Hosting an International Scholar in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

Hosting a J-1 international scholar in your department for the purpose of research and/or teaching makes you a participant in the United States Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program at Appalachian State University (P-1-04609). J-1 Exchange Visitors visit Appalachian to teach, lecture, collaborate on research, observe, consult, train or demonstrate specials skills in connection with a research project or visiting appointment.

Departments that offer invitations/employment to international scholars seeking to participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program will need to request that International Student and Scholar Services (ISSSO) issue any necessary immigration documents the scholar will require for obtaining a visa to enter the U.S., or for obtaining the correct legal status. ISSSO should be consulted before making a commitment to host or hire a foreign national. ISSSO will work with the department, as well as the individual, to select the appropriate Exchange Visitor category and ensure that all federal laws and regulations are met before the foreign national arrives. 

Printable PDF of the J-1 Hosting Process (PDF, 146KB)

Hosting an International Scholar

There are several different categories of Exchange Visitors that Appalachian is approved to sponsor. ISSSO will work with the hosting department and Exchange Visitor to determine the most appropriate category.

Professor - Individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at a post-secondary accredited educational institution, museum, library, or similar type of institution. A professor may also conduct research. Professors are required stay in the U.S for a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum stay of up to 5 years.

Research Scholar - Individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at a research institution, corporate research facility, museum, library, post-secondary educational institution, or similar type of institution. This category also has a minimum stay of 3 weeks and a maximum stay up to 5 years.

Short-term Scholar - Professor, research scholar, specialist, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at a corporate research facility, museum, library, post-secondary educational institution, or similar type of institution. There is no minimum stay requirement. The maximum duration of stay is limited to 6 months.

A prospective J-1 Exchange Visitor in one of the aforementioned categories must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Participate only in the activities allowed within the scope of the J-1 Exchange Visitor category he/she holds
  • Hold a non-tenure track position at Appalachian State University. For information about visa categories for tenure track positions, please visit our website here
  • Possesses adequate English language proficiency that allows them to successfully complete the objectives of their program and function on a day to day basis. NOTE: The hosting department will be responsible for collecting and providing ISSSO with an objective measurement of English proficiency as described by the Department of State for any J-1 Exchange Visitor you invite.
  • Possesses adequate financial resources (for self and any accompanying dependents) to complete his/her program. NOTE: Exchange Visitor is required to provide proof of finances to ISSSO before he or she is eligible to apply for a visa.
  • Has not been in the United States in J-1 or J-2 status for 6 or more months during the 12 months immediately preceding the start date of the new J-1 request
  • Maintain health insurance coverage during the entire duration of his or her program, as required by federal law. Our office will enroll the international scholar in health insurance prior to his or her arrival.
  • Individual must not seek admission to Appalachian State University as a full-time student. For more information about visa categories for degree-seeking and exchange students, please visit our website here.

Departments who wish to host a J-1 Exchange Visitor must fully complete and submit the appropriate request form AND all required supporting documents at least three months in advance of the Exchange Visitor’s proposed start date at Appalachian.

  1. Contact the Director of International Student and Scholar Services and Outreach (ISSSO) to discuss the nature of your proposed Exchange Visitor’s visit as far in advance as possible. He/she will determine if the international scholar is eligible to participate in Appalachian’s Exchange Visitor Program and under which category. ISSSO will provide you with the necessary documents to complete the next steps.
  2. Submit the following documents to ISSSO:
  • Letter of Invitation – You will be provided with a template to complete and return on departmental letterhead signed by you, your department chair, and the prospective Exchange Visitor
  • Completed copy of the host responsibilities form signed by you and your department chair
  • A copy of the prospective Exchange Visitor’s CV or resume in English
  • Proof of English language proficiency. Federal regulations 22 CFR 62.10(a)(2) require that all J-1 Exchange Visitors possess  “to function on a day-to-day basis” outside of the direct activity of the exchange (e.g., outside the lab). The new Supbart A also requires sponsors to make their determinations regarding English proficiency using an “objective measurement of English language proficiency,” by means of one of the following three methods:
    • “A recognized English language test,” or
    • “Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school,” or
    • “A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option” If you choose this route, please complete and return our Evidence of English Language Proficiency form here.
    • Sponsors must also “retain evidence of how they measured applicants’ English language proficiency so that it may be made available to the Department of State upon request.” [79 FR 60294, 60301]
    • Whichever option you choose you will be required to provide ISSSO with documentation before issuing a Form DS-2019 to your potential visitor.
Once ISSSO has all of the required documents from the potential hosting faculty member or department, ISSSO will contact the potential visitor to collect further information required. The potential Exchange Visitor must submit:
  • DS-2019 Application (provided to the Exchange Visitor by ISSSO)
  • Copy of the biographical page of his or her passport and all accompanying dependents
  • Financial documents to cover all of the visitor’s expenses during his or her time here. A total estimate will be provided to the potential Exchange Visitor by ISSSO
    • Acceptable Financial Documents: 
      • Bank statements in your name showing balance of account
      • Private sponsors (must include both of the following):
        • Letter(s) that shows the relationship between you and the sponsor(s), the amount of support and the length of support
        • The sponsor's bank or other financial statements showing balance of account
      • Other institutional award/scholarship letters or letter from current employer
      • Letter from institution on official letterhead showing amount and length of support in U.S. dollar amounts.
      • Letter from employer on official business letterhead showing position with the company, salary earned monthly in U.S. dollars, and that you will continue to receive the salary while in the U.S.
      • Loan certificates/letters which indicate your name and the amount of approved loan
    • All supporting funding documents must:
      • be dated within the past 3 months
      • be translated into English
      • clearly show the type of currency and their US dollar (USD) equivalents
      • not be salary statements or tax documents
Once all required documents are collected ISSSO will issue the Form DS-2019 required to apply for a J-1 visa and mail via FedEx to the visitor along with instructions on how to apply for a visa and what to expect when entering the U.S. More information about the next steps the Exchange Visitor will need to take can be found on the International Scholar portion of our website.  

Contracts for J-1 Exchange Visitors

If your J-1 Exchange Visitor will be paid a stipend for teaching a course, you must submit a Dean’s Recommendation for Employment form signed by your department chair and dean as early as possible but no later than one month prior to arrival. This form will result in a contract being issued by Academic Affairs. The contract and forms both will be sent to the address listed on the visitor’s CV or resume. The visitor should sign the contract, complete the forms, and return them to Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs will then forward the appropriate paperwork to Human Resources. Once Human Resources receives the completed paperwork, your visitor will have a record in Banner and a user ID for email and other Appalachian systems. 

Email and software account (if no contract)

If your J-1 Exchange Visitor will not be receiving a contract, you must complete the Non-employee user account request form for them to be given access to email and most computing systems on campus. Once this request is approved your visitor will be given a username and eligible to set up ITS accounts and passwords. The non-employee user account request form can be found here


It is your responsibility to ensure that the J-1 Exchange Visitor has housing secured prior to his or her arrival.


All J-1 Exchange Visitors and J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to maintain health insurance for the entire duration of their J-1 Exchange Visitor Program that meets the following requirements:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  4. Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

 In order to ensure compliance with this requirement, Appalachian has contracted with GeoBlue to provide a plan that meets the coverage requirements pursuant to federal regulations [22 CFR 62.14]. All participants of Appalachian’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the Professor, Researcher, and Short-term Scholar categories are required to enroll in the GeoBlue plan. No alternative health insurance plans will be considered.

Failure to maintain enrollment in the GeoBlue health insurance may result in the termination of your J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and you and any accompanying dependents will be required to depart the U.S. immediately. Per 22 CFR 62.14:

 (i) Exchange visitors who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above while a participant in an exchange visitor program or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination as an exchange visitor.

(j)  Sponsors must terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in their program if the sponsor determines that the exchange visitor or any accompanying spouse or dependent willfully fails to remain in compliance with this section.”

Please contact for the most up to date insurance rates.

Airport Pickup

It is your responsibility to arrange transportation to and from a nearby airport to Boone. If you or one of your colleagues is unable to meet the J-1 Exchange Visitor in person, please contact ISSSO for information about other transportation services available. 


All J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by federal immigration regulations to physically check in with an approved staff member of our office upon arrival. Please work with your faculty host to schedule a time as soon as possible, and bring the following documents and information to the appointment:

  • Passport of J-1 Exchange Visitor and all accompanying J-2 dependents
  • Form DS-2019 of Exchange Visitor and all accompanying J-2 dependents
  • Local, physical address

Failure to check in with our office upon arrival is a violation of your immigration status and may result in the cancellation of your status and difficulty acquiring future visas to the U.S. 

Each Exchange Visitor that is being paid by Appalachian is required to complete an I-9 form and other required paperwork with Human Resources upon arrival. Please make arrangements for your Exchange Visitor to meet with staff member at HR as early as possible. Please make sure that they bring the following documents to this meeting:

  • Form DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Print out of I-94
  • Voided check and information to set up direct deposit

Appalachian is required by federal immigration regulations to provide an orientation for all new J-1 Exchange Visitors. ISSSO will conduct one orientation session each spring and fall semester. It is your responsibility to ensure that your J-1 Exchange Visitor is present at the orientation session.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa was created to provide opportunities for cultural exchange between the United States and other nations, thereby “building mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries.” These activities are an essential component of the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s experience at Appalachian and required for Appalachian to continue to host J-1 Exchange Visitors. ISSSO is committed to providing opportunities for J-1 Exchange Visitors to engage in cross cultural activities that enhance both their time at Appalachian, and the experience of our entire community. You can find more information about many of these programs on our Get Involved website.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors who are on Appalachian payroll will require a Social Security number. The closest Social Security Administration office is in Wilkesboro, NC. ISSSO will provide transportation to the Social Security Administration office for eligible students and scholars three times each semester. If you are unable to go at the times that the ISSSO organizes, your faculty host will provide arrangements for you to go. For information about future trips, please contact us at If you are traveling to the Social Security Administration office without ISSSO, you will need to take the following documents with you:

  • Passport
  • Printout of I-94 number
  • Form DS-2019
  • Letter from ISSSO confirming eligibility for Social Security number
  • Contract or offer letter from Appalachian

Social Security cards will be mailed to the address you provide the Social Security Administration two to three weeks after you apply.

IMPORTANT: The Social Security Administration is not able to issue a Social Security number until you have physically checked in with a ISSSO staff member and your immigration record has been validated. Do not go to the Social Security office before checking in with a staff member from ISSSO.


F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors who wish to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license may be able to do so.

The documents you will need to present to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are:

  • Passport
  • Social Security card or W-2 form (optional but highly recommended)
  • Print out of your I- 94 record
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • Proof of residency.  If you live off campus, an official document showing your physical address, such as a utility bill, will do.  If you live on campus, please come see ISSSO and we can provide you with an official letter verifying your address.
  • Proof of liability insurance unless planning to drive only rental vehicles.  This means that you must have car insurance if you are planning to drive your own private car.  Without car insurance, you will ONLY be able to obtain a driver’s license for driving rental vehicles.
  • Social Security card or W-2 form (optional but highly recommended)

The closest DMV office is located:

4469 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

For more information about their hours and other policies and procedures, please visit their website.

Please see for more information about the requirements of obtaining a driver’s license.  This page also includes a link to the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook, which you will need in order to prepare for the driver’s license examination.

You can find additional driving information for new residents of North Carolina at and information about vehicle registration at for those who own a car.