Img 6459

Scholar Instructions

We are so pleased to welcome you to Notre Dame as a J-1 Exchange Visitor. The information below will provide the guidance necessary to apply for and enter the U.S. on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. 

Pre-Arrival Information


Request the DS-2019 with your department. Your department will send you a link to an eform on ISSAlink that you will complete as part of the DS-2019 request. Once the request is completed, your department will mail you a Form DS-2019, which allows you to apply for a J-1 visa. Read page 2 of your Form DS-2019 carefully and then sign the bottom of page 1

You will need digital copies (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the following documents to upload for the J-1 Applicant Information form:

  • scholar’s ID page in passport
  • all dependents’ (spouse and children under 21) ID pages in passports
  • proof of funding if ND is not paying the scholar (funding requirements and acceptable types of funding can be found here)
  • any previous DS-2019’s, especially if the scholar is transferring from another program or school

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a one-time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee for scholars beginning a new J-1 program. You must pay this fee prior to applying for your J-1 visa. To pay the fee:

  • Complete Form I-901 online and submit payment using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. Print the receipt to take to the consulate and when entering the U.S. 
  • Or, pay via Western Union in your home country. Complete instructions can be found on After paying, check your payment status; once confirmed, print your receipt.

Obtain a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: (excluding scholars from Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and British Subjects in the Bahamian, Cayman, and Turks and Caicos Islands). Visit to locate the nearest American embassy or consulate and for specific instructions about applying for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa in that country.

At most visa interviews, you will need to present:

  • Completed DS-160 non-immigrant visa application receipt;
  • Your valid passport, with at least six months validity remaining;
  • Your Form DS-2019 issued by the University of Notre Dame;
  • One passport-sized photo;
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt;
  • Visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt number (visit your embassy’s or consulate’s website for more information);
  • Appointment letter from the University of Notre Dame;
  • Proof of English language proficiency;
  • Proof of financial support for your Exchange visitor program at Notre Dame;
  • Proof of your intention to depart the United States after the completion of your Exchange Visitor program; and
  • Other documents detailed on the U.S. embassy or consulate’s website.

Scholars issued a DS-2019 from the University of Notre Dame should not enter the country on visitor visas (ESTA/B-1/B-2 visas).

Arrival Information


Arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry. At the U.S. port of entry, you will need to present the following documents to the inspections officer, so do not pack these items in your checked luggage:

  • Valid Passport with a valid F-1 or J-1 Visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens who are not required to have a visa stamp)

  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 issued by Notre Dame;

  • Notre Dame appointment letter; and

  • Evidence of financial resources.

If you have a dependent, they will need to present a passport, Form DS-2019 and J-2 visa. 

I-94 Record and Admissions Stamp. Upon arrival in the U.S., a Custom and Border Protection official will review the documents listed above. Once they have determined you are eligible for entry, they will enter your status into the I-94 system and put an admission stamp in your passport.  

You should review and print your I-94 record each time you enter the U.S. so you have evidence of your immigration status, which includes the length of time you may remain inside the U.S. F-1 and J-1 visa holders will see the notation "D/S" on their I-94 record and their admission stamp. D/S means "duration of status," which refers to the program end date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. When your status is marked D/S, you may remain in the U.S. as long as your Form I-20 or DS-2019 is accurate and unexpired.


Attend a J-1 Scholar Welcome Session and validate the J-1 program. 

Once you enter the U.S., it is extremely important that you attend a Scholar Welcome session with ISSA so we can validate your program in SEVIS. Welcome sessions are Thursdays at 10am virtually. Contact Cynthia Reeves at to inform her of your arrival and to receive the Welcome Session Zoom link. You will need to have your passport, DS-2019, and proof of health insurance available during the virtual session.

If you do not check in within 30 days of your start date, your DS-2019 record may be canceled and you may lose your authorization to work in the U.S.


Print Your I-94 Record. Check and print your I-94 record. Keep this record with your immigration documents. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises that it may take up to three days from the date of an individual’s entry into the United States for I-94 information to become available online. After three days, if you have trouble accessing your I-94 record, contact ISSA.

Responsibilities of Scholars

For information about resources for your J-2 dependent spouse, please see Resources for International Spouses

U.S. Address

Report all address changes within ten days of moving. You will provide your local address when you visit ISSA upon arrival, but you must report any changes to your address through InsideND. Your address must describe where you live; it cannot be a P.O. Box, an office or a work address.

  1. Using your NetID and password, log in to InsideND
  2. On the "My Resources" tab, scroll down to "Personal Information" and then to "Your Contact Information."
  3. Click on "Update Address and Phone." Update your U.S. address and phone number.
Health Insurance

J-1 regulations require that you and your dependents carry health insurance while you are in the United States.

If you are a benefit-eligible employee (full time and paid by Notre Dame) you will be eligible for Notre Dame health insurance. Contact the Office of Human Resources at for details.

