J-1 Scholars


Inviting Foreign Visitors for J-1 Exchange Programs

Departments who wish to invite a visiting foreign scholar for an exchange program at New Mexico State University must go through an application process with the assistance of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).  You and your Exchange Visitor (EV) will be asked to provide information regarding the activities the EV will engage in, the EV's qualifications for the program, and the EV's source of funding. The information that you provide will be used to issue a form DS-2019. This is the immigration form that the EV will use to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa.

1) To start the process, please email the NMSU ISSS Team at isss.nmsu.edu  Please use J-1 Exchange Visitor Request in the subject line. Please include the following information in the email:

  • Full legal name of prospective Exchange Visitor
  • First and last name of professor making the request
  • Name of the sponsoring department

2) The NMSU ISSS Team will reply to the email. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Application will be attached. Dr. JoAnne Dupree of Export Control will be copied on the email. Dr. Dupree will send the Export Control Questioneer that needs to be completed, returned to Dr. Dupree and approved by Dr. Dupree prior to the ISSS Team processing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Application. 

3) The Host Department and Exchange Visitor (EV) candidate complete the DS-2019 application together.  Doing so has two main purposes:  1) Ensuring both parties take part in designing the program, and 2) Helping to gather the details that Immigration requires.  

4) The sponsoring department emails the completed and signed DS-2019 Application to the NMSU ISSS Team using the same email thread in which the original request was made. We recommend that you please submit your DS-2019 Request Form at least 3 months before the EV’s program start date.  This gives you time to plan, gives ISSS time to process the paperwork, and gives the EV time to obtain the J-1 visa.  

5) The NMSU ISSS Team will email the DS-2019 form to the EV along with insturctions regarding applicaiton process next steps. The US Department of State has approved designated sponsors for the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) to digitally sign and electronically transmit the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Statuus (J-Nonimmigration) (Form DS-2019)  

6) When the EV receives the form, they will:  Print the form, including any J-2 dependant forms, in color and sign them with blue ink. Do not attempt to sign the forms electronically. The EV must provide a wet signatrue in blue ink on each form. The EV must pay the $180 SEVIS fee, make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a visa interview; complete various visa application forms; pay a $140 visa application fee; and attend a visa interview.

Processing Fee: We charge $100 processing fee for a J-1 application. To begin the process of J-1 we would require Index number of the department.


Inviting a scholar to New Mexico State University is more than a written invitation; it is a commitment.  Your department will need to actively collaborate with the scholar during the program, and provide an experience that benefits both the scholar and New Mexico State University. 

Please take a few moments to learn about the Exchange Visitor Program


  • The Exchange Visitor Program is carried out pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The Act promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. 


  • Sponsors and exchange visitors are required to comply with the Exchange Visitor Program’s federal regulations. For a successful program, it is essential to become familiar with the governing regulations.


  • New Mexico State University is an Immigration sponsor of the Exchange Visitor Program. This means that we are a legal entity that has applied for and received designation from the Department of State to conduct an Exchange Visitor program. 


  • According to the Department of State, “The Exchange Visitor Program promotes the interchange of knowledge and skills among foreign and American scholars. It does so by providing foreign scholars the opportunity to exchange ideas with their American colleagues, participate in educational and professional programs, confer on common problems and projects, and promote professional relationships and communications.”  [22 Code of Federal Regulations, 62.21] 


  • While at NMSU, EVs must have a structured, supervised program in close collaboration with the sponsoring department. (The Exchange Visitor Program is not meant for visitors who simply wish to use NMSU facilities to accomplish their own objectives for projects at home.) 


  • Exchange Visitors (EVs) need a J-1 Visa to enter the United States. There are several J-1 visa categories.  New Mexico State University has permission to host the following: 
    • 1) Non-degree seeking student,
    • 2) Degree-seeking student, 
    • 3) Short-term scholar, 
    • 4) Research scholar, and 
    • 5) Professor


  • Most often at NMSU, departments invite people in the categories of Research Scholar, Professor, Specialist, and Short-term Scholar. As participants in these program categories, foreign professors and research scholars engage in research, teaching, observing, and lecturing with their American colleagues.

  • IMPORTANT:  People invited in these categories must be researchers or professors at home, or have similar expertise and qualifications.  At the very least, they must have earned a Bachelor’s degree. 


  • International Student and Scholar Services at NMSU are authorized to create the Certificate of Eligibility DS-2019 form that candidates need to apply for the J-1 Visa.


