Inviting a J-1 Scholar

Follow the procedures below to invite a J-1 scholar in the short-term scholar, research scholar, or professor category.

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Request a DS-2019

At least two months prior to the scholar's expected start date, the UMN hosting department should request a DS-2019 Form from ISSS. 

The DS-2019 is the J legal document a scholar needs for the J visa application process, for entry into the U.S., and for maintaining legal immigration status once they arrive in the U.S.

The department downloads and completes the Prospective J-1 Scholar Application. Refer to the Instructions for assistance.

The department then submits either a hard copy of the completed application to ISSS or sends in one email to [email protected] with a subject of “DS-2019 application for [name of scholar]”. You will receive a confirmation email that we’ve received the emailed materials.

This begins the process of producing a DS-2019 for the scholar. Applications must be submitted at minimum two months before the scholar’s expected start date. This allows for ISSS processing time, but more so, for U.S. consulate visa processing, which ISSS cannot expedite.

ISSS then prepares the DS-2019. It is currently taking four weeks to process the request. If the application is not complete, processing time will take longer. ISSS will notify the department via email when the DS-2019(s) is ready to be picked up.

See Transfer of J Scholars if the scholar is currently on a J visa at another U.S. institution.

See Change of Status if the scholar is currently in the U.S. on a different visa type.

Mail DS-2019 to Scholar

Twin Cities campus departments: Pick up the DS-2019 at ISSS, review it, and mail it to the scholar.

Other campus departments: ISSS will FedEx the DS-2019(s) to your campus. Your department then mails the DS-2019(s) on to the scholar.

*Scholars must have the original DS-2019 to apply for their visa and enter the U.S. They should not use a copy. It is recommended to send the original DS-2019 via FedEx or another private carrier to help ensure timely delivery.

We also recommend pointing scholars to the New Scholars section of our website, where they can find information about housing, planning for arrival, getting insurance, and more.

Scholar Pays SEVIS Fee and Applies for Visa

The scholar receives the DS-2019 Form from the department, pays the SEVIS Fee and goes to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in their home country to apply for the J-1 entry visa.

The scholar needs to bring:

  • DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Proof of Funding/Support (i.e.: UMN Department offer letter, bank statement, official grant award, etc.)
  • UMN Department Letter of Invitation (if the scholar doesn’t have a UMN offer letter already)
  • Receipt of payment of SEVIS Fee (SEVIS I-901 Fee)
  • The scholar should contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where they will apply, for further application requirements

Please note: The length of time for the J-1 entry visa to be processed can vary greatly depending on what the current processing times are at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where the scholar will apply. This can affect their arrival date and when they can begin their program at the UMN. The wait time can range anywhere between 1 week to 3 months or more. Scholars should contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where they will apply to inquire about current visa processing times.

Scholar Travels to U.S.

The scholar receives a J-1 entry visa in their passport and makes travel arrangements to enter the U.S.

At the U.S. border, the scholar shows the customs officer:

  • Passport with J-1 visa
  • Letter of invitation / offer letter from UMN hosting department
  • DS-2019
  • Proof of funding/support

Scholar Reports to ISSS

Immigration regulations require ISSS to report to the government database (SEVIS) the scholar’s arrival at the UMN. Therefore, to maintain J legal status, scholars MUST report to ISSS within 25 days of the start date shown on their DS-2019 form to complete their mandatory Scholar Check-In. If a scholar is delayed and cannot meet the reporting requirement, the UMN hosting department should request new DS-2019 dates by submitting the online Amendment Form. When scholars report to ISSS, they need to bring all of their visa documents.

We also strongly recommend that scholars attend an orientation session, hosted weekly by ISSS.

Scholar Purchases Health Insurance

If the scholar will not receive employment-based University insurance and will be here for more than 31 days, they will need to contact the Office of Student Health Benefits to purchase the mandatory insurance for themselves and their eligible J-2 dependents. Learn more about health insurance for J-2 dependents.

Scholar Applies for Social Security Number

If the scholar will be paid by the UMN, they should apply for a Social Security Number after their ISSS Scholar Check-In. After obtaining an SSN, or if the scholar already has an SSN from previous employment, they are required to present their visa documents to Central Payroll.

Scholars Already in the U.S.

Learn more about how scholars can transfer to the University of Minnesota, change their immigration status, or change their J-1 category.

Last updated: September 28, 2021