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J-1 Visa Information

J Visa Eligibility

The Wilson Center is designated by the US Department of State to sponsor J visas for non-US citizens or legal permanent residents. 

Prior to applying for any Wilson Center fellowship, prospective applicants without US citizenship or US legal permanent residency are responsible for verifying their eligibility for a J-1 Research Scholar visa. By applying for a Wilson Center fellowship, foreign applicants are therefore confirming that they are eligible to apply for a J-1 visa in the Research Scholar category.

The Wilson Center provides a Certificate of Eligibility (also known as a Form DS-2019) to foreign scholars, which allows them to apply for a J-1 visa. It is the prospective scholar’s responsibility to apply for the J-1 visa at their local US embassy. The State Department makes the final decision in approving visa applications. The Wilson Center cannot appeal a J visa denial, and fellowships at the Wilson Center are contingent upon receiving a J-1 visa for foreign scholars.

J-2 Visa Dependents

Spouses and children under age 21 are eligible to apply for a J-2 visa as a dependent of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. It is the responsibility of the J-1 applicant to confirm that their spouse or child meets the eligibility requirements for a J-2 visa. 

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement 

Current exchange visitors (and any J-2 dependents) that are subject to the 212(e) rule must satisfy the two-year home country residency requirement before becoming eligible to receive another J visa. If you or any dependents are currently bound to the 212(e) rule, please wait to apply for a Wilson Center fellowship until after you have satisfied this requirement, as it is your responsibility to determine your eligibility for a J visa.

Because the Wilson Center is a federal-trust instrumentality, it is possible that J-1 scholars will be bound by the 212(e) rule following their fellowship at the Wilson Center. This is determined by the State Department during the J visa interview, and the Wilson Center has no bearing, nor can it appeal, this decision. Prospective applicants (and any dependents) must therefore be able to satisfy a two-year home residency requirement following a Wilson Center fellowship.

Additional Waiting Periods

A J-1 Research Scholar is limited to five years of program participation. For example, if someone has been at a US university on a J-1 visa from 1/1/2018 to 1/1/2023, this scholar has used up their time limit of five years and would be ineligible to come to the Center at the end of the fellowship at the university. In addition, people holding tenure-track positions at universities may not be ineligible for J-1 Research Scholar visas.

Current or recent J-1 Research Scholar visa holders may need to wait between 12-24 months following the end of their exchange visitor program to re-apply for a new J-1 Research Scholar visa. If you are currently fulfilling such a waiting period, please wait to apply for a Wilson Center fellowship until after you have satisfied this requirement, as it is your responsibility to determine your eligibility for a J-1 Research Scholar visa. For more information about the two-year home residency requirement, waiting periods, and other J visa-related inquiries, please visit the State Department’s website: .

No in-country transfers between visa categories

If a potential scholar is in the US on another visa, such as a G or an A visa, we cannot transfer the scholar to our J-1 visa.  The scholar must return home and come back on the J-1 visa before starting their fellowship at the Center.

J Visa Insurance Requirements

Program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Sponsors must require their participants (and any dependents as J-2 visa holders) have insurance in effect for the duration of their program. An insurance policy secured to meet the requirements 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-I or above, a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of A- or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the sponsor may ascertain that the participant’s policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country. For other options, see [22 CFR 62.14]. For further information, please visit

J-1 Visa holders will be subject to US taxes if applicable.