J Exchange Visitor Program Overview:
The J Exchange Visitor category was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. The overall purpose of that Act, and the objective of the Exchange Visitor category, is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Georgia Institute of Technology is authorized to sponsor individuals with the primary purpose of participating in an educational and cultural exchange and who will participate in academic or scholarly activities. We sponsor J Exchange Visitors under student (student bachelors, masters, doctorate and non-degree student) or scholar categories (student intern, short term scholar, research scholar, professor and specialist).
Any individual who will enroll in classes on the Georgia Tech campus must complete the undergraduate admissions or graduate admissions process to be admitted to Georgia Tech as a student. More information about the student I-20 or DS-2019 request process can be found here.
Individuals who will not enroll in classes but will be hosted in an academic department at Georgia Tech to complete a research program or similar approved academic activity will often be suited for participation in the J Exchange Visitor Program with sponsorship from Georgia Tech.
Before beginning any paperwork in iStart to request Georgia Tech sponsorship, the host academic department should obtain as much detail as possible about the primary purpose of the visit, the length of the visit, the funding source for the visit as well biographical detail about the visitor. An HR administrator in each unit must have access to iStart to submit a request to hire or host a foreign national.
I am a GT Department Manager and am unsure what is the appropriate visa for a visitor, what do I do?
Both the Office of International Education and the Office of Global Human Resources support non-U.S. Citizen GT affiliates and employees with immigration and visas.
The Office of International Education administers the J Exchange Visitor Program and the J scholar and J student categories available at Georgia Tech. Please refer to the J Student and J Scholar category options for more detail about the J Exchange Visitor Program and available J categories. Also refer to the J Student Intern decision tree to identify if the Student Intern category is appropriate for your visitor. The OIE also supports Georgia Tech students who enroll FT in a degree program using the F student visa type. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if your question is not answered in the information provided on this page.
Global Human Resources supports immigration services for nonimmigrant or immigrant employment sponsorship and individuals with work authorization based on their visa status (including employees in F-1 status with OPT or CPT, J-2s with employment authorization, etc). Additionally, Global HR provides assistance to departments hosting foreign national visitors (generally in B-1 or VWB status). For additional information see visit the Global HR website or email email@example.com.
The OIE and GHR have worked together to create a Visa Type Questionnaire e-form in iStart to provide administrators a way to inform us of the plans for an individual's visit to Georgia Tech. Completing the Visa Type Questionnaire will allow us to offer additional guidance about the visa options available.
To identify the appropriate visa type and begin a request in iStart, hiring managers must identify the answers to the following:
- What is the primary purpose of the individual's visit to Georgia Tech?
- Will Georgia Tech benefit from the individual's visit, is the benefit to the individual visitor or will both benefit from their activities/visit?
- Are there secondary activities that the individual would like to do during their stay? If yes, what are they?
- What is the amount and source of financial support for the activities the scholar will conduct? Specifically, is the person going to receive compensation of any sort from Georgia Tech? If not, how will they fund their stay in the U.S. understanding that a minimum monthly standard is set by Georgia Tech that must be demonstrated as a part of visa sponsorship.
- What are the anticipated dates the individual will participate in the activity under the supervision of a faculty member at Georgia Tech? Is there a reasonable likelihood the individual may need more time to complete their primary activity?
- What are potential future plans of both the individual and the hiring department with regard to the research collaboration?
Based on the answers to the questions above in the Visa Type Questionnaire e-form the OIE and GHR will assist the department to identify the available visa options.
Please refer to the following additional documents to support foreign national hiring and hosting:
The Office of Global Human Resources supports immigration services for employment sponsorship and guidance for B1 and VWP Business Visitors. The Office of Global Human Resources provides non-immigrant status options information to assist with identifying the appropriate visa options.
How do I request a DS-2019 for someone who will not be enrolled as a student at GT?
Requests for the form DS-2019 for an individual to participate in full-time research, teaching, student internship or other similar academic activity come to the Office of International Education through the HR administrator who is responsible for assisting academic departments with these matters.
Prospective scholars wishing to visit Georgia Tech as a J Exchange Visitor, must first identify a faculty sponsor within a specific academic school or college with similar research interest. The faculty sponsor will be responsible for notifying the academic department hiring manager to begin the process to request the DS-2019 for the appropriate J-1 program on the Exchange Visitor's behalf.
The HR administrator will gather the information that the OIE needs to identify the program is suitable to the exchange visitor's background, needs, and experiences. In addition, the host department must identify that sufficient funding exists to support the Exchange Visitor and that exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in his or her program and function independently in the community. Prospective scholars will be eligible for a DS-2019 from Georgia Tech only after documenting a High Beginner or greater proficiency in the English language based on the GT Language Proficiency rubric. Student Interns must have a minimum of intermediate English language proficiency.
Once the sponsoring department has screened a prospective visitor the Department Administrator can initiate immigration paperwork for the prospective Exchange Visitor using iStart and the Initial J Scholar DS-2019 request. A Department Administrator who will complete the DS-2019 request process will need Department Services Access in iStart. iStart access can be obtained by first viewing the iStart Hiring Department User tutorial then completing an access request which includes a post tutorial quiz.
