Center for Global Services
The Different J-1 Categories Used By Rutgers

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa has about a dozen different "categories," each with its own set of rules and regulations. The DS-2019 form designates the specific "category" of each J-1 visitor. Rutgers University is authorized by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to issue DS-2019 forms for four J-1 categories only.

Please note that it is difficult, time-consuming and costly to change one's category after arriving in the U.S. Furthermore, such applications are often denied by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). J-1 visitors should not have plans to change their program objectives nor their J-1 category once they have begun their J-1 program at Rutgers.

Some J-1 regulations apply to most or all categories of J-1; others regulations apply only to one or two J-1 categories. In addition, the "Student" category has several sub-categories, each with its own rules and procedures.

The links below will bring you to pages that describe the unique characteristics of each category that Rutgers University is authorized to use. Regulations governing each of these categories can be found under Maintaining Legal Status on this website.

Refer to item 15 on your DS-2019 form to determine your category of J-1 visitor, and the select that category below to read about the category's unique characteristics.


The J-1 "Professor" Category

For use by: professors, lecturers, instructors and others whose primary purpose in coming will be to teach. Note: J-1 visitors in the "Professor" category are also permitted to conduct research in addition to teaching.

Time limitations: Five-year limit; absolutely no exceptions to this limit are allowed by federal regulations.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by any combination of the following: Rutgers, home institution, government agency, or other bona fide funding agency. Rutgers does not use its J-1 program to sponsor visitors in this category who wish to come to Rutgers on personal funds. Please note that sabbatical salary is not considered to constitute personal funding.

Employment Options: Only employment authorized by the J-1 program sponsor and directly related to the J-1 visitor's program is allowed. Occasional lectures and consultations outside of Rutgers may be permitted if they meet regulatory criteria and are approved in advance by the Center for International Faculty and Student Services.

Bars and possible restrictions


The J-1 "Research Scholar" Category

For use by: post-docs, research associates, visiting researchers and others whose primary purpose in coming will be to conduct academic or scientific research. Visitors must hold a minimum of a Master's degree or its equivalent to be eligible for the "Research Scholar" category. Note: J-1 visitors in the "Research Scholar" category are also permitted to do some teaching in the same field as their research.

Time limitations: Five-year limit; absolutely no exceptions to this limit are allowed by federal regulations.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by any combination of the following: Rutgers, home institution, government agency, or other bona fide funding agency. Rutgers does not use its J-1 program to sponsor visitors in this category who wish to come to Rutgers on personal funds. Please note that sabbatical salary is not considered to constitute personal funding.

Employment Options: Only employment authorized by the J-1 program sponsor and directly related to the J-1 visitor's program is allowed. Occasional lectures and consultations outside of Rutgers may be permitted if they meet regulatory criteria and are approved in advance by the Center for International Faculty and Student Services.

Bars and possible restrictions


The J-1 "Short Term Scholar" Category

For use by: academic visitors (teaching and/or research) whose visit will not exceed six (6) months and who might possibly be returning to the U.S. on a regular or semi-regular basis for other short-term visits to Rutgers or other universities. This category is frequently used to bring in short-term visitors who are ineligible for the "Professor" or "Research Scholar" categories because of the "12-month bar".

Time limitations: Six-month limit -- with no exceptions.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by any combination of the following: Rutgers, home institution, government agency, or other bona fide funding agency. Rutgers does not use its J-1 program to sponsor visitors in this category who wish to come to Rutgers on personal funds. Please note that sabbatical salary is not considered to constitute personal funding.

Employment Options: Only employment authorized by the J-1 program sponsor and directly related to the J-1 visitor's program is allowed. Occasional lectures and consultations outside of Rutgers may be permitted if they meet regulatory criteria and are approved in advance by the Center for International Faculty and Student Services.


The J-1 "Student" Category

Some students in this category are subject to a "two year home residence requirement"

The "Student" category actually has several sub-categories, each with different purposes and rules.


Matriculated Student
For use by: Students enrolled in a full-time degree program. Rutgers offers J-1 sponsorship for degree students only if there is government or other external agency funding involved; most of the J-1 degree students at Rutgers are on the J-1 sponsorship of other organizations, such as IIE, Amideast or Fulbright

Time limitations: No set regulatory time limits; this sub-category permits whatever time is normally needed for completing the degree program in which the student is enrolled. Note, however, that J-1 matriculated students holding visa sponsorship from an outside (non-Rutgers) agency may possibly have time limitations imposed by their contracts with the sponsoring agencies.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by an agency of the U.S. or the visitor's home government that is requiring the J-1 visa. Exception: federal regulations permit students who are coming to Rutgers under the auspices of a formal institutional exchange agreement to be funded by personal or family funds.

Employment Options: Part-time on-campus employment (up to 20 hours per week) if approved by the J-1 program sponsor; up to 18 months of "Academic Training" (3 years for post-doctoral research) if certain eligibility criteria are met.


Non-Matriculated But Enrolled Full-Time
For use by: exchange students who are enrolled full-time at Rutgers for one or two semesters before returning to their home institutions abroad to complete their degrees.

Time limitations: Two years maximum.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by an agency of the U.S. or the visitor's home government that is requiring the J-1 visa. Exception: federal regulations permit students who are coming to Rutgers under the auspices of a formal institutional exchange agreement to be funded by personal or family funds.

Employment Options: Part-time on-campus employment (up to 20 hours per week) if approved by the J-1 program sponsor; "Academic Training" after the program for a period not to exceed the length of the program, and only if certain eligibility criteria are met.


Non-Matriculated, Not Enrolled in Classes--also called "Special Visiting Research Student"
For use by: students enrolled at a foreign university whose degree programs either require students to conduct research in another country, or permit research conducted in another country to meet the research requirements for their degree program. Certification from the home institution is required.

Time limitations: Two years maximum.

Funding permitted: Must be fully funded by any combination of the following: Rutgers, home institution, government agency, or other bona fide funding agency. Exception: federal regulations permit visiting research students who are coming to Rutgers under the auspices of a formal institutional exchange agreement to be funded by personal or family funds.

Employment Options: The only employment permitted is that which the hosting Rutgers department may have offered to enhance the research the student will carry out at Rutgers. It is restricted to part-time (up to 20 hours per week) employment in the host department at Rutgers, and is limited to work that is integral to the research objectives of the student.


Non-Matriculated, also called "Student Intern"
For use by: students enrolled at a foreign university whose degree programs either require students to conduct an internship in another country, or permit an internship in another country to meet the requirements of their degree program. Certification from the home institution is required.

Time limitations: 12 months maximum.

Funding permitted: funding for student interns can come from any source, including personal funds, government funds, Rutgers or home institution funding. This is a noted exception to the other J-1 visa categories and sub-categories.

Employment Options: Student interns may be paid or unpaid by Rutgers, but are required to perform the internship duties for a minimum of 32 hours per week. Student interns are not allowed employment outside of their internship. More stipulations about the kind of work permitted within the parameters of the student internship are described in Responsibilities of a Sponsoring Professor.