Invite an International Visitor

UNC Charlotte welcomes international faculty and scholars to teach, conduct research, and collaborate with colleagues on its campus. During an academic year, UNC Charlotte hosts approximately 125 faculty and scholars from more than 25 different countries.

Table of Contents

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State.  Its purpose is for temporary educational and cultural exchanges and collaboration rather than long term employment. Exchange visitors are expected to return to their home countries at the end of their participation in the program to share their experience.  Participants in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program include visitors coming to teach, do research, observe, consult, or demonstrate specialized knowledge or skill.

Benefits to the University include several aspects of educational enrichment and contribute to the internationalization of the University as:

  • Participants collaborate on special research projects, teach a semester at a college or university, or lecture, consult or observe in a variety of settings in education and research in the United States.
  • Participants experience an interchange of knowledge and skills among foreign and American specialists who are defined as experts in a field of specialized knowledge.
  • Scholars facilitate the exchange of ideas and research in a variety of fields between people of the United States and people of other countries.

J-1 Eligibility

J-1 exchange visitors at UNC Charlotte can range from a post-doc researcher, a professor or researcher on sabbatical at UNC Charlotte, a scientific collaborator, a guest lecturer, or a professor or researcher at UNC Charlotte for up to 5 years. J-1 exchange visitors may be paid by UNC Charlotte when such activities are part of his/her program. Tenure-track appointments are not eligible for J-1 status.

The US Department of State has approved UNC Charlotte to provide J-1 programs in the following categories: Researcher, Professor, Short Term Scholar, and Specialist. Each category has requirements that a scholar must meet in order to be classified within the category. Please contact Maddy Baer with information about the scholar and their proposed position at UNC Charlotte to determine which category best fits the exchange visitor.

Length of J-1 Authorization

The maximum period of time authorized for an exchange visitor depends upon the program classification as follows:

  • Research Scholar: 5 years
  • Professor: 5 years
  • Short Term Scholar: 6 months
  • Specialist: 1 year
  • The minimum period for J-1 is 3 weeks

Employment Restrictions

The terms of employment for the J-1 visa are very specific. The Department of State (DOS) approves the J-1 program for the specific department, salary, duties, and dates listed on the initial J-1 program. The exchange visitor is not authorized to participate in a program or change employment without authorization from ISSO; this restriction includes working for a different department within UNC Charlotte, changing position duties, or changing pay rates. If there is a change in the research or employment of the exchange visitor, the department must notify ISSO immediately.


Please allow 8 weeks between ISSO's receipt of the completed application and your exchange visitor's program start date. While ISSO takes only 5 business days to issue the DS-2019s, exchange visitors need time to schedule their visa interviews and for the U.S. Consulate abroad to issue the visa stamp.

Department Responsibilities

  • The sponsoring department is responsible for providing documentation for DS-2019 issuance to ISSO :
  • Mailing DS-2019 to scholar;
  • Providing cultural and professional exchange opportunities for the exchange visitor;
  • Arranging for campus privileges (such as use of the library, computing, parking, etc.) These benefits can be extended to exchange visitors who will not be paid by UNC Charlotte by offering the them a courtesy or affiliate faculty appointment;
  • Notifying ISSO of changes to program start/end dates.

Health Insurance

Per federal regulations, ALL J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents MUST have medical insurance for the period of their appointment, starting on the day of arrival. The insurance coverage must meet the minimums set by the Department of State as follows:

  • $100,000 per accident or illness,
  • Medical evacuation of $50,000 and
  • Repatriation of remains of $25,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

The insurance policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-1” or above a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above, “A-“or above by Fitch Ratings, Inc., “A3” or above by Moody’s Investor Services, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the sponsor (UNCC) may ascertain that the EV’s policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the EV’s home country.


Additional resources for Health Insurance are attached and can be found on our website and the names of several companies are listed at the end of this letter.  For UNC Charlotte appointments eligible for University sponsored health insurance (post-docs and full-time appointments only), your coverage will not begin until the month following your arrival or program start date, whichever is later.  Therefore, you are still required to purchase coverage for the initial period of your program.


Below are several links to U.S. health insurance companies which offer plans which meet the new J-1 requirements.

Click here for additional health insurance information.