  • If your hire date is the 1st of a month, you will have insurance coverage from your first date of employment. (Please note that if you do not arrive in the US in time to begin employment on the 1st of the month, your hire date may change.)
  • If your hire date is after the 1st of a month, you will not receive university-sponsored insurance coverage until the 1st of the following month. In the meantime you have two options: You may purchase the university policy at the full price, or you may purchase a short term policy from another company. (If you are interested in the second option, you may consider the companies listed below.)

If you are not a benefit-eligible employee or if you choose not to purchase Notre Dame health insurance, you and any J-2 dependents must obtain insurance that complies with J-1 regulations (see Insurance Certification). When you check in with ISSA, an advisor will review your insurance and you will sign a J-1 Exchange Visitor Insurance Certification form.   

While we do not specifically endorse the company below, it does offer a policy that meets the J-1 regulations and has been used by other J-1 scholars at Notre Dame:

Each of these plans complies with J-1 regulations. The higher priced plans are likely to provide more robust coverage. You should compare prices, benefits, and the duration of the plans to determine which is the best fit for you. If you find an insurance policy you like from a different company, you must confirm that the coverage will meet the J-1 regulatory requirements.

Please be aware that you and your dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Social Security Number (SSN)

For instructions on obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN), visit Social Security Numbers.  

Driver's License

For information about driving in the United States and instructions for obtaining a U.S. driver's license, visit Driving in the U.S.

Valid Documents

Your passport and the passports of any family members must be valid at all times. An expired passport means you are out of status. Make sure that your DS-2019 is up to date and accurately reflects your program information and personal information. If your program will continue beyond your current DS-2019 end date, please work with your department to obtain an extension prior to the expiration of your document.


If you will leave the U.S. during your program and plan to reenter before the end of your program, make sure that you (and any J-2 dependents) have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019, a valid passport, and a valid visa. You may obtain a new travel signature by visiting ISSA in 105 Main Building. If you will be traveling somewhere other than your home country, make sure you consult the country of destinations' website to be sure you understand the visa and entry requirements.

Visa Renewal

If your visa is expired and you plan to exit the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa. For instructions on securing a new visa, see Pre-Arrival, Step 3 above.  

Work Permission

In general, J-1 scholars are prohibited from accepting employment outside of the Notre Dame department that hosts them. However, the regulations include an exception for “occasional lectures and short-term consultations”. In order to qualify for this exception, the following conditions must be met:

  • A short-term position is generally defined as something that is 30 days or less and occasionally is something that is irregular or infrequent intervals.
  • The scholar must receive written permission from ISSA before starting any employment.
  • The work must be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor’s (J-1) program.
  • The work must be incidental to the scholar’s primary program activities and must not delay the completion of the program.
  • The scholar must work as an independent contractor.
  • ISSA must report the new work location in SEVIS.

To request written permission for an occasional lecture or short-term consultation, the Occasional Lecture or Consultation Authorization Request forms must be completed on ISSAlink. Go to ISSAlink, sign in with your NetID and password, and complete the form found on the left under J Scholar Services. You will need a digital copy  (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the offer letter from the intended employer. The letter should be on official letterhead and include:

  • A description of the terms and conditions of the proposed lecture or consultation,
  • The duration of the proposed activity,
  • The total number of hours,
  • The field or subject, 
  • Amount of compensation,
  • A description of the activity, and
  • The physical address of the activity. 

If you have any questions, contact ISSA at

Please be sure your full legal name (as indicated on your passport) is used on all documents.


All international visitors must file a tax form each spring for the previous tax year, even if they did not earn income. The Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s Tax Assistance Program provides free tax assistance for international visitors. For information on filing tax documents, review their website or email

Inviting Visitors

Friends and relatives who do not qualify as dependents can apply for a tourist visa if they wish to visit you in the U.S. No documentation from ISSA is necessary.  

Two Year Home Residency Requirement 212(e)

It is important that you check your visa stamp to determine if you are subject to a rule called 212(e), or the Two Year Home Residency Requirement. Certain J-1 visitors and their dependents will be required to leave the US for a minimum of two years before being allowed to change to most other visa types. If you find that you are subject, please review complete details about the rule on the State Department Website.

Waiver process

If a J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the Two Year Home Residency Rule and wishes to apply for a waiver of this requirement, they are welcome to submit this information directly to the Department of State.


Scholars must notify ISSA of their departure (and the permanent departure of any dependents) or transfer to another institution via the J-1 Scholar or Dependent Departure Form on ISSAlink

Please note: If you are in either the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category, having an accurate program end date on your Form DS-2019 is important. Please make sure to fill out the departure form. The 24 month bar (see below) will begin on your departure date, which is important to note if you intend to come back to the United States as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor.

Continuing your research outside of the US

If your research program will require you to spend some time outside of the US before returning to Notre Dame, it may be possible to keep your J-1 record active during your absence. Please contact ISSA to discuss your situation.

24 Month Bar

If you come to the US in the J-1 Research Scholar category or the Professor category, once your program has concluded (i.e. you are not seeking an extension, or you have reached the 5 year maximum) you will be barred from returning to the US in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories for 24 months. Please note that this will also affect your dependents.

Other J categories or visa types may be open to you. Please consult ISSA for more information.