Services for International Students and Scholars

J-1 Scholars

Northeastern University serves as a visa sponsor for international visitors to participate in research, teaching, and degree programs with U.S. Department of State (DOS) approval. SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) manages a shared database that tracks the J-1 visa program.

  • Must have temporary academic appointment at Northeastern University as a postdoctoral fellow, research fellow, or as a faculty member.
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree with appropriate experience in the field in which research/teaching is to be conducted.
  • Must have adequate financial support for all living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying dependents (family members).
  • Must maintain health insurance for illness or accidents while at Northeastern.
  • The host Northeastern department determines that you have the appropriate academic background, funding support, and English language proficiency and offers you an academic appointment with the university.
  • The Office of Global Services (OGS) contact (SEVIS Contact) for the college submits all the required paperwork to the OGS so that we can prepare your Form DS-2019.
  • Once you receive your DS-2019, you may start the visa application process. Please sign and date in blue ink where indicated on the bottom of Page 1 of your DS-2019. Please do not make any other notations on the form. If you have J-2 dependents, who are receiving their own DS-2019 forms, they must sign their own forms (except children under the age of 14; you must sign their DS-2019 forms for them).

Please present Form DS-2019 with other required documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply for your J-1 visa. You should also present these forms to the Immigration Inspector at the U.S. Port of Entry when you arrive in the U.S.

  • Make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulatefor a visa interview. You must obtain your J-1 visa before coming to the U.S. to begin your program as a J-1 Scholar.* Entering with any other type of visa will invalidate your J-1 status. In anticipation of your visa appointment, please follow the instructions for obtaining your J-1 visa at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

*Canadian citizens are not required to obtain visas, but must carry and present all their J-1 documents when entering the U.S. to receive J-1 status.

  • Visa Application Fee: Check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the visa application fee and payment options. Visit the website of the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa and familiarize yourself with the process.
  • SEVIS Fee: You must pay the SEVIS fee before your J-1 visa appointment (or before entering the U.S. if you are a Canadian citizen and do not require a visa). For complete and detailed information, please refer to the following website: gov/sevis/i901.

The SEVIS fee is required for prospective J-1 Scholars with “begin new program” indicated on their DS-2019 and who are applying for an initial J-1 visa from outside the U.S. The SEVIS fee is not required:

  • If you are currently in valid J-1 immigration status
  • If you are transferring to a new J-1 sponsor
  • For J-2 dependents

The spouse and children under age 21 of an J-1 visa holder receive J-2 visas and are called “dependents” for visa purposes.  J-2 visa holders may work during their stay in the United States with permission from the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Office of Global Services (OGS) offers instructions for J-2 Employment. Your spouse with an J-2 visa may study either part- or full-time, and children with J-2 visas may attend elementary, middle, and high school during your study program.

To comply with the terms of your J-1 visa, please

  1. Arrive before the start date on your DS-2019
  2. Check in with Northeastern’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Clearance Form. This should take around 10 minutes.
  3. Register to attend the Office of Global Services (OGS) scholar clearance session. The clearance session times will be shown on the events calendar. For the session, please bring:
    • Your DS-2019
    • Your passport with J-1 visa
    • DS-2019s and passports for your dependents
    • I-94 electronic U.S. entry form that you will download from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website


  1. Update your address (within 10 days of moving) and/or phone number by submitting the J-1 Exchange Visitor Address Update Form
  2. Insure your phone number and emergency contact information is updated in MyNEU
  3. Keep your DS-2019 and passport up to date
  4. Maintain health insurance for yourself and your J-2 dependents. Massachusetts law requires all residents to have medical insurance coverage, and the U.S. Department of State also stipulates the coverage needed.
  5. Scholars may travel abroad throughout your stay. Any extended leave of absence must be in accordance with your academic appointment agreement.
  6. If you plan an extended absence of more than 30 days, you will need special OGS authorization.

If you travel outside the United States during your period of study, you will need:

  1. Your DS-2019 form signed by the OGS less than one year prior to your date of entry. You can submit the OGS Scholar Travel Signature Request Form along with your DS-2019 to OGS. Allow five business days for travel signature processing.
  1. A valid passport with DS-2019 visa stamp

If family members with J-2 visas travel with you, they require the same documents.

If you travel within the United States, you should carry:

  1. Your valid passport
  2. Form DS-2019
  3. I-94

with you. The I-94 is your arrival/departure record and maintained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from information you give on arrival at U.S. immigration. Always print your I-94 each time you arrive back in the United States and carry it with you when traveling. If you enter by land, you will receive a paper I-94 form. Keep the form with your passport. Family members with J-2 visas who travel with you should carry the same documents.

If you transfer to or from another academic institution from Northeastern University, contact OGS as soon as you make your plans so that the OGS can help transfer records between institutions. The timely reporting of your institutional change will assure that you remain in status.

J-1 visitor exchange program participants in the following categories must wait two years following the completion of their exchange visitor program before applying for an immigrant or certain non-immigrant visas:

  • Your program funding came from the U.S. government or your own government, either of citizenry or of residence,
  • Graduate-level medical education or training,
  • You possess certain skills deemed necessary by your country for its development.

Your DS-2019 form and J visa will have the specific parameters.

Twelve-month bar

J-1 visa holders in the United States for more than six months in the previous year in J visa status are not eligible to enter the United States as a J-1 research scholar or professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 short-term scholar category is not applicable to the 12-month bar. This bar applies to J-2 dependents, as well. The 12-month bar does not prevent you from returning to the United States in another visa status.

Twenty-four-month bar

J-1 visa holders in the researcher scholar or professor category may not return to the United States as a J-1 scholar in the research scholar or professor category for a 24-month period. This bar also applies to J-2 dependents. The 24-month bar is not the same as the two-year home residence requirement. The 24-month bar does not prevent you from returning to the United States in another visa status.

J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents must depart the United States within 30 days of their Form DS-2019 expiration date or program completion date, whichever is earlier. Please notify the Office of Global Services (OGS) of your program’s completion by submitting OGS’s Program Completion Form.

All J-1 Scholars must attend a mandatory OGS J-1 Scholar Immigration Clearance Session at the first available time listed below after entering the US. Failure to attend this session will compromise your immigration status.

After entering the US, but before attending a Clearance session, you must complete the mandatory Online J-1 Exchange Visitor Immigration Clearance Form. It should take you about 10 minutes to complete this online form. When you come to a Clearance session, you will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your DS-2019
  • Your Passport containing your J-1 Visa
  • (If applicable) Your dependents’ DS-2019 and their passport(s) containing their J-2 visa(s)
  • I-94 Information – You need to retrieve and print this information from the I-94 Website

NOTE: All scholars are required to register for an Immigration Clearance Session before attending. Please find upcoming sessions and mandatory registration here.