How to Invite Visiting Faculty/Researcher to NMSU
This information is primarily for NMSU academic departments to provide the campus community with an outline of immigration procedures. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides immigration and visa services for international scholars year round and we kindly ask that these requests be sent to our office at least 2 months before the date your department wishes to have the exchange visitor arrive. Inviting faculty and staff often have questions about how to invite scholars, what visa is preferable, and processing issues, so please contact ISSS before your department wishes to extend an invitation.
English Language Proficiency Measures
The Department of State has recently enforced that all J-1 visitors demonstrate that they can function with a day-to-day grasp of the English language and because of this we will accept either one or (in some extreme cases) both methods as a way to determine the exchange visitor’s English proficiency:
- An official TOEFL score report that displays a score of 68 and above.
- Must include a speaking sub-score of 15 to 18 and a listening sub-score of at least a 20,
- The result must be no older than 2 years.
- A phone interview rubric that the visiting faculty member will administer and score before filling out the DS-2019 request form.
- To ensure there is no bias, a member of the ISSS staff must be present during this phone interview (provided that adequate scheduling is possible).
J-1 Scholar Categories
The following compares different exchange visitor categories that are used by NMSU. Further guidance may be obtained by calling ISSS at 646-2834.
- J-1 Research Scholars primarily conduct research, observe, or consult in relation to a research project and may also teach or lecture. The duration of stay is typically 3 weeks to 5 years, with allowed extensions up to the 5 year maximum. J-1 Research Scholars are subject to a 24-month bar on return visits as a J research scholar at the end of the program. They may have the option to return to the U.S. in a different J category (such as Short-Term Scholar) or in another visa category such as F-1 student or B-1/B-2 visitor during the 24-month bar period. Research scholars may also be subject to 212 (e).
- J-1 professors primarily teach, lecture, observe, or consult and may also conduct research, however if the exchange visitor is here primarily to conduct research, the Research Scholar category may be a better option. This also applies even if the visitor is a professor in their home country. The duration of stay is typically 3 weeks to 5 years, with allowed extensions up to the 5 year maximum. J-1 Professors are subject to a 24-month bar on return visits as a J professor at the end of the program. They may have the option to return to the U.S. in a different J category (such as Short-Term Scholar) or in another visa category such as F-1 student or B-1/B-2 visitor during the 24-month bar period. Professors may also be subject to 212 (e).
- J-1 Short Term Scholars can be professors, research scholars, specialists, or persons with highly specialized education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term basis for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills. The duration of stay is typically less than 6 months, with no allowed extensions beyond 6 months. Because of their short visit to the U.S., they are NOT subject to the 24-month bar on return visits as a J-1 research scholar/professor. May be subject to 212 (e) under certain conditions.
- J-1 Specialists are high-level experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skills, who visit the U.S. for the purpose of observing, consulting, or demonstrating their special skills. The Specialist category is not an option to fill a permanent or long-term position or employment while in the U.S. The duration of stay is typically 3 weeks to 12 months, with no extensions allowed beyond 12 months. A change of status is not permitted for the Specialist category. Specialists are NOT subject to the 12-month bar on return visits as a J-1 specialist. May be subject to 212 (e) under certain conditions.
What is the 12/24 month bar?
12-Month Bar from Participation as a J-1 Professor/Research Scholar
The 12-month bar prevents an exchange visitor from becoming a J-1 Professor/ Research Scholar for 12 months following any previous J participation in the J categories of student, specialist, trainee, physician, visitor, intern, counselor, au pair, or summer travel/work (including J-2 dependents of those in these categories).
24-Month Bar for Repeat J-1 Professor/Research Scholar Participation
The 24-month bar requires that there be a period of at least 24 months between each stay in the U.S. as a J-1 Professor or J-1 Research Scholar. The 24-month bar is not the same as the 212(e) rule, also known as the two-year home residency requirement.
General Exceptions to the 12-month and 24-month Bar Rules
- The visitor is transferring to NMSU’s program from another J-1 sponsor,
- The visitor’s presence in the U.S. was for less than 6 months, or
- The visitor’s previous presence was as a J-1 Short-Term Scholar.
For any questions about which categories are subject to the Bar rules or how to choose the most appropriate J-1 visitor category, please contact the ISSS office.
What is 212 (e)?
Certain J-1 exchange visitors are subject to a two-year home residency requirement (HRR). If a J-1 visa holder is subject to 212 (e), he or she must reside and be physically present in their home country (or country of last legal residence abroad) for a collective time period of at least 2 years after leaving the U.S. before he or she is eligible for an immigrant visa. J-1 visitors cannot change visa status from the J to H, L, or K while in the U.S.
The home residency requirement is usually triggered when the exchange visitor:
- possesses a special skill found on the Exchange Visitor “Skills List” (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange/waiver-of-the-exchange-visitor/exchange-visitor-skills-list.html)
- has home government funding
- has U.S. government funding
- participates in a program of graduate medical education.
Waivers of 212 (e) may be available for some individuals. They require sending petitions to the Department of State (DOS) and will call for a review by the Waiver Review Division under DOS. For more information about the waiver process, please visit the Department of State’s website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange/waiver-of-the-exchange-visitor.html). The ISSS office will assist in reviewing the paperwork needed to ensure waivers are submitted correctly and in a timely manner.