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J-1 Professors and Research Scholars

The J-1 professor and research scholar category is a temporary nonimmigrant visa created to promote the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries. If you have questions about the J-1 exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa and would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.


The J-1 professor category may be appropriate for you if you intend to enter the United States for the primary purpose of teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at an accredited post-secondary academic institution, museum, library, or similar kind of institution. You may also conduct research unless the sponsoring organization has disallowed it.

Research scholars

The J-1 research scholar category may be appropriate if you will enter the United States for the primary purpose of conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar kinds of institutions. Teaching or lecturing is also permitted unless the sponsoring organization has disallowed it. Incidental lectures or short-term consultations are allowed if they are approved by the responsible officer and if they are directly related to the your program objectives, and do not cause a delay in the completion date of the exchange program.

How do I qualify?

In order to qualify for the J-1 professor and research scholar visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must not be a candidate for a tenure-track position;
  2. Must not have participated in and completed within the last 24 months a professor or research scholar program before the starting date of the new program’s commencement;
  3. Must possess the educational credentials needed to perform the activities for which you are entering the US;
  4. Must have sufficient English language proficiency to function in an English-speaking environment;
  5. Must not have participated in any J visa program during any part of the 12 month period before the start date of the professor research scholar program unless you meet one of the following exceptions:
    • You must currently be in a professor research scholar program, and are transferring to another institution in the US continue your current J-1 program; or
    • Your prior physical presence in a J visa program in the US was less than six months; or
    • Your prior participation with as a short-term scholar.

Period of stay

The maximum duration of stay for J-1 professors and research scholars is five years. There is an exception for those who are directly sponsored by federally funded national research and development center or a US federal laboratory. If you would like further information about the J-1 exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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