J-1 Visa General Information


  • J-1 Status
  • Security Checks
  • Dependents
  • Two Year Home Residency Requirement


Non-immigrants who are in “J” status are participants in the Exchange Visitor Program, whose primary purpose is to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through educational and cultural exchange.

Therefore, individuals in “J” status are called “Exchange Visitors.” Although there are several categories under which an Exchange Visitor may participate at UALR, the majority of our visitors are Research Scholars or Exchange Students. For application procedures, please click on the appropriate category for your visit found in the J-1 Visa Categories section.


Security checks during application for a visa stamp are very common for all people studying or working in scientific fields. They are even more common in specific countries such as China, India, Korea, and Middle Eastern countries. While these checks are usually completed within 3 weeks, a few have taken as long as 6 months and ther is nothing UALR OIS can do to shorten the period of time it will take. Please plan accordingly and let your supervisor know about this possibility. Please also let OIS know in case of any adjustments that need to be made to your DS-2019 pertaining to your start date. Failing to maintain communication regarding this could result in visa status problems when the security check is complete.


J-1 Exchange Visitors may bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. Dependents are issued J-2 visas and are subject to the regulations of the Exchange Visitor Program. They may arrive with the J-1 or join him/her at a later time.

Exchange Visitors are permitted to bring dependents to the U.S. only if financial resources are adequate for their support. Each dependent must have health insurance coverage while in the U.S. which meets the minimum standards established or all F and J visa holders studying at UALR.

Once your dependents arrive in the U.S. they may apply to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for employment authorization. This application process usually takes several months, and OIS will provide the necessary forms. Applicants must clearly demonstrate that the income earned will not be for the support of the Exchange Visitor.


Also known as 212(e), this regulation requires some Exchange Visitors to return to their country of national origin or last legal permanent residence for two years before obtaining H1-B or U.S. permanent resident status.

Exchange visitors become subject to 212(e) if they receive direct/indirect government funding from their country or the U.S.; or possess skills by their country, as designated by the U.S. Department of State Skills List.

The consular official may mark the bottom left-hand corner of your DS-2019 or make a notation on your visa stamp that you are or are not subject to 212(e). Likewise, the port-of-entry immigration officer may mark the bottom left-hand corner of your DS-2019. Please raise any questions about the requirement with the consular official when you apply for a visa stamp or with the immigration officer when you enter the U.S. If you believe an error was made, please alert the Office of International Services as soon as you arrive.

If you are subject to 212(e), it is sometimes possible to get that requirement waived. Information regarding waivers can be found at Two Year Home Country Requirement