Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars at YSU

YSU International Visiting Scholar Policies

Categories of J-1 Visiting Scholars at YSU

  • Short-Term Scholar: An individual sponsored by one’s home institution, a YSU department, or other educational organizations, to join the University as a Short-term Scholar enters the U.S. for a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or instructing in special skills. This category has a maximum stay of six months. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.
  • Research Scholar: An individual sponsored by one’s home institution, a YSU department, or other educational organizations, to join the University for the purpose of conducting research, observing, or consulting on a research project. A Research Scholar may also teach or lecture at the discretion of the sponsor. This category has a maximum stay of five years. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.
  • Professor: An individual sponsored by a YSU department to join the University for the purpose of teaching or lecturing. A Professor may conduct research at the discretion of the sponsor. This category has a maximum stay of five years. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.
  • Specialist: A specialist is a expert in a field of specialized knowledge/skill that is sponsored by one’s home institution, a YSU department, or other educational organizations, for the purpose of observing, consulting, or demonstrating the special knowledge or skill. This category has a maximum stay of one year. As with all Exchange Visitor categories, this is a non-tenured track position.


  • J-1 visitng scholars have to be sponsored by institutional funding, personal funding can be added as supplement but not as primary funding.
  • The nomination of YSU sponsored visiting scholars is determined by individual agreements with partner universities. The specific package that YSU will provide for such scholars depends on the agreement with individual partner universities too. In general, YSU will provide a package that includes one to three (no more than three) of the following benefits: Free airport pickup/sendoff, campus housing, stipend if scholars have teaching or other work responsibilities.
  • YSU accepts applications from individual scholars, from either YSU partner institutions or non-partner institutions. In such cases, YSU is responsible for issuance of immigration documents. Individual Scholars are responsible for any necessary immigration or visa-related fees, transportation, housing, meals and any other expense generated by the Scholars’ application and visit.

Housing, Arrival, and Departure Information

  • Visiting Scholars can apply at anytime. However, the acutal study period depends on the availability of housing availability as well as the designated host department.
  • Scholars are expected to arrive the week prior to the first day of classes (during shuttle services) or by escorting a student group from your university if applicable. IPO will provide free airport transportation from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to YSU at a designated time specified by YSU. If a scholar cannot arrive at the specified dates, we can assist with arranging a taxi to pick them up at the airport. However, it will be the scholar’s responsibility to pay for these charges. Charges are approximately $120.
  • Scholars with children will be required to live off campus and will be responsible for finding their own accommodations.
  • It is the scholar’s responsibility to register their children to attend the local schools.
  • If a visiting scholar is interested in living in a campus guest apartment, IPO will help apply if there is a available room. It will be the scholar’s responsibility to pay the rent.
  • YSU will provide one email address and all official communication will be via this email. Scholars are responsible for checking their email on a daily basis in order to be up to date on any changes or requests.

How to Request a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibilty for a Visiting Scholar

The following documents must be submitted in order for IPO to issue an immigration document (DS-2019) for a visiting scholar:

  1. Department Request for J-1 Exchange Visitor

    Complete every item of the “Department Request Form for J-1 Exchange Visitor*”. An original signature of the department’s designated representative is required on page 2 of the request.

  2. J-1 Exchange Visitor Data Form

    The J-1 Exchange Visitor Data Form* may be emailed to the exchange visitor to be completed. Every field must be filled as it is required for the completion of the DS-2019. Visitors currently in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status or those who have been in the U.S. previously in J-1 visa status must include a copy of all previous immigration documents. The Exchange Visitor must also provide a copy of their passport ID page. If the visitor will have dependents, copies of dependent’s passport ID page(s) are required.

  3. Copy of appointment/offer letter

    A separate offer/appointment letter should be sent to the scholar; if a paid position, outlining the conditions of employment including compensation, termination, and/or benefits or, if unpaid, including details of the invitation (work space, computer and network access, faculty collaboration, intellectual property, etc.) and clarification of the funding source and amount. Include a copy of the offer letter with the request packet.

  4. Copy all relevant funding documents, such the scholarship or other award letter, YSU employment appointment form or bank statement (if visiting scholar is partially self-funded)


    The host department will gather proof of the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s financial capability and review the submitted documents to verify it is sufficient to cover the entire term of the visit and note the various source(s) on the request form. The University must verify the availability of sufficient funds before issuing an immigration document.

  5. Copy of the picture page of the passport for the visitor (and dependents, if applicable)

  6. Documentation of the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s English Proficiency

    English proficiency is required of all J-1 scholars. Scholars must submit evidence of English Language Proficiency. The State Department, as of January 5, 2015, is requiring all J program sponsors to objectively measure the English language proficiency of prospective J visitors to determine that they have sufficient proficiency to function both on campus and in their daily lives in the community. IPO is required to retain evidence of how proficiency was measured and present it to the State Department upon request. Submit the J-1 Scholar English Proficiency Requirement form*, with test scores or completed interview form, with ALL requests.