J-1 Application Procedures

Complete applications only if you have contacted Maddy Baer or Tarek Elshayeb and the J-1 visa category has been approved for your prospective international visitor.

The responsibilities of the Academic Department, the International Student/Scholar Office, and the Exchange Visitor are detailed below:

The Academic Department (inviting a faculty/scholar exchange visitor):
  1. Identifies a current faculty to be the visitor’s liaison and extends an invitation as either a paid visitor or as an adjunct visitor, if no University payments are going to be made; Invitations cannot be extended to individuals for tenure-track appointments.
  2.  Provides written verification of financial resources via:
    • UNC Charlotte appointment letter
    • Guarantee from another source (government, institution, personal)

Effective 11/1/13-Minimum monthly support is:

$1500 - for scholar
$500 - for spouse
$300 - for each child

  1. Completes the J-1 Application Form and returns it to the Student/Scholar Services Office;
  2. Makes arrangements for office/research space for the visitor and housing;
    Note: University apartments are available for visitors who come without family. To request a housing reservation, complete the Guest Housing Reservation Form.
  3. Upon visitor’s arrival, assists with mandatory check-in at ISSO and orientation to the University;
  4. Initiates all requests for appointment extensions.  These must be approved by the ISSO and will be evidenced by and updated DS-2019.  
The International Student and Scholar Office
  1. Reviews the J-1 Application and documentation;
  2. Issues the DS-2019 document through the SEVIS system along with a letter of welcome to the visitor.
  3. Notifies the host faculty when DS-2019 and letter are ready to be picked-up for mailing to the visitor.  Please allow 5 days for ISSO processing;
  4. Guides academic departments to appropriate resources regarding schools and housing, if requested; Upon visitor’s arrival at University, verifies immigration documentation and activates SEVIS record;
  5. Offers mandatory orientation about U.S. culture and community ;
  6. Verifies that the visitor has required health insurance – either through the University or from another source;
  7. Assists visitor with navigating access to other government services such as obtaining Social Security numbers and drivers licenses;
  8. Communicates regularly with the visitors about campus and community events and all regulatory matters;
  9. Continues to serve as liaison to the department on other matters related to the visitor’s appointment.
The Exchange Visitor
  1. Obtains a passport from his/her home country. Passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry to the U.S.
  2. Applies for a J-1 visa at a U.S. Consul using the DS-2019 document and evidence of payment of the SEVIS fee; May also apply for J-2 visa for eligible dependents including:
    • Spouse
    • Children under 21 years of age
  3. Schedules the visa appointment;
  4. Attends the visa appointment bringing required documentation, including appropriate verification of funding;
  5. Makes travel arrangements and notifies host faculty of expected arrival;
  6. SEVIS requirements upon entry into the US:
    1. Register with the International Student/Scholar Office upon arrival at UNC Charlotte & no later than 30 days after arrival in the US
    2. Provide current address
    3. Provide any changes in name or other passport information
    4. Provide same information for any accompanying dependents
    5. Is responsible for maintaining health insurance coverage for self and J-2 dependents at the required minimums.

Mandatory Visa Check-In and Orientation

Exchange Visitors and/or host faculty are requested to inform ISSO of the visitors arrival plans and schedule a check in appointment.  Visitors must check-in with ISSO within 30 days of the program start date listed on the DS-2019. Failure to do so will result in termination of J-1 status. The exchange visitor should bring the following documents for clearance to the visa check-in appointment:

  • The processed DS- 2019 form with consular stamp
  • Passport with J-1 visa
  • I-94 card
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Valid US address

Exchange Visitors who will receive any compensation from UNC Charlotte will be required to obtain a Social Security Number and meet with Rebecca Urquhart to complete a Foreign National Tax Form.

Sponsoring departments are expected to assist the Exchange Visitor with obtaining a UNC Charlotte account and access to campus privileges such as use of the library, technology, parking, etc. Departments are also encouraged to help integrate the visitor to the campus community and university experience. To support departments and their Exchange Visitors, ISSO has prepared an International Faculty and Scholar Handbook.

Extensions of the J-1 Program

Faculty sponsors are responsible for submitting applications for extensions on behalf of the exchange visitor. Applications for extensions should be submitted to ISSO one month before the end date of the original program. Contact ISSO for more information about procedures for extensions of a scholar's program.(download the PDF to use the fillable form)