Hosting A J-1 Exchange Visitor

Instructions For FIU Administrators

Florida International University is the sponsor of the Exchange Visitor Program P-1-04568 which is administered by the Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). In this section, the term “sponsor” refers to the Florida International University, the “Responsible Officer” and “Alternate Responsible Officers” are administrators/advisors in the Department of International Student and Scholar Services. Dr. Alejandra Parra, Senior Director, is the primary contact for the Exchange Visitor Program and the Responsible Officer (RO);  Ms. Barbara Bormey is the Program Assistant for the program and  an Alternate Responsible Officers (ARO). Other Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) are Ted Randall, Nancy Hernandez, Evelyn Rodriguez and Claudia Biscardi.

Due to the intricacies of J-1 immigration processing, the ISSS recommends that departments submit completed forms to ISSS at least 90 days prior to the proposed start date of the academic activity to enable sufficient time for processing.

Florida International University refers to a scholar as an exchange visitor for U.S. Department of State purposes and as a “visiting scholar” for university purposes. If the scholar’s spouse or children accompany him or her, they are considered dependents and must enter the United States on J-2 visas. The University is authorized to sponsor exchange visitors in five categories: professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist and student.

Annually, Florida International University hosts approximately 200 visiting scholars in the J-1 category. J-1 Exchange Visitors visit the university for as little as one week to a maximum of 5 years in paid or unpaid appointments (depending on their J-1 Exchange Visitor categories).

Department faculty and administrators who wish to invite and/or employ an international scholar in J-1 classification should click on the links under ‘Bringing an Exchange Visitor to FIU’ below to learn about how to request J-1 visa related documentation.  

Bringing an Exchange Visitor to FIU

How does the process work?

  1. An FIU Faculty/Administration member decides to host/invite an Exchange Visitor under one of the J-1 Categories sponsored by FIU. This is done either by inviting the individual, partnering with an international organization; or  through other international links that  may result in an international scholar visit.
  2. FIU Faculty/Administration member works with the appointed liaison  (generally an HR Liaison) within their departments/colleges and together, they prepare the documentation to submit to ISSS (see list below). Due to the intricacies of J-1 immigration processing, the ISSS recommends that departments submit completed forms to ISSS at least 90 days prior to the proposed start date of the academic activity to enable sufficient time for processing.
  3. During this process, the prospective Exchange Visitor communicates directly with the Faculty/Administration member and the College/Department liaison who are preparing the packet to be sent to ISSS.
  4. Once ISSS receives all the required documents (in hard copies)  and evaluates all of the forms and supporting documentation,  they  proceed to issue the form DS-2019  to assist the prospective scholar in obtaining the J-1 visa.
  5. The ISSS Officer contacts the FIU College liaison when the DS-2019 is ready to be picked up.
  6. The FIU Department/College sends the documents to the Exchange Visitor.
If the individual will be a Non-Degree Exchange Visitor Student Researcher

(If the Exchange visitor is an individual who is a student in his home country and is sponsored to come to Florida International University to undertake research related to a degree she/he will be granted by his/her home institution)

The student will not be admitted as a degree seeking student by Florida international University admission office, will not be enrolled in any classes. With the unit’s Dean’s permission, a school/faculty member can invite a student to pursue his or her objective and use Florida International University facilities under the supervision of a faculty member.

Under J-1 Exchange Visitor regulations, a student coming for the purpose of engaging full time to comply with a  “prescribed course of study” in their home country:

  • Must follow a program that is carried out pursuant to a written agreement between the American and foreign educational institutions
  • May stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 24 months
  • Must have health insurance which meets minimum federal requirements for the duration of stay

To proceed, these are the documents needed to process this individual’s DS-2019:

  1. A letter from the student’s academic advisor in the home country that describes the student’s academic program, confirms what Florida International University professor will supervise his/her work, and states a beginning and projected end date of the activity at Florida International University.
  2. A letter from the sponsoring Florida International University professor regarding the nature of his/her involvement with the student’s project with the beginning and projected end date of  the activity at Florida International University.
  3. A memo from the school’s dean corroborating the arrangement.
  4. A completed Non-Degree Exchange Visitor Student Researcher DS-2019 REQUEST FORM 
  5. Financial documentation which verifies in U.S. dollars how she/he will be supported while here at Florida International University.
  6. J-1 Scholars Insurance Enrollment Form 2018-2019 (Please note that it will be better if the exchange visitor can make arrangements to come on the 17th of any month and leave on the 16th of any month. The reason for this is to follow the medical insurance beginning and ending dates).
  7. English Language Proficiency Form
  8. Export Questionnaire. This must be completed/signed and sent to compliance@fiu.edu. Once this questionnaire has been approved,  visa documents may be processed.  

Other Visa CategoriesTravel Visa

Florida International University employs H-1B “Temporary Workers in a Specialty Occupation” in a variety of paid positions. FIU also employs foreign temporary workers in other immigration classifications such as Trade NAFTA (TN), Persons of Extraordinary Ability (O-1) Department faculty and administrators who wish to hire an international employee in H-1B, TN or O-1 classification should contact their respective dean’s office.

For more information on this, access the FIU Immigration Process Webpage.