Timing: The request for a DS-2019 shoudl be received at IPO at least 60 days prior to the anticipated arrival/start date of the new J-1 Exchange Visitor allowing for document production, mailing of the documents, visa processing and travel and arrival to campus. In some cases, scholars may experience significant delays in visa processing due to increased U.S. government security requirements.

J-1 Transfer: Applications for transfer of J-1 sponsorship to Youngstown State University must be accompanied by copies of all of the scholar’s immigration documents and a copy of the offer letter from the original program. Transfer J-1 Exchange Visitors must maintain the original program objective as listed on the original DS-2019. Requests to transfer J-1 Exchange Visitors who are already in the U.S. must be submitted 4 to 6 weeks prior to the start date. The DS-2019 for YSU can only be processed on the actual release date set by the original school (or the following Monday if the release date is on the weekend).

Shipment of the DS-2019: The department will have the option to collect the DS-2019 from IPO for shipping or IPO can handle shipping using eShipGlobal. eShipGlobal is a mailing service wherein IPO will email the visitor when the DS-2019 has been created instructing him/her to create a shipping label for their document. The email will also include the SEVIS ID number. The YSU host department will be copied on this email. This service is at the expense of the visitor.

Conditions and Limitations of the J-1 Immigration Status

Limitations: J-1 Exchange Visitor status cannot be used for tenure-track, administrative, or support staff positions.

Maximum period of stay: Research Scholars and Professors are permitted to stay for a minimum of 3 weeks up to a maximum of 5 years; Short-term Scholars may stay for a period of 6 months or fewer with no extensions allowed and Specialists have a 1-year maximum. Departments should consider the scholar’s and the department’s future plans carefully when deciding which J-1 category to request.

12-month bar: A person who is outside the U.S. may not return in the J Professor or Research Scholar category if s/he was in J status (Research Scholar, Professor, Student, Trainee, etc.) for 6 of the previous 12 months. To calculate, you (1) count backwards 12 months from the (future) date of requested J status, (2) ask yourself, in that 12 month period, was the scholar in J researcher or professor status for 6 or more months of that 12 month period? If yes, the scholar may not return until more time has passed. If no, the DS-2019 document can be issued unless the 24-month bar applies. (See 24 month bar information below.)

24-month bar: The 24-month bar applies to all J-1 Exchange Visitors who are invited in the Research Scholar or Professor categories. The 24-month bar means that the Exchange Visitor will not be able to start a new Research Scholar or Professor stay until 24 months have passed from the completion date of the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor program.

Two-year Home Residency Requirement
The J Exchange Visitor Program was created to foster learning across cultures. In some cases, rules ensure that J-1 visitors will return to their home countries after completion of the U.S. program so that the home country will also benefit. Participants in a J program (students, scholars, professors, and researchers) and their dependent family members may be subject to the two-year home residency requirement for any of three reasons:

  • Direct funding from the home government or US government
  • Graduate medical education or training
  • The country-specific Skills List

There are two ways to fulfill the two-year home residency rule:

To determine if a scholar is subject to the rule, check the U.S. visa and notation on the DS-2019 from the U.S. consular officer. If there is any concern about the correctness of the determination as marked, a scholar may consult with the International Programs Office. In very complicated situations, a scholar may request confirmation from the U.S. Department of State.
The two-year home residency rule does not prevent the scholar from returning to the U.S. as a visitor, researcher, student, or in another non-immigrant status during the two-year period directly following the period of J-1 status in the U.S. However, until the two-year home residency requirement is fulfilled, a person may not move into a more permanent work status such as H-1B or permanent residency (i.e., Green card).  Also, individuals subject to the two-year home residency requirement may not file an I-539 to apply for a change of status from within the U.S.  Travel is required to accomplish a change of status.
J-1 visitors who are interested in obtaining a Waiver of the two-year rule must follow a formal process. There are several bases on which to apply for the waiver including: a statement of no objection, an interested U.S. government agency, fear of persecution, and others. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information on waivers.

Arrival at Youngstown State University

The J-1 Exchange Visitor may enter the U.S. up to 30 calendar days prior to the start date listed on the DS-2019. The Exchange Visitor must contact IPO upon arrival to campus to schedule a Scholar Orientation and complete immigration check-in. Failure to complete check-in will result in the Exchange Visitor’s loss of legal status in the U.S.

Late and/or delayed arrivals

If the scholar will not or cannot arrive by the start date requested by the host department, IPO must be informed by the host department in order to avoid serious legal consequences for the scholar. A deferral of the start date on the DS-2019 may be necessary.

Health Insurance Requirements

  • All exchange visitors (as well as their accompanying dependents) must have health insurance in effect that covers them for sickness or accidents during the time of their exchange visitor program. All Exchange Visitors will be required to produce proof of valid insurance upon arrival to Youngstown State University.
  • Program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits
    • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
    • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.


Departing Youngstown State University

Grace period: Upon completion of the exchange program, the J-1 Exchange Visitor has a grace period of 30 days in which to depart the United States.


Partner school visiting scholars shall contact International Program Office through the designated office in your home institution before applying to YSU.

For immigration questions, please contact Carly Devenburgh at