I am a GT faculty member and would like to invite a scholar to GT as a J-1 visa holder, what do I do?
There is a contact within each academic program at Georgia Tech that is trained to make requests to OIE for J-1 Scholars and J Student Interns through iStart. Please contact the Administrator in your program and they will help you or contact the OIE by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What is iStart?
iStart is a comprehensive data system for case management and compliance with SEVIS issues. It is the portal for F and J visa holders and HR department administrators at Georgia Tech to make requests to the OIE related to immigration records. HR administrators in each department will use iStart create the Eligibility of Certificate for the J-1 called a DS-2019. It is also the system used for case management once the J-1 is in the US. Department administrators who needs access to iStart should visit the iStart administrator access tutorial.
I am from an academic program and I need access to iStart in order to request a DS-2019 for an incoming J-1 scholar, what do I do?
Human Resources Managers within the academic units have participated in training to use iStart and can assist you. Please contact the Human Resources Manager for your department and they will help you or refer you to the right person in your program with access to iStart that can help you.
I have been trained in iStart and am having technical difficulties, what do I do?
Please contact log into iStart and submit the iStart issue e-form to report the issue. If you are unable to log into iStart than you can reach the Office of International Education at 404-894-7475 or email@example.com and briefly describe the problem that you are having.
J Student Intern Request Process
J Exchange Visitor Program
The J Exchange Visitor category was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. The overall purpose of that Act, and the objective of the Exchange Visitor category, is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Georgia Institute of Technology is authorized to sponsor individuals with the primary purpose of participating in an educational and cultural exchange and who will participate in academic or scholarly activities.
Student Intern Overview
Internship programs are offered to graduate students and undergraduate students whose U.S. internship/practical field experience will fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution. Internship programs provide unique opportunities for interns to gain practical experience while conducting research in their academic field. The Intern program is a structured work-based learning program that:
- Reinforces an intern's academic study
- Exposes the intern to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise and expands their knowledge and skills
- Enhances the intern's knowledge of American culture and society.
Student Intern Eligibility Requirements include;
- Must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States
- U.S. internship must fulfill the educational objectives for current degree program at the home institution
- Must have English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship.
- Verified through a sponsor-conducted interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an English language school.
- Must be primarily in the United States to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer
- Must be accepted into a student internship program at the postsecondary accredited academic institution listed on the Form DS-2019
- Must be "in good academic standing" at the home institution outside the United States
- Must return to the academic program outside the United States and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the student internship program
- Must have sufficient finances to support himself or herself and any accompanying dependents for their entire stay in the United States, including housing and living expenses (not subject to student funding source restrictions)
- The internship must be full-time; minimum of 32 hours per week.
- Student interns may participate for "up to 12 months for each degree/major." Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.
Requesting a J-1 Student Intern at Georgia Tech
- International student will identify a full time GT faculty sponsor (adjunct faculty not eligible) to supervise their internship at GT. The faculty sponsor will identify the program is suitable to the exchange visitor's background, needs, and experience; and exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in his or her program and function independently in the community.
- Faculty sponsor will work with their designated HR representative to submit a request for J-1 Student Intern Request under the Department Services forms at iStart.gatech.edu.
- J Intern Application forms (applicant and sponsoring department) will include information necessary to determine the eligibility of the foreign student, the conditions and suitability of the program, financial support from the department or personal funds, and other details needed to properly issue the DS-2019.
- The Office of International Education will create the DS-2019 and DS-7002 which will be signed by the OIE (RO or ARO) will be distributed to the GT academic sponsor (HR admin.), the home institution administrator/faculty and the International student Intern.
If you have questions or would like to discuss the J student intern category please email J1intern@oie.gatech.edu
J Student Intern FAQs
Why is OIE implementing the J Student Intern category?
The J-1 Student Intern category ensures Georgia Tech is in compliance with the Department of State Exchange Program regulations and offers faculty and prospective applicants an appropriate visa option when the purpose of coming to Georgia Tech is to participate in practical research/internship experience. Introducing the J Student Intern category will ensure the OIE can provide structure and appropriate support for the unique needs of the student intern. The OIE is not interested in making the process more cumbersome for faculty supervisors but we are responsible for ensuring the Institute is in compliance with immigration and Department of State regulations and the switch in the use of J visa categories is ensuring we are in compliance.
Does OIE have any Student Intern training materials I can review or share with others in my department?
Yes, OIE has a presentation that goes through the J-1 Student Intern Request Process. You can use this presentation to review Intern eligibility, understand e-form processing and review department responsibilities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this presentation.
When should a department request a J Student Intern instead of a J Scholar DS-2019?
The hiring manager should obtain considerable detail from the supervising faculty about the purpose of the visit to Georgia Tech, the academic level of the student and indication if the activities the student will participate in during their J program are “a degree requirement for practical field experience or fulfill educational objectives for the intern's degree program at his or her home institution.” If program meets the criteria above, then the J Student Intern category should be requested. If the research is not tied to an academic requirement then a scholar category should be requested. Hiring Managers should refer to the J category options document if in doubt and involve the OIE with any questions prior to initiating a J Application in iStart. We have also created a visual to assist in determinating catagories for your Exchange Visitor; Determining between Intern & Scholar
Why does the J Student Intern request ask for such detailed questions about the work the intern will do and their English language proficiency?
The additional detail related to the program objectives and the English language proficiency is being requested in the J Student Intern request forms to ensure the OIE follows Department of State the regulations and we are adequately able to determine eligibility for the J student intern visa category as well as capable of issuing the DS-7002 Internship Placement Plan with the DS-2019 immigration form. Sponsoring departments can refer to the English language proficiency rubric to help identify the language proficiency of a prospective Student Intern.
What is the DS-7002?
The DS-7002 in the Internship Placement Plan and is a requirement for all J-1 Student Interns at the visa interview. This form will replace the GT Template Placement Agreement and should be used to satisfy institutions abroad and the J visa interview.
Who completes the DS-7002?
OIE uses the Eform submissions to complete the DS-7002 for the departments. We will sign it and attach it to the DS-2019. The department manager or supervisor will sign it and mail it to the student who will complete it with their signature.
What happens if a student intern’s English language proficiency as demonstrated by TOEFL or IELTS test scores does not meet the minimum standards or the student has not taken one of the selected language proficiency exams?
Student interns are required to demonstrate an Intermediate Level of English Proficiency, as detailed in the English language proficiency rubric. The sponsoring faculty member and department are able to select their preferred mode of verifying English language proficiency from three options including: an assessment based on a sponsor conducted interview, language proficiency test score or a letter from an accredited language program. Ultimately the sponsoring faculty member is responsible for identifying that the prospective student intern has the English language skills needed to successfully complete the internship and function in an English speaking environment while at Georgia Tech. J Interns are not eligible to enroll in Georgia Tech academic classes during their internship program. The English Language Institute will continue to make English classes accessible to the J Exchange Visitors.
Does the 51% sponsored funding rule stay in place for interns? Can a student intern fund as much or as little of their own internship program, as long as they meet the minimum $1800 per month and can provide documentation?
Interns can be self-funded or fully sponsored by the department, the 51% substantial funding rule does not apply.
Why is there a J Student Intern Participation fee? How will the fee be used?
The J Student Intern category regulations are complex and require a level of management and review at a level above other student or scholar categories. The OIE will provide the student intern additional support throughout their program that is not provided to scholars in addition to access to cultural and educational programs offered by OIE necessary to fulfill the exchange program objectives. The additional costs to administer the J Student Intern program and remain in compliance with federal Department of State laws will be recuperated in the participation fee.
How much is the J Student Intern Participation fee?
The fee to participate in the J-1 student intern program is $325.
When and how is the $325 fee paid?
The fee can either be paid by the sponsoring department with a journal entry or by the Student Intern on-line via Marketplace by the student or the department using a journal transfer after they have received their J-1 Student Intern visa. The fee must be paid within two weeks from the DS-2019 start date. OIE will not validate the SEVIS record until payment has been made.
Can a J Student Intern apply for GT admission and complete coursework during their Internship?
No, J Student Interns are not Georgia Tech students and are classified as affiliate Visiting Research Students. They are not eligible to enroll in any Georgia Tech classes and are expected to return to their home institution upon completion of their internship program.
Can the J Student Intern return to GT as a student at a later date?
Yes, after returning to the home institution to complete coursework, a former intern can apply and receive admission to pursue a GT degree. A student intern cannot remain in the U.S. after their internship and subsequently enroll in a GT degree program. A new immigration form for appropriate for a degree seeking student and a student visa will be needed to change visa type prior to enrollment in classes.
What form of TOEFL and IELTS score reports will you accept?
The TOEFL score report is sent to a student in a pdf. We will expect to have a pdf of the score report if the student will fulfill the English language proficiency requirement with a test score. If we learn there are new ways to share a TOEFL or IELTS score report we will update the FAQ.
Will the visitors be allowed to audit classes if the course instructor allows it?
No, auditing is not recognized by the Institute and therefore not an activity that EV's should be participating in.
What does the required J Student Intern evaluation process look like?
The department hiring manager will receive email reminders from the OIE regarding the required evaluation (final evaluation and 6 month evaluation when the internship program is longer than 6 months). The evaluation form will be an Eform in iStart initiated by the Hiring Manager who will identify the person to complete the evaluation questions. The questions may include:
1. Did the Intern meet the Internship objectives
2. Describe the Intern's relationship with Colleagues
3. What accomplishments and skills the intern achieve/learn during the Internship program?
4. What areas can the Intern improve upon?
5. Rate the Intern on Attitude, Dependability, Quality of work, Judgment.
Can departments use standardized language for the internship placement plan?
We suggest you have a standard template format for answering the T/IPP questions but we will need specific details pertaining to an individual student and their unique internship plan.