International Scholars

International Student and Scholar Services and Outreach provides support to J-1 Exchange Visitors and international scholars before, during and after their time at Appalachian. Below you will find information that will help you during every stage of your visit to Appalachian as an international scholar in the J-1 Exchange Visitor program. 

Questions and Answers about the most recent Executive Order- Department of Homeland Security

Current J-1 Scholar Information

During your time in the U.S. as a J-1 Exchange Visitor, it extremely important that you maintain valid J-1 status at all times. Failure to maintain your status or violation of your status may result in the cancellation of your program and impact your ability to secure future U.S. visas in the future. To avoid these circumstances, you must do the following:

  1. Check in with our office upon arrival.
  2. Attend the mandatory new scholar orientation session.
  3. Comply with all local, state, and federal laws.
  4. Report a change of address to our office within 5 days.
  5. Not accept employment not authorized in section 4 of your DS-2019. You must consult our office before accepting any payment (other than reimbursement for personal expenses) for participating in conferences or lectures.
  6. Maintain health insurance for you and all J-2 dependents as required by federal regulations.
  7. Maintain an unexpired passport valid for 6 months into the future for you and all J-2 dependents at all time.
  8. Inform our office if of any major changes to your program (staying another semester, job duty change) or personal circumstances (birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce etc.) as soon as possible.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by federal immigration regulations to physically check in with an approved staff member 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.

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. Appalachian 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.

If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. during your time as a J-1 Exchange Visitor at Appalachian, it is very important that you have the necessary documents to both enter another country and reenter the U.S. in valid J-1 status. For information about what is required to enter a country other than the U.S., please refer to the embassy or consulate of that country for specific requirements.

To reenter the U.S. in J-1 status you will need the following documents:

  • Passport with at least 6 months of future validity
  • Valid unexpired J-1 visa with additional entries permitted
  • Accurate and up to date Form DS-2019 with a signature in the Travel Validation by Responsible Officer box
  • Copy of your contract and or invitation letter from Appalachian and your hosting department
  • Financial documentation as evidence of your ability to financially support yourself when you return to the U.S.

If your J-1 visa is expired when you leave the U.S. you will need to apply for a new J-1 visa before returning to the U.S. It is always best to apply for a new visa in your home country. If for whatever reason you are unable to apply in your home country, please contact our office for assistance. There are numerous reasons that can result in a delay. Please allow ample time and plan ahead to avoid unnecessary delays.

Travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean

If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean (other than Cuba and Bermuda) for fewer than thirty days, you may be eligible to return to the U.S. with an expired J-1 visa. More information coming soon.

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required by federal regulations (22 CFR 62.14) to maintain health insurance during the entire duration of their stay that meet 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.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors who are in at least ¾ time positions will receive university health insurance that meets the requirements through Blue Cross Blue Shield. All other J-1 Exchange Visitors will be enrolled in a HTH Worldwide insurance plan prior to his or her arrival. If insurance is not being provided by OIED, the J-1 Exchange Visitor will pay the balance for the insurance upon arrival.

Insurance rates * as of August 2017:

  • Participant $23.80 per week
  • Participant & Spouse $103.95 per week
  • Participant & Family $141.45 per week
  • Participant & Children $61.30 per week

* Insurance rates are subject to change.

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. Our office 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 organized, your faculty host will provide arrangements for you to go. For information about future trips, please contact us at issso@appstate.edu. If you are traveling to the Social Security Administration office without a member of our staff, you will need to take the following documents with you:

  • Passport
  • Printout of I-94 number
  • Form DS-2019
  • Letter from our office 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 our office and your immigration record has been validated. Do not go to the Social Security office before checking in with a staff member.

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 one of our staff members, and we can provide you with an official letter verifying your address; you must provide your ASU Box number (for mailing the card) and as well as the physical address of your residence hall and room number.
  • 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 shortest wait times, plan to go early (8:00am) in the morning, and not on Mondays.

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

Please see http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver/license 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 http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/moving/ and information about vehicle registration at http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/vehicle/ for those who own a car.

Future J-1 Scholar Information

Once you have been issued a Form DS-2019 from Appalachian State University, you should begin the process of acquiring your J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa as quickly as possible. The following steps should be taken.

Step 1. Pay your SEVIS fee. After you receive your SEVIS ID number and the Exchange Visitor Program Number (both found on your DS-2019) from Appalachian, you can pay the SEVIS fee online. If you are bringing dependents with you, you will need their SEVIS ID numbers (found on your DS-2019) as well. (All of you will share a program number.)  J-1 scholars must pay a $180 SEVIS fee once per J-1 program. You must pay your SEVIS fee online with a credit card. Your J-2 dependents do not have to pay an additional SEVIS fee. You can pay the SEVIS fee online here. IMPORTANT: Remember to print your receipt and bring it with you to your visa interview.

