOR SCHOLARS PAYING FOR THEIR OWN INSURANCE:
Please provide them with this link and they will be guided through the process. Once they have purchased their insurance they have to submit the RECEIPT for payment to the hosting department.
www.gallagherstudent.com/FIUscholars

FOR SCHOLARS WHOSE INSURANCE WILL BE FUNDED BY THE HOSTING DEPARTMENT
The hosting department will have the scholar complete the form below and then handle the communication directly with the insurance company (see the bottom of the form) to complete payment. The hosting department will include ONLY the proof that the insurance has been purchased and paid in the packet submitted to ISSS.
J-1 Scholars Insurance Enrollment Form 2022-2023-For Scholars funded by FIU Hosting College

PURCHASING ALTERNATIVE INSURANCE 
If scholar wishes to purchase approved alternative insurance, he/she can visit the FIU Approved Alternative Insurance Options link. The receipt for payment must be submitted with the DS-2019 Application packet.

IF SCHOLAR WISHES TO USE OWN INSURANCE
If a prospective scholar has his/her own policy, he/she will need to have the insurance company complete an International Student Health Insurance Compliance Form
The Hosting Department will review the form and if applicable, ISSS will allow the insurance to be used.

ONCE THE J-1 SCHOLAR HAS ARRIVED AT FIU

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AND SCHOLAR SERVICES (ISSS)

The ISSS Office is responsible for the imigration processes that brought the scholar to the United States as well as mainaining the scholar's immigration status current while he/she is at FIU. 

  • Once the Visiting Scholars arrives at FIU, he/she MUST complete their Immigration Check-in. This will allow our office to validate their record in our immigration database and the US Government database (SEVIS). Scholars can access the J-1 SCHOLAR CHECK IN AREA
  • Scholars are invited to attend an ISSS Welcome Session that provides useful information about campus, their responsibilitues, and related matters. ISSS contacts the scholars for date/location/time.
  • ISSS can provide information on short-term housing, securing a bank account, driver’s license, transportation upon arrival and during stay, as well as general information for the scholar and dependents.
  • ISSS will work with the scholar on any immigration porcess or question he/she may have during their stay.
  • ISSS will ensure that scholars are complying with the J-1 Visiting Exchange Program requirement of working/doing research/teaching in person and on campus due to the cultural and knowledge exchange nature of this program.  J-1 scholars cannot be designated as fully remote.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE HOSTING DEPARTMENT/COLLEGE/FACULTY

The FIU Host department or faculty should establish contact with the visiting scholar before arrival to campus to answer any initial questions or concerns. Please provide this Pre-Arrival Information for the scholar's preparation to come to the United States.  Once the visiting scholar arrives, the College/Department must assist the scholar as folows:

  • Arrange for an FIU email account and an FIU ID Number (Panther ID).
  • Provide appropriate office space, computer and library access
  • Assist the scholar in obtaining an FIU OneCard
  • Provide a tour of campus or encourage the scholar to take advantage of the tours offered through FIU.
  • Introduce the visiting scholar to all members of the hosting department and/or college, including a personal introduction to the college administration (dean/associate dean).
  • Encourage the scholar to attend events around campus offered by ISSS or the many other groups and/or offices.
  • Introduce the scholar to department staff and colleagues and discuss an appropriate work schedule
  • Maintain frequent contact with the scholar throughout the duration of his/her stay on campus
  • Assist or provide guidance on the related HR processes that the scholar will have to complete, including the processing of their Social Security Card, to start their appointment and payment cycle. It is the hosting department's/college's resposibility to assist the scholar with this process as their employer. HR processes MUST be overseen by the hosting college/department in order to provide a smooth and rapid transition for the scholar.
  • Ensure schilar and dependents are covered by FIU approved Health Insurance for the duration of their stay (Lack of coverage can result in immigration issues for the scholar and family)
  • Ensure the scholar has a base/office/workspace/assigned classroom ON CAMPUS to perform his/her activities IN PERSON as the US Department of State's J-1 Exchange Visiting Scholar Program requires. J-1 scholars cannot be designated as fully remote.

Non-degree exchange visitor student researcher

(If the Exchange visitor is an individual who is a student in his home country and is sponsored to come to Florida International University to undertake research related to a degree she/he will be granted by his/her home institution)

The student will not be admitted as a degree seeking student by Florida international University admission office, will not be enrolled in any classes. With the unit’s Dean’s permission, a school/faculty member can invite a student to pursue his or her objective and use Florida International University facilities under the supervision of a faculty member.

Under J-1 Exchange Visitor regulations, a student coming for the purpose of engaging full time to comply with a “prescribed course of study” in their home country:

  • Must follow a program that is carried out pursuant to a written agreement between the American and foreign educational institutions
  • May stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 24 months
  • Must have health insurance which meets minimum federal requirements for the duration of stay

To proceed, these are the documents needed to process this individual’s DS-2019:

Compile the following documents. When all of the docuemnts are ready, please submit them via email (as ONE PDF document) to the ISSS Exchange Visitor Coordinator

  • A letter from the student’s academic advisor in the home country that describes the student’s academic program, confirms what Florida International University professor will supervise his/her work, and states a beginning and projected end date of the activity at Florida International University.
  • A letter from the sponsoring Florida International University professor regarding the nature of his/her involvement with the student’s project with the beginning and projected end date of the activity at Florida International University.
  • A memo from the school’s dean corroborating the arrangement.
  • A completed Non-Degree Exchange Visitor Student Researcher DS-2019 REQUEST FORM
  • Financial documentation which verifies in U.S. dollars how she/he will be supported while here at Florida International University.
  • English Language Proficiency Form
  • Export Questionnaire. Complete this form and you will be notified when approved. Include approval email with your submission to ISSS. DS-2019 process cannot be started without this approval.
  • RECEIPT FOR HEALTH INSURANCE PAYMENT-HOW TO OBTAIN IT:
FOR SCHOLARS PAYING FOR THEIR OWN INSURANCE:
Please provide them with this link and they will be guided through the process. Once they have purchased their insurance they have to submit the RECEIPT for payment to the hosting department.
www.gallagherstudent.com/FIUscholars

FOR SCHOLARS WHOSE INSURANCE WILL BE FUNDED BY THE HOSTING DEPARTMENT
The hosting department will have the scholar complete the form below and then handle the communication directly with the insurance company (see the bottom of the form) to complete payment. The hosting department will include ONLY the proof that the insurance has been purchased and paid in the packet submitted to ISSS.
J-1 Scholars Insurance Enrollment Form 2022-2023-For Scholars funded by FIU Hosting College

PURCHASING ALTERNATIVE INSURANCE 
If scholar wishes to purchase approved alternative insurance, he/she can visit the FIU Approved Alternative Insurance Options link. The receipt for payment must be submitted with the DS-2019 Application packet.

IF SCHOLAR WISHES TO USE OWN INSURANCE
If a prospective scholar has his/her own policy, he/she will need to have the insurance company complete an International Student Health Insurance Compliance Form
The Hosting Department will review the form and if applicable, ISSS will allow the insurance to be used.

EXTENDING AND/OR TRANSFERRING A DS-2019

DS-2019 Extensions

DS-2019 Transfers

 

Other visa categories

Florida International University employs H-1B “Temporary Workers in a Specialty Occupation” in a variety of paid positions. FIU also employs foreign temporary workers in other immigration classifications such as Trade NAFTA (TN), Persons of Extraordinary Ability (O-1) Department faculty and administrators who wish to hire an international employee in H-1B, TN or O-1 classification should contact their respective dean’s office.

For more information on this, access the FIU Immigration Process webpage.