J-1 Scholar Information

International Services

About J-1 Scholar Program

The J-1 scholar program allows international professors and researchers the chance to engage in the sharing of knowledge and ideas in an academic setting at WFBMC.  Currently the following categories of scholars are offered:

Research Scholar and Professor

For those with academic credentials of a bachelor’s degree or higher who are looking for a position with an emphasis on research, observation or consultation, but may also teach and lecture.

The program may last between three weeks to five years.

Short-Term Scholar

For those with academic credentials of a bachelor’s degree or higher who are looking for a position in which they can teach, lecture, observe, consult or perform research, and participate in seminars, workshops, conferences and other types of educational or professional activities.

The program may last up to six months.


For those with academic credentials and experience appropriate to the field of endeavor who are experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the US to demonstrate their special knowledge/skills, or to observe or consult with colleagues.

The program may last between three weeks and twelve months.

Candidates have the ability to reapply for the scholar program, but only after a window of ineligibility has elapsed.

Steps to Obtaining a J-1 Scholarship

Step 1: Supply Passport Information
Scholars will need to send a copy of their passport personal information page to Pamela Melton at p.melton@wakehealth.edu.

Step 2: English Language Proficiency
English language proficiency is an eligibility requirement for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program.  J-1 scholars must use one of the following three measurements of English language proficiency:

  • A recognized English language test (Choose from the test options listed below.)
    • TOEIC: Required scores: Listening – 400; Reading – 450; Speaking – 7; Writing - 7
    • TOEFL: Required score: 80 on a 0-120 point scale
    • IELTS: Required score: 6.5 on a 0-9 point scale
  • Documentation from a U.S. academic institution or English language school (signed by a faculty member or school administrator)
  • A documented interview conducted by the sponsoring department either in person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option

Scholars will need to send proof of English language proficiency to Pamela Melton.

Step 3: Receive DS-2019 Form
You be notified of acceptance from WFBMC and will receive a DS-2019.  The form clarifies what you are pursuing in the US with WFBMC and approximately how long your program will last.

You will need this document for each step in the process, so make sure to hold on to it.

Step 4: Pay SEVIS Fee
All new scholars coming in J-1 status must pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa.

Step 5: Research Additional Application Requirements
Your local US Embassy or Consulate may require additional documentation.  We recommend reaching out directly.

Step 6: Gather Important Documents
Gather all associated documents necessary for J-1 visa stamp, including:

  • Visa application
  • Visa application fee
  • Receipt of I-901 fee payment
  • Form DS-2019

Step 7: Obtain Health Insurance
All J-1 Scholars and J-2 dependents are mandated by law to have health insurance upon arrival.  Learn more about requirements and optional plans.

Step 8: Schedule Interview at US Embassy or Consulate
In order to obtain a J-1 visa stamp which will allow you in to the country, you must schedule an interview at your local US Embassy or Consulate.

Step 9: Visit the Office of International Services
Once you have obtained your J-1 visa and have arrived in the US, please come to the office of International Services with the following documents:

  • Passport
  • J-1 visa stamp (in passport, with the exception of Canadian scholars)
  • DS2019 form
  • Proof of health insurance

Checking in with the Office of International Services is extremely important as failure to do so within 30 days will result in the cancellation of your J-1 visa status.

Maintaining J-1 Status

Maintaining status as a J-1 scholar is fairly simple. The main goal is to carry out the goals that were listed on Form DS-2019, whether that’s for study, research, work, etc.

Exchange visitors maintain their J-1 status by having their SEVIS record validated, engaging only in activities permitted under their program and category, filing timely and appropriate transfer and extension notifications, refraining from unauthorized employment, and maintaining required health insurance coverage. Each program category has additional specific requirements.

Dependent Status for Spouse and Children

Dependents of J-1 scholars (spouse and unmarried children under age 21) may enter the US in J-2 status. Dependent children cannot remain in J-2 status after their 21st birthday. Dependents may travel with the J-1 Exchange Visitor or join the J-1 scholar later.

Each J-2 dependent must have his/her own Form DS-2019. This DS-2019 Form can be obtained from the Office of International Services by the J-1 status holder.

The J-2 dependent must apply for an J-2 visa stamp at a US Embassy or Consulate (except Canadian citizens). The dependent will gain J-2 status through entry to the US by presenting the dependent DS-2019 Form, passport and J-2 visa stamp (accompanied by any supporting documents) at the U.S. Port of Entry.