  • SEVIS is the web-based system that keeps track of visitors in the United States. SEVIS is administered by a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.  NMSU advisors are required to use SEVIS to enter information about international visitors.


  • The EV’s should be in contact with ISSS for SEVIS update  before and after they arrive.  SEVIS is the system used to create the DS-2019 form.


  • While International Student and Scholar Services are not employed by the Departments of State or Homeland Security, they are required to obey Immigration laws as part of administering the J-1 program.


Host Department's Responsibilities


There are a variety of responsibilities New Mexico State University has when hosting Exchange Visitors.  Please read them below.  You will want to keep this information in mind as you design your program and conduct it.

To ensure that the program is suitable, the host department must ensure that:

1. Participants’ backgrounds, needs, and experiences are appropriate for the activities to be pursued at NMSU and that they meet the eligibility criteria for the selected immigration category.

2. Sponsors are required to ensure that their participants are sufficiently proficient in the English language to participate in their exchange programs before they enter the United States. [22 CFR 62.10(a)(2)]

As you design the program, please keep in mind that it is not possible to change the objectives of your program after your scholar has received a visa (because the granting of the visa was based on the original information provided to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.) Therefore, please take time now to carefully plan the program before immigration documents are created.

The host department must determine whether the scholar’s command of English is sufficient to accomplish the activities of the exchange program. You must also ensure that the EV has appropriate academic credentials for the category and program.

The Exchange Visitor’s program must be pre-planned and arranged so that scholars are engaged full-time and have specific objectives to accomplish. This means they are busy with research or teaching activities for at least 35 hours a week performing the activities that you described in this application.

Sponsors are required to monitor the progress and welfare of their participants. Sponsors are to ensure that the participants' activities are consistent with the program category identified on the participants' DS-2019.

The Host Department is responsible for regularly monitoring and collaborating with Exchange Visitors, making sure that the goals of the program are being met and that the scholars are doing what they were invited to do.

The host department (not any third party who may have originally invited the EV) is ultimately responsible for arranging the EV’s program and for ensuring that the EV carries out the goals and objectives of the program.

Exchange Visitors must complete the majority of their program on a NMSU University campus, not in another city or at another location.

It is the host department’s responsibility to help the scholar find housing, tour the campus and community, set up their work space, help any children register for school, introduce them to colleagues in your department, and help the scholar experience American life and culture.

All program categories require that sponsors provide 24-hour emergency contact information to their participants. EVs should not hesitate to contact ISSS if they need assistance.

Employment for scholars is very limited, so it is vital that departments and scholars know what limits Immigration has placed on employment opportunities for those in J-1 status.

Essentially, if a researcher or professor performs a service (such as giving a presentation) and receives anything in return (such as cash, an honorarium, free lodging, free car rental, free airfare….free ANYTHING), Immigration sees this as “repayment” for services rendered and therefore it constitutes “employment.” This applies whether it is the NMSU host department or an outside organization who wishes to provide the scholar with some kind of payment or repayment.

Since payment or employment opportunities are very limited for scholars, extra care must be taken. To engage in such activities, Exchange Visitors are required to receive a permission letter from their Immigration sponsor (the International Student and Scholar Services at NMSU) before they do anything that might constitute employment.

  • This written pre-approval is necessary for the scholar to remain in good legal standing with Immigration. Not receiving prior written permission can result in serious consequences for the scholar and University, including termination of the scholar’s program (and possibly the loss of NMSU permission to host future Exchange Visitors)
  • The International Student and Scholar Services at NMSU is always glad to answer questions to help keep the scholar in good standing with immigration, but it is ultimately the EV’s responsibility to know and follow these laws.

Sponsors are required to provide their participants with information about the program and related matters before they leave their home countries for the United States. Sponsors must also provide their participants with specific program information and any contractual obligations relevant to their program category. For details, please refer to the regulations. [22 CFR 62.10 (b)(1-8) and specific regulations for categories of interest]

Sponsors must offer appropriate orientation for all participants and are encouraged to offer orientation to the participant's family (J-2 spouses and dependents), especially those expected to remain in the United States for at least one year. For details, please refer to the regulations. [22 CFR 62.10 (c)(1-7) and specific regulations for categories of interest]

The scholar will be invited to attend an orientation session with the ISSS Team after the scholar arrives. Please send an email to isss@nmsu.edu to schedule an orientation session. Please indicate J-1 Check-In and Orientation Request in the subject line.

Sponsors must require their participants to provide current contact (address and telephone number) information and to maintain this information in their files.