Ball State has been warmly welcoming exchange visitors since 1951.

We provide visiting scholars with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences.

Hosting visiting professors and research scholars promotes mutual enrichment and connections between Ball State and other research and educational institutions around the world.

The exchange visitor program at Ball State provides visiting professors and research scholars the opportunity to engage in research, teaching, and lecturing with their American colleagues, to participate actively in cross-cultural activities with Americans, and ultimately to share with their countrymen their experiences and increased knowledge of the United States and their substantive fields.

Visiting scholars also help to diversify and enhance the quality of education at Ball State to the benefit of students, faculty, and staff.

Exchange visitors enter the United States on a J visa.

Categories of Exchange Visitors

Professor – You are engaged primarily in teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at Ball State.

Research scholar – Your primary purpose is to conduct research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project at Ball State. Your appointment to a position is temporary.

Short-term scholarYou are a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to Ball State on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills.

Maintaining J-1 Visa Status
International Student Services provides immigration counseling to Ball State's J-1 international scholars. We are experts in the rules and regulations for J-1 scholars. 

We advise our J-1 scholars, assisting them to maintain legal, lawful status while at Ball State and ensure they are able to qualify for the maximum number of benefits from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Update your home address no later than 10 days after moving.

Keep the International Student Services Office and USCIS informed of your current address and telephone number, and notify them within 10 days of any changes.

You must provide the address of where you live – not a P.O. Box or office address.

You must complete your research/teaching no later than the expected completion date on your DS-2019. That is your duration of status (d/s) date.

If you need more time to complete your research/teaching than is indicated on your DS-2019, your department must contact your international advisor to request an extension.


An international scholar holding a J-1 visa who is unable to meet the program completion date on the DS-2019 may be granted an extension if:

  • the scholar has continually maintained status

  • the department wishes to keep you longer in order to complete the research/teaching

You must apply for a program extension before your DS-2019 has expired.

Program extensions are approved on a case-by-case basis. If you are approved for an extension, an international advisor will issue you a new DS-2019 with an updated expected completion date.

United States government regulations and Ball State University policy require health insurance coverage for all visiting scholars and their family members who accompany them to the United States. Federally mandated health insurance requirements are as follows:

Sponsors shall require each exchange visitor to have insurance in effect which covers the exchange visitor and all accompanying dependents for sickness or accident during the entire period of time that an exchange visitor participates in the sponsor's exchange visitor program. Minimum coverage shall provide:

1) Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
2) Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
3) Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her own country in the amount of $50,000; and
4) A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

In addition, it needs to be a policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with the following:
1) an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above;
2) a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor's Claims Ability rating of "A-" or above;
3) a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of "B+" or above;
4) a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of "A-" or above;
5) a Moody's Investor Services rating of "A3" or above.

The exchange visitor may use the BSU student/scholar plan (contact the Rinker Center for more information), or may choose their own, provided it offers at least the same amount of coverage. If the BSU plan is desired, the visitor or department should go to:

Enter the group access code in the box to the right. The code is GWQ-18948. Then, follow the link to get the insurance. Proof of purchase and dates of coverage for scholar and each department should be printed out and included with the application.

You are required by the United States government to keep your passport valid at all times, and it must always be valid for at least six months into the future.

The procedures for renewing a passport vary from country to country. For correct information, please contact your embassy or consulate in the United States.

The application process can be a lengthy one, so please give yourself plenty of time to receive your passport before you need to travel outside of the United States.

If you wish to travel outside of the U.S. and then return and your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new J-1 entry visa at an U.S. embassy or consulate general. Scholars will need to present the following documents to the visa officer:

  • a valid passport (valid at least six months into the future)
  • a properly endorsed valid DS-2019, signed by an international advisor at ISS
  • any previously issued I-797 approval notices for change of status.
  • documents verifying the financial resources that appear on your DS-2019 (for example, a letter of financial aid, bank statement, letter verifying employment)
The specific embassy or consulate where you apply for your U.S. entry visa may require additional documentation. It is advisable to contact the embassy or consulate prior to your interview to obtain a full list of required documents.


J-2 dependents must also show proof of relationship to the J-1 principal (birth or marriage certificate). The documents, procedures, and processing time required to obtain a visa can vary from post to post.


Both J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents must have the following documents to re-enter the United States:

  • passports that are valid for six months beyond entry date to the United States
  • valid J-1 or J-2 visas
  • properly endorsed and valid DS-2019
  • documents proving your funds as listed on the DS-2019


Leave your current DS-2019 with the receptionist at the Rinker Center for International Programs two weeks prior to your date of travel. You will receive an email when your DS-2019 has been signed and is ready for pickup at the Rinker Center.

J-2 dependents are defined as a spouse or an unmarried minor child (under 21 years of age) of a J-1 scholar.

Immediate family (spouse, minor children) of a J-1 scholar:

  • may enter the United States with or after the J-1 nonimmigrant, but never before
  • may be employed (see employment for J-2 dependents) [anchor link to page 2.3.1 – J Visa Employment tab]
  • must have a DS-2019 signed when they travel outside the United States, separately from the J-1 student
  • may be admitted as a full-time degree-seeking student
  • may remain in the United States if the J-1 is absent from the United States for a short period of time

J-1 visa holders may invite a spouse or unmarried children to join them after arriving at Ball State by the following method:

  1. Complete the Dependent Request Form Form.
  2. Provide evidence of financial support (bank statement, sponsor letter, etc.) for the dependents: $5,500 for spouse and $2,460 for each child.
  3. Make an appointment with an international student advisor after obtaining proof of financial resources.

International Student Services will prepare a dependent DS-2019 for your dependents who can then use that DS-2019 to apply for a J-2 dependent visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

The following items must also accompany the visa application:

  • original or certified copy (attested true copy) of a marriage certificate (for spouse)
  • birth certificate (for each child)
  • financial documentation

When your dependents on a J-2 visa arrive in the United States, you, the J-1 visa holder, they must report to the Rinker Center for International Programs with their passport and DS-2019 for registration.

If your J-2 dependents are children between the ages of 5 and 18, they will need to attend school. To do this, they will need health records (in English) to present to the school officials.

Many, but not all, J-1 Exchange Visitors are subject to the "Two-Year Rule." Those that are subject to the rule must either be present in their home country for a total of two years, or obtain a State Department waiver of the Two-Year Rule before becoming eligible for:

  • H (Temporary Worker or dependent) and L (Intracompany Transferee or dependent) visas.
  • Change of Status applications (except to visa classifications A & G).
  • Adjustments to U.S. Permanent Resident ("green card") status.

The Two-Year Rule does not force individuals to return home; it limits options for U.S. immigration benefits for those who do not. It does not prohibit applications for other non-immigrant visas, provided all other eligibility criteria are met. J-2 dependents of those who are subject to the Two-Year Rule are also subject.

You are subject if you at least one of the following applies to you:

  • Your J-1 participation is funded in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange, by your home government or the United States government.
  • Your field of work appears on your country’s “Exchange Visitor Skills List.”
  • You participated as a J-1 exchange visitor in a graduate-medical education or training program. For example, a residency, internship, or fellowships, sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
  • You are the J-2 dependent of an exchange visitor who is subject to the requirement.

If you have ever been subject to the two-year home residency requirement in the past and have neither acquired a waiver nor satisfied the requirement by spending two years in your home country, these guidelines still applies to you – even if a great deal of time has passed and a more recent DS-2019 form indicates that you are not subject to the requirement.

[Breakout]: This means that your field is considered to be in high demand in your home country and important for its future development. The U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply for your visa should be able to tell you if the Exchange Visitor Skills List applies to you; several countries do not appear on the list at all. Other countries, such as China and India, are on the list, and numerous fields of work are considered to be in short supply for those countries.

You may not:

  • change your status inside the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant classification except for A or G
  • change your status from J-1 to J-2 status or from J-2 to J-1
  • change to a permanent resident (obtain a green card)
  • acquire an H, L, or immigrant visa abroad

If you are subject to this requirement, you may leave the U.S. and enter in a new nonimmigrant status such as F-1, B-1, J-1, or O-1.

There are five grounds for obtaining a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement.

If you would like to apply for a waiver, pay particular attention to the timing of your request. After attaining either a waiver recommendation from the U.S. State Department or a final waiver decision from USCIS, you are no longer eligible to extend your J-1 status or transfer to another J-1 program.

You should discuss your plans with an international advisor before applying for a waiver.


1. A “no-objection” statement (not permitted for medical trainees) – Your country’s embassy in Washington can specify in a direct letter to the State Department that it has no objection to your obtaining a waiver, or the foreign ministry in your home country can write to the U.S. embassy there. A “no-objection” statement will not guarantee a waiver if the exchange visitor has received funding from the U.S. government.

2. Interest of a U.S. government agency – If you are working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. federal government agency, and that agency has determined that your continued stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, a waiver may be issued if your continued stay in the United States is deemed to be in the public interest.

3. Fear of persecution – If you can prove that because of your race, religion, political opinions, or nationality you would