About the J-1 Program: Purpose & J-1 Categories

The primary purpose of the J-1 exchange visitor program is to foster an exchange of ideas between Americans and foreign nationals, and to stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts. The exchange visitor category is an approval to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs; the primary purpose is for “Educational and Cultural Exchange”, not employment. This program enables the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations, and the contributions being made toward a peaceful and more fruitful life for people throughout the world; to promote international cooperation for educational and cultural advancement; and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.

The University of Florida International Center (UFIC) is the official Program Sponsor designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to administer J-1 Exchange Visitor programs at UF. The Exchange Visitor Services (EVS) unit within the UFIC has the responsibility of screening and selecting eligible foreign nationals for participation in their designated exchange visitor program, as well as supporting and monitoring the exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. EVS is also responsible for interpreting and implementing federal regulations that cover the exchange visitor program, and administering the program in a manner that fulfills the University’s objectives within federal guidelines. J-1 visa holders may not be employed on a tenured track position. Strict limitations on no patient care, and limited incidental contact (exception of the Student Intern category were no type of patient care/contact is permitted).

The University of Florida sponsors six categories:

Promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries. Primary functions are to conduct research, observation, internship activities, teaching and consultation in research related projects and collaboration. May take part-time UF courses, however courses cannot interfere with the primary objectives and cannot be the primary objectives. Financial compensation is permitted within the UF host department (funds must reflect on the exchange visitor’s Form DS-2019). Minimum of a U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree is required to qualify for these J-1categories. Inviting a J-1 Scholar.

  • Short-Term Scholar: maximum duration of six-months. Research, scholarly activities as well as teaching are permitted.
  • Research Scholar: maximum duration of 5 years. Research Scholar over Short-Term Scholar can be selected if the proposed time is under six-months with reasonable expectation an extension may be requested that would exceed more than 6-months. Research, scholarly activities as well as teaching are permitted (research/scholarly duties are the primary function for this category).
  • Professor: maximum duration of 5 years. Professor over Short-Term Scholar can be selected if the proposed time is under six-months with reasonable expectation an extension may be requested that would exceed more than 6-months. Research, scholarly activities as well as teaching are permitted (teaching duties are the primary function for this category).

Designed to allow foreign college and university students to come to the U.S. to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business, research and training practices in their chosen academic field which fulfills an educational objective towards completion of the student’s degree. Originally created for undergraduate level students however any degree level may be eligible. If the applicant has a U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree the Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar or Professor categories may be utilized. Purpose to be in the U.S. primarily to engage in a required internship program rather than be employed or provide/fill a labor need. Must engage in a minimum of 32 hours per week of structured internship activities. May take part-time UF courses, however courses cannot interfere with the primary objectives, cannot be the primary objectives, and may not count toward the minimum weekly hours for structured internship activities. Inviting a J-1 Student Intern.

  • Student Intern: maximum duration of twelve-months.

Permits foreign students the opportunity to study at American degree-granting post-secondary accredited academic institution. Must be substantially funded by a third party non-personal source such as home/U.S. government or government entity, employer, international organization, foreign/U.S academic institution. Must be officially admitted to UF and will be required to enroll full-time each academic semester. Eligible for on-campus part-time employment authorization, as well as off-campus full-time employment authorization, post- and/or pre-completion which allows certain types of study-related employment, paid or unpaid, such as internship, research, or observership directly related to the student’s field of study.

  • Degree Seeking Student: No maximum duration of stay; extensions granted at the discretion of host sponsor as long as normal progress towards completion of the degree is verified.

Permits short programs of study towards completion of a foreign degree program as well as for personal or employment enhancement. Must be substantially funded by a third party non-personal source such as home/U.S. government or government entity, employer, international organization, foreign/U.S academic institution; third party non-personal funding requirement may be waived if an active UFIC approved agreement is in place. Must be enrolled full-time per academic semester (or engaged full-time, per parameters in an active UFIC approved agreement). Eligible for on-campus part-time employment authorization, as well as off-campus full-time employment authorization, post- and/or pre-completion which allows certain types of study-related employment, paid or unpaid, such as an internship, research, or observership directly related to the student’s field of study. Inviting a Non-Degree Student.

  • Non-Degree Student: maximum duration of 24-months.