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J-1 Exchange Visiting Scholar

The J Exchange Visitor program was established to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. This program was created "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges." Exchange visitors enter the U.S. holding J-1 visas in designated categories. J-1 exchange visitors are expected to return to their home countries upon completion of their program at Central Michigan University. The Office of International Affairs and Graduate Recruitment prepares the Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for the exchange visitor. This form is used to both apply for a J-1 Visa from the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate and to enter the U.S. to begin a program.

Exchange visitor categories, lengths of stay and minimum requirements

  • J-1 Scholars: The overarching term for researchers, short term researchers, and professor categories. Please note that J-1 scholars are not eligible for tenure-track positions.
  • Professor: A professor primarily teaches, lectures or observes while at CMU. They may also conduct research
  • Research Scholar: A research scholar primarily conducts research, observes, or consults in connection with a research project at CMU. They may also teach or lecture.
  • Short-Term Scholar: A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills.
Exchange Visitor CategoryMinimum Program DurationMaximum Program DurationNotes
Professor/Research Scholar3 weeks5 years
  • Not eligible for tenure track positions
  • May not have been in the United States in J-1 or J-2 status for 12 months prior to the start date of their new program
  • Are not eligible to return to the United States in either of these categories for a period of 24 months following the completion of their program
  • The visitor is expected to have appropriate academic credentials (minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field)
Short Term Scholar1 day6 months
  • Visitor may stay in the United States the time needed to complete the objective, up to a maximum of 6 months
  • No extension past 6 months is allowed
  • The visitor is not subject to the 12 month/24 month participation bar

Health insurance requirement

Federal regulations require that all Exchange Visitors maintain health insurance coverage for the entirety of their program. The university is not required to pay for the insurance coverage but must ensure that the visitor and all accompanying dependents have valid coverage while in the United States. The health insurance coverage must meet the minimum standards below:

  • Medical Benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • A deductible that does not exceed $500 per accident or illness

Please be sure to check with the Exchange Visitor before their arrival to ensure they have purchased the proper health coverage. Proof of coverage will be due to International Student and Scholar Services upon arrival to the U.S.

CMU has a health insurance plan through GeoBlue that meets the above requirements. J-1 scholars have the option to purchase GeoBlue coverage independently. For more information, visit the membership portal here.

Please note: Insurance provided to CMU Faculty and Staff does not meet the minimum requirements for the Exchange Visitor program. These requirements are set by the Department of State, not CMU. If you chose to use this coverage, you will be required to also purchase supplemental coverage for Medical Evacuation and Repatriation.

Arrival and housing arrangements

The academic department or college inviting an exchange visitor is responsible for making arrangements for the scholar's arrival to campus and any necessary housing reservations. If the scholar will require on-campus housing, please contact the University Apartments Office in the Office of Residence Life at 989-774-3284 or

Financial support

J-1 scholars are required to show adequate proof of financial support throughout their program. A minimum of $20,000 per year for the J-1 scholar and $5,000 per year for each J-dependent (spouse or child) and each dependent must be documented.‚Äč If the exchange visitor is at CMU less than 1 year, the financial support requirements are prorated by month.

For more information about Central Michigan University's J-1 Program or to invite a scholar to campus, please contact the Office of International Affairs and Graduate Recruitment or by phone at 989-774-4308