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J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

Smith College has been designated by the Department of State and USIA as a sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The purpose of this program is to promote international education exchanges and collaboration among universities around the world.

The college is permitted to sponsor visitors under the following categories: professor, research scholar, short-term scholar or student.*

*It is not possible to change from one category of the J-1 visa to another category within the United States.


Certain criteria must be met in order for the college to sponsor a visitor. We will make a decision by reviewing the official appointment or invitation letter issued by the Office of the Provost/Dean of Faculty and will issue the visa application form DS2019.

All J-1 program participants are required to pursue the objectives stated in the DS2019 form which is based on their appointment letters from Smith.

New Incoming J-1 Professors/Research Scholars

Participants are subject to the following conditions:

  1. participant may be in a tenure-track position as long as s/he is not a candidate for tenure;
  2. participant has not been physically present in the United States in any J status for more than six months of the previous 12 months. In most cases J-1 holders may not accept paid employment outside Smith College unless it is an integral part of the program described in form DS2019


Professors/research scholars

Initial programs for this category must not exceed three years. Extensions of up to six onths are permitted for the purpose of completing a specific project or research activity.


Professors/research scholars may transfer from or to Smith College if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the initial objective for which they were admitted, provided they remain in the same J category. Permission to transfer is given by the sponsoring institution.

Short-term scholars (faculty who are invited to teach and/or conduct research for a period of six months or less) are not permitted extensions.

Accompanying Family Members of J-1 Visa Holders

Spouses and unmarried minor children (under the age of 21) of an exchange visitor are issued J-2 visas. The primary holder of the J-1 visa must show evidence of adequate funding for the support of the dependent children and spouse. J-2 visa holders may apply to BCIS for work permission after arriving in the United States.

Mandatory Health Insurance

All exchange visitors and their dependents must have health insurance coverage for illness and accidents during the entire period of time they are on the J visas. Smith College will supplement any private or governmental insurance policy for the primary J-1 visa holder with a U.S. insurance policy during their stay at Smith. Insurance coverage for dependents is the responsibility of the primary J-1 holder.