Step 2. Complete the nonimmigrant visa application.

Step 3. Schedule a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is important to do this as soon as possible. Wait times for appointments vary by country. For a list of visa wait times, visit the Department of State’s website. For a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates, please visit the U.S. Embassy website.

Step 4. Prepare the documentation to take to your interview. You must bring the following information to your interview:

  • Your DS-2019
  • A valid passport
  • Your SEVIS payment receipt
  • Visa application forms
  • Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for your program including for any dependents accompanying you
  • Any other documents requested of you by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country

Step 5. Prepare for your interview. Because you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular official that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. You should be prepared to explain your plans to return to your home country after your stay in the U.S. and demonstrate that you have strong ties to your home country. Be prepared to discuss your program in the U.S. and your plans for after you return in clear and concise English.

Step 6. If you are successful, your J-1 visa will be stamped in your passport and your DS-2019 will be signed and returned to you. If you are not successful, the consular office may request that you provide further information or documentation at a later date. It is important to maintain a positive attitude and follow any and all instructions exactly as requested by the consular officer.

 

Federal regulations allow you to enter the U.S. 30 days before the start date listed on your DS-2019 and forbid you from arriving any later than 30 days after the start date.  Additionally, you are required to depart the U.S. within 30 days after the program end date listed on your DS-2019. Please keep these dates in mind as you make your travel arrangements to and from the U.S. 

Preparing for your trip:

Please review our Pre-Arrival Handbook for information and resources that will help you prepare for your time at Appalachian and in the U.S.

Arriving in the U.S.:

When you arrive in the U.S. you may be required to present any or all of the following documents to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection at your initial point of entry into the U.S. (airport, seaport, border crossing):

  • Passport
  • Visa stamp
  • Form DS-2019
  • I-907 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Supporting financial documents
  • Initiation letter from Appalachian 

IMPORTANT: This inspection will take place before you are allowed to collect your luggage. Do not place these documents in your checked bag. Keep them on your person. 

   

Tax Information

A: All international faculty members, scholars, and students in F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-1B, H-4 status, and others must complete and file tax forms regardless of whether or not you earned income during your time in the U.S.

A:  There are two factors that determine which forms you must complete and file:  

  1. Whether you are considered a resident or nonresident for tax purposes.
  2. Whether or not you received income from a source in the U.S. during the previous calendar year.

 

A: It depends on the length of time you were physically present in the U.S.

  • F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 students (not scholars) who were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than 5 calendar years as a student are probably considered nonresidents for tax purposes
  • J-1, J-2 Exchange Visitors in the Professor, Research and Short-term Scholar categories who were physically present in the U.S. for fewer than two calendar years are probably considered non-residents for tax purposes.
  • H-1B, H-4 visa holders: If you were physically present in the U.S. for more than 183 days in the prior calendar you are probably considered residents for tax purposes.

A: You need to complete and file the same tax forms as U.S. citizens. You will file a Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A. You are not eligible to file a Form 8843

A: If you are required to file a Form 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A you must have a Social Security Number or ITIN number to file

A: For information about acquiring a Social Security number visit our page here. If you are applying for an ITIN, you can submit that application when filing your tax forms.

A: Each year our office partners with VITA, the Volunteers in Tax Assistance program, to provide free one-on-one assistance for all international faculty, scholars and students who attended Appalachian the prior calendar year. Our office will email you with information on how to schedule an appointment.

A: All of the forms you need to complete and file can be found online at www.irs.gov.

Additionally, there are other VITA sites in the community where you may be able to receive free assistance. For more information visit the VITA website at: www.irs.gov/vita

A: No, unfortunately, our office will not be able to assist you with your taxes.

Host a J-1 Visitor

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

Housing

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

  

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required by federal regulations (22 CFR 62.14) to maintain health insurance during the entire duration of their stay that meet 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.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors who are in at least ¾ time positions will receive university health insurance that meets the requirements through Blue Cross Blue Shield. All other J-1 Exchange Visitors will be enrolled in a HTH Worldwide insurance plan by ISSSO prior to his or her arrival. If insurance is not being provided by OIED, the J-1 Exchange Visitor will pay ISSSO for the insurance upon arrival.

Insurance rates * as of February 2016:

  • Participant $87.60
  • Participant & Spouse $382.45
  • Participant & Family $520.40
  • Participant & Children $225.55

* Insurance rates are subject to change.

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 issso@appstate.edu. 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 http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver/licensefor 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 athttp://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/moving/ and information about vehicle registration athttp://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/vehicle/ for those who own a car.