Instructions for the Prospective J-1 Scholar Application

The Prospective J-1 Scholar Application is for UMN hosting departments to request a DS-2019 document from ISSS to invite a prospective international scholar on a J-1 visa. Below are instructions for how to complete specific portions of the application.

The application is to be completed by the hosting UMN department and submitted to the ISSS J-1 Visa Coordinator. If you have additional questions about completing this form that are not answered below, contact the J Visa Coordinator at [email protected] or sign-up for an Information Session (if available).

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Section 1: UMN Hosting Department and Contact

Enter the contact information for the person in the UMN hosting department who will be the primary person ISSS should contact in case more information is needed and when the DS-2019 is finished processing. The person must be staff or faculty at the UMN.

Section 2: Prospective Scholar Contact Information


Names should be spelled as shown in the scholar’s passport. Due to SEVIS requirements, ISSS will use the spelling as shown in the machine-readable section on the passport. A preferred name is optional for the scholar if they wish to share a different name than what is on their passport (this name will not be used as the name on the DS-2019).

UMN ID (provided by department)

UMN hosting departments are required to provide a PeopleSoft ID for their prospective J-1 and J-2 visitors, regardless of whether the UMN will employ them or not. If a past ID already exists for someone, it should be used for all of their future visits. Duplicate IDs cause many issues and, therefore, should be avoided. Because PeopleSoft is used to process SEVIS documents, you must provide complete and accurate information about the J-1 and J-2 visitors in PeopleSoft, as well as in the ISSS application.

If your scholar will not have an appointment at the UMN, please review the guidelines for scholars without appointments to know how to provide access and other privileges to the scholar during their stay.

Date of Birth

Double-check that you’ve entered the correct Month/Day order, as many countries use the opposite order (Day/Month).

City of Birth

While SEVIS requests the city of birth, many passports indicate a “location” of birth. If the passport shows the city of registration or province of birth, that is also fine to use. Some U.S. consulates prefer the location indicated on the passport.

Section 3: Scholar Background Information

Home Country Position Code

Follow the instructions on our Codes webpage to answer this question.

Undergraduate Student

See minimum education requirements for J-1 scholars.

Residency Programs Not Allowed

ISSS cannot process DS-2019s for clinical residency programs. If you wish to invite a foreign national for a residency, please contact Molly Hoffman at ISSS (6-7100) to discuss other visa options. Students should apply for F-1 visas instead of the UMN J-1 visa. Foreign Medical Graduates (physicians) should contact Amrita Choudary ([email protected]) in the Office of Graduate Medical Education.


If the applicant is a physician, you are required to check one of the options. If option (2) is chosen, we cannot process your DS-2019 request without a letter attached as instructed below.

  1. No Patient Contact (observing): ISSS will include a “No Patient Contact Letter” with the finalized DS-2019 provided to your department. The letter will state, "This certifies that the program in which [name of physician] is to be engaged is solely for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research and that no element of patient care is involved." The original version of the letter and DS-2019 are to be mailed to the scholar by your department. 
  2. Non-Clinical, Incidental Patient Contact: The UMN department must request a "non-clinical, incidental patient contact" letter. See specific instructions on the Letter for Foreign Physicians and the Letter for Foreign Veterinarians. Foreign dentists should have a letter written by their faculty mentor or department head on UMN letterhead including the statement “This certifies that the program in which [name of dentist] is to be engaged does not involve performing surgery.”

The original version of the letter and DS-2019 are to be mailed to the scholar by your department. If the applicant is a student (not yet a physician), a letter is not required.

Section 4: UMN Program Information

Program Dates

  • Timelines for DS-2019 processing and visa application: When your department considers a program start date, please take the following information into consideration. Include 3 weeks for document processing by our office, plus as many weeks as the U.S. consulate requires for visa issuance (or for a Change of Status to be granted by USCIS). The J-1 should inquire about visa processing timelines at the U.S. consulate where they will apply for an entry visa.
  • Special timing considerations for scholars: After consultation with the China Center, we recommend a minimum of 3 months processing time for Chinese scholars, calculated from the time a complete application is submitted to ISSS to the intended arrival date.
  • Entry date window: J-1 visitors must enter the U.S. and report to ISSS of their arrival within 25 days after the DS-2019 start date. J-1 visitors can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the DS-2019 start date but CANNOT be paid before the start date.
  • Change of program dates: See "Scholar Reports to ISSS" on our Inviting a J-1 Scholar page
  • Departure 30-day grace period: See 30-day grace period guidelines on our Departure page

UMN Subject/Field Code

  • You (or the applicant) must use our Codes page to find the subject or field in which the scholar will be engaged while in your department. The National Center for Education Statistics provides a helpful database and detailed explanations for most codes (also referred to as CIP codes).

Site of Activity

If there will be an additional site of activity, the department offer/invitation letter (or a separate letter) should include the following information:

  • UMN purpose that is fulfilled by activities at the additional location
  • Benefits the UMN will receive from the exchange activity at the location
  • Whether there is a written collaboration agreement between UMN and the other site of activity, and/or a previously established relationship between the department and the other site of activity
  • Nature of UMN supervision of the scholar while at off-campus site

Section 5: U.S. Presence

If the applicant is currently in the U.S.

ISSS needs to know their current situation so that we can provide appropriate advice. The applicant may be affected by the 12-month bar, the 24-month bar and/or the two-year rule. The applicant may also need to apply for a change of status in the U.S., or leave and re-enter the U.S. to affect a new status. If the visitor is already in J-1 status and in the same J-1 category, a transfer to the UMN J-1 program might be possible. Note the unique DS-2019 process for transfers on our Transfer page.

Section 6: Dependents

If there are more than 3 dependents, you can make copies of the dependent page.

All of the information is required for each J-2 dependent, including a PeopleSoft ID.

See our J-2 dependents page for more information including eligibility and insurance requirements. Family members are also generally able to visit the J-1 scholar in tourist status for short term visits. See our Inviting Family Members page for more information.

Section 7: Financial Support

Provide funding information for each category and the total amount. The total amount of all the funds must be equal or exceed the minimum financial requirement listed on the application. The minimum requirement includes the cost of the UMN mandatory insurance requirement for J-1 and J-2 visa holders. Because the minimum reflects a very low standard of living, we recommend the scholar plans to have more funding than this for themselves and family members for their stay.

Section 8: Department Signatures

Both the UMN Faculty Mentor/Supervisor and the UMN Department Head must sign this form (it can be the same person). Both must be UMN faculty. Application is considered incomplete if one or both signatures are missing. Faculty mentor responsibilities are found on our website.

Fee Form

The ISSS application processing fee is $395. This fee applies to initial applications and extensions for J-1 Research Scholars, Professors, and Short-term Scholars.

This fee form must be completed by the UMN hosting department before ISSS can process the DS-2019 request. ISSS cannot accept cash or checks for this fee. Other scholar related fees are outlined in our FAQs.

Statement of Responsibilities

The invited J-1 scholar must read through this two-page document and sign the bottom of the second page. It is expected that they’ve read and understand the information in the document. They may sign and return a scanned copy of the page to you to include in the hard copy of application materials submitted to ISSS.

English Proficiency Form

See our English Proficiency page for more information.

Last updated: August 23, 2022