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Office of International Studies and Programs


J-1 Scholar Overview

J-1 Exchange Scholars: Professors, Research Scholars, Trainees & Exchange Students

DS-2019 Form Information and Instructions

The DS-2019 form is your Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status as a visiting faculty member (professors, research scholars and trainees) at Central Washington University (CWU).  The following information explains the procedures for obtaining an initial J-1 visa and maintaining your status in the USA.


The DS-2019 form allows you and any dependents only 30 days from the start date given in item #3 of the DS-2019 to arrive in the US and report directly to the Office of International Studies and Programs at Central Washington University.  If you cannot arrive and report to our office, please let us know immediately so that we can issue a new form for you.  The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) computer system will consider you as a “no show” if you arrive late or do not report to your office in time.


Visa Stamp:  To enter the United States as a J-1 scholar under CWU’s sponsorship, you must have a valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport endorsed with CWU’s name or J-1 program number.  If you have an unexpired visa stamp with another J-1 sponsor named on it, please check with the United States Embassy for advice on the need to change sponsors.

To apply for a J-1 visa, take your DS-2019 form, passport, and the DS-2019 forms and passports of your dependents if they will be accompanying you to the United States Consulate of Embassy.  The visa officer may ask you to document funding that does not come directly from CWU (with such documents as a letter of award or support, a back statement, proof of income, etc.).  Your dependents will need J-2 visas and you should be prepared to show proof of marriage to you spouse and parenthood of each child.  Each dependent will have his or her own DS-2019 that is signed by the J-1 scholar.  Dependents do not sign these forms.  Any child who is 21 years of age or older cannot enter the United States on a J-2 visa.  Children who are U.S. citizens should not enter the U.S. on J-2 visas; they should use their U.S. passports.

Two special notes:

  • Canadians do not need passports (although recommended) and do not need a visa to enter the United States but they do need to show the DS-2019 form at the port of entry to obtain status as a J-1 exchange visitor.
  • Citizens of certain countries other than Canada may enter the United States in “WT” or “WB” status without visas, but only as tourists for a maximum stay of three months, not as exchange visitors or students.  To change, in most cases, they have to leave the United States Consulate before flying back to the US.  You should not enter the US with a “WT” or “WB” status if you are coming as a faculty member or researcher at CWU.

I-94 Departure Record card and the original DS-2019 Form: When you arrive in the United States, an Immigration Officer will give you the I-94 Departure Record card and the original DS-2019 form.  The I-94 should receive the notation, “J-1, D/S.”  D/S stands for duration of status.  These two important documents should be kept in your passport.  They are your only proof of your J-1 status.  You need them for such purposes as extending your permission to stay in the United States, obtaining permission to work and re-entering the United States after temporary trips abroad during your exchange visitor program.  Your dependents should have their own DS-2019 form and I-94 card with the notation, “J-2,D/S.”

PLEASE NOTE:  If you intend to attend classes in a full-time academic program while at CWU, the J-1 professor, researcher or trainee category will not allow you to do so.

If you are already in the United States as a J-1 Exchange Visitor in a category other than that of “Professor” or “Research Scholar” (see item #4 on your current DS-2019 form), or if you have a different type of visa status than the J-1, please call the Office of International Studies and Programs at Central Washington University (509) 963-3621 and ask to speak to someone regarding an exchange scholar or to the study abroad (J-1) advisor for students.

THE THREE-YEAR TIME LIMIT:  The total time of stay in the United States for exchange visitors in the “Professor” or “Research Scholar” category is limited to three years.  Extensions of stay beyond that time are occasionally granted, but only under special circumstances.  If you are now in the United States and in your third year in this category, or if in the last two years you concluded a three-year period as a J-1 scholar, please contact the Office of International Studies and Programs.  Categories other than “Professor” and “Research Scholar” have different time limits.  Check with the Office of International Studies and Programs for the time limit of your category.   

THE TWO-YEAR HOME COUNTRY PHYSICAL PRESENCE REQUIREMENT:  The purpose of this requirement is for the home country to benefit from the exchange visitor’s experience in the United States.  The requirement is intended to prevent the participant, who is subject to this requirement, from staying longer than necessary to complete his or her objective (teaching or research work), and to ensure the participant will spend at least two years in their home country before returning to the United States for a long term stay.  For specific details of this requirement, please see the back of the DS-2019 form.  If you have questions about this requirement, please speak with the Consular Officer when you apply for your visa or call the Office of International Studies and Programs.

THE 12-MONTH BAR:  If you have been on a J-1 visa for 6 months or longer during the previous 12 months, you are not eligible to enter the United States as a J-1 professor or research scholar for 12 months from the time your previous program ended.

MEDICAL INSURANCE IN THE UNITED STATES:  In the United States, each individual is responsible for paying the costs of his or her own medical care.  In many countries, the government pays health care costs for citizens, and sometimes for visitors, but in the United States individuals and families must pay these costs themselves.

The cost of medical care is the fastest rising expense in the US today.  Severe illnesses and serious accidents can lead to medical bills of thousands of dollars.  Since most US citizens cannot afford the cost of medical care, they rely on health insurance.  For visitors in the United States, purchasing medical insurance for the duration of the visit is the only way to protect against unexpected medical emergencies.

REQUIRED HEALTH INSURANCE SPECIFICATIONS:  Since September 1994, Department of State regulations have required that each visitor and his or her dependents maintain medical insurance coverage for the full duration of their J exchange visitor program.  The Department of State-which administers the J Exchange Visitor Program-has established the following requirements for the type and amount of coverage you must carry:

1.    The policy must provide at least $50,000 in coverage for each accident or illness.

2.    If you should die in the United States, the policy must provide at least $7,500 in “repatriation” benefits to send your remains to your home country for burial.

3.    If you must be sent home on the advice of a doctor because of a serious illness or injury, the policy must pay up to $10,000 for the “medical evacuation” expenses of your travel.

4.    The policy may require you to pay a part of the cost of your own medical treatment, but the deductible may not be greater than $500 per accident or illness and the co-payment may not be greater than 25%.

5.    The policy may include a waiting period for pre-existing conditions as long as the waiting period is reasonable by current industry standards. 

6.    The policy may not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent in the activities of your exchanged visitor program.

7.    The policy must meet minimum rating requirements, as set by the Department of State, or it must be backed by the full faith and credit of your home country government. 

FAILURE TO MAINTAIN MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE:  Insurance coverage is essential to the United States.  If you or your dependents fail to maintain your medical insurance coverage, you could face catastrophic expenses in the case of a medical emergency.  In some cases, you may be refused medical treatment if you are unable to show that you have the money to pay the expected costs.  Your J status could be terminated and you could be forced to abandon your exchange program and return home.  The regulations provide that if you knowingly and willfully fail to carry health insurance for yourself and your dependents, your sponsor must terminate your program.  Don’t risk it.

CONTACT INFORMATION:  We look forward to your arrival at Central Washington University.  The Office of International Studies and Programs staff, in cooperation with your sponsoring department, is available to assist you in obtaining the appropriate visa to facilitate your entry into the United States.  Our address is Central Washington University, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg WA 98926-7408, USA and our telephone number is 509-963-3621 or email


To return to the United States in J-1 or J-2 status, you will need to have your DS-2019 form endorsed by your J-1 Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer confirming both your affiliation with this school and the continuing availability of your financial support.  You also need a passport valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date and a valid visa unless you have been to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days.

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