J Students

Current resources related to the March 6, 2017 Executive Order

On March 15, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order preventing the government from enforcing Executive Order 13780, limiting travel to the U.S. from certain countries. The Office of International Education continues to monitor the situation, and will provide information and resources as needed. More information on the Executive Order page.

Updated 3/16/17 at 11:15am.




What is a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program?
International students in J-1 visa status are Exchange Visitors participating in the Department of State’€™s Exchange Visitor Program.  The Exchange Visitor Program is carried out pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended.  Its purpose is to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.  All exchanges visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences with people in their home country.  International students in J-1 visa status have several important responsibilities and benefits related to their immigration status described throughout our J Student website.  If you have questions about any of the information, please come by the Office of International Education during advising hours to speak with an advisor.

Who is eligible for a J-1 student visa?
The Exchange Visitor Program, otherwise known as the J-1 visa, is part of a larger U.S. Department of State mission to foster cultural and educational exchange between countries. One eligibility criteria for the J-1 student visa is that a substantial portion of your financial support must be from a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship from an external funding source, for example, an International exchange organization or your home government. The second eligibility criteria includes ensuring the program has a cultural and educational exchange component. The J-1 Exchange Visitor program is not a work program and cannot be used as such.

What is a DS-2019?
The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program.

What is a DS-2019?
The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program.

What is government funding?
If you are funded in whole or in part by your home country’s government, and are issued a J-1 visa, you will be subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement. The same applies for those funded directly by the U.S. government or through a U.S. government grant designated for international exchange. Government grants that do not specify whether the funding is for international exchange do not subject an Exchange Visitor to 212(e).

What is the skills list?
The Exchange Visitor Skills List is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are deemed necessary for the development of an exchange visitor's home country. When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program, if your skill is on your country’s Skills List you are subject to the two-year foreign residence (home-country physical presence) requirement, which requires you to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.

What does GT sponsored mean?
Georgia Tech hosts both degree and non-degree seeking students through the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. To be considered a GT-sponsored student you are not recieving U.S. government funding and are not hosted by an external agencies such as Fulbright, etc. Most GT Sponsored students begin their academic career at a Georgia Tech satellite campus and complete their degrees at the GT Atlanta campus.

Am I a Georgia Tech Exchange Student (Bilateral Exchange)?
You are considered an Exchange Student if you are participating in an official, bilateral exchange program between your home university and Georgia Tech. You will be issued a "Student, Non-Degree" Georgia Tech DS-2019 and may only be at Tech for one or two semesters. 

You will not earn a degree from Georgia Tech, but will use your semester(s) towards your degree in your home university.

What does Other Sponsored mean?
Other Sponsored students are attending Georgia Tech but are managed and hosted by external agencies such as the Institute of International Education (IIE) including Fulbright, Fulbright Pakistan, AMIDEAST and LASPAU as well as others agencies including IREX and DAAD.

Can I get an out-of-state tuition waiver?
Exchange Waivers are handled by the Office of International Education (OIE) and can be awarded to incoming exchange students (participating in official, bilateral programs) and they can also be awarded to students in exchange-based scholarship/fellowship programs. The scholarship/fellowship programs must have exchange of students as their core mission, and mutual understanding as the core ideal. Typically, these scholarship/fellowship programs will include funding students both U.S. students going abroad and international students coming to the U.S. More detail about exchange waivers is available here.

What is the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement?
Intent of the Requirement
The intent of the requirement is to have the home country benefit from the Exchange Visitor’s experience in the United States. Exchange Visitors come to this country for a specific objective such as a program of study or a research project.

The requirement is intended to prevent a participant who is subject from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay.

Terms of the Requirement
If you are subject to the requirement, then, until you have “resided and been physically present” for a total of two years in either your country of nationality or your country of last legal permanent residence, you are not eligible for:

An H, L, or immigrant visa, or for H, L, or immigrant status in the United States. H includes temporary workers, trainees, and their dependents. L includes intracompany transferees and their dependents. An immigrant is the same as a permanent resident, or holder of a “green card.”
A change of your status, inside the United States, from J to any other nonimmigrant classification except A or G. The A classification includes your home government’s diplomats and representatives to the United States government and their dependents. The G classification includes your government’s representatives to international organizations, such as the United Nations, and their dependents.

You are subject to the Requirement if:

  • your J-1 participation is or was funded in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange, by your home government or by the United States government
  • as a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are acquiring a skill that is in short supply in your home country, according to the United States government’s Exchange Visitor Master Skills List
  • you have participated as a J-1 in a graduate medical education or training program (i.e. a residency, internship, or fellowship) sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
  • you are the J-2 dependent of an Exchange Visitor who is subject to the requirement
  • you have ever been subject to the requirement in the past, and have neither obtained a waiver nor fulfilled it by spending two years in your home country or country of last legal permanent residence. The foreign residency requirement still holds, even if a more current Form DS-2019 reflects no basis for such a requirement

Waivers of the Requirement
Visit the Department of State website for further information regarding a waiver of the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement

12 & 24 Month Bars
The 12-month bar prohibits an individual from beginning a new program in the "Research Scholar" or "Professor" categories if they were in the U.S. for more than six months in any J status (including J-2 dependent) during all or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program. If any part of an Exchange Visitor’s presence in the U.S. in J status was within the 12-month period, the entire duration of his or her presence in the U.S. while participating in an exchange visitor program is counted, and if that participation exceeded six months, the 12-month bar applies.

The 24-month bar prohibits an individual from beginning a new "Research Scholar" or "Professor" category unless a minimum of 24 months has passed since the end of the previous J program in the "Research Scholar" or "Professor" category.