J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program ("EVP") was established by the U.S. Government under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act in 1961. It is administered by the U.S. Department of State. The EVP is intended to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The EVP provides foreign nationals opportunities to participate in programs in the United States with the expectation that on completion of their exchange program they will return home to share their experiences.

J-1 Exchange Visitors may come to the University of Memphis ("UofM") to study, conduct research, and teach. Immigration forms for J-1 exchange visitors in the categories of Short-Term Scholar, Professor, Research Scholar, and Specialist are issued by the Office of Legal Counsel ("OLC").

Below is general information about J-1 visa category for UofM departments who have sponsored or are interested in sponsoring a foreign national.

The UofM sponsors four non-student categories under the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Prior participation in a J-1 program may affect an individual's ability to participate in future J-1 programs.

  • Short-Term Scholar: Objectives can be to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Short-term scholars will come to the U.S. for a short visit and have no plans to continue beyond the 6-month limit. Visiting Short-term scholars may stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 6 months.
  • Professor: The primary purpose is to teach, lecture, observe, or consult. The professor may also engage in research and participate in occasional lectures if authorized by the program sponsor. Visiting Professors may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs.
  • Research Scholar: This category is for an individual whose primary purpose is to perform research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project. Visiting Research Scholars may participate in the program for a minimum of 3 weeks and up to a total of 5 years, which includes transfers between exchange visitor programs.
  • Specialist: This category is for individuals that have a specialized area of expertise and whose primary purpose is observing, consulting or demonstrating special knowledge or skills. The maximum period of stay is one year.

In order for the UofM to issue the immigration documents required to obtain the J-1 visa status, the sponsoring department must request the form on the visitor's behalf. The OLC will only accept J-1 requests directly from sponsoring departments. The individual exchange visitor cannot request the form him or herself

Any Department desiring to sponsor a J-1 exchange visitor in one of the above mentioned categories must contact the OLC at visa@memphis.edu. The OLC will provide the sponsoring department all necessary Application Packets/Forms.