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J-1 Scholars

The United States Department of State (DOS) administers the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), which implements the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (the Fulbright-Hays Act). This act promotes “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges”. The EVP provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the United States and then return home to share their experiences. Vanderbilt University, as a designated sponsor of an EVP, offers such opportunities.

Vanderbilt EVP offers programs as short as a seminar presentation to no more than 6 months for its Short-Term Scholars and no more than 5 years for its Professors or Research Scholars. The Exchange Visitors (EVs) are then expected to return to their home country to fulfill the objectives of the aforementioned Act. Some EVs will be subject to a two year home residency requirement (Section 212.e) that, unless fulfilled or waived, will bar them from obtaining H-1B status or permanent residency, among other lawful means of remaining and working in the US.

EVs are J-1 non-immigrant visa holders who pursue a specific program objective at academic institutions in the U.S., as designated by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and DOS.  At Vanderbilt, J-1 scholars are categorized as research scholars, professors, short-term scholars, or specialists.  International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) staff members are DOS – designated Responsible Officer (RO) & Alternate ROs (ARO) at Vanderbilt.

ISSS is your liaison with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS). We do not work for either of these agencies or any other part of the U.S. government. We are here to help you and will assist you in every way possible. Remember, however, that you are solely responsible for maintaining your legal status.  Whenever you have questions or problems, please make an appointment to see an adviser at ISSS as soon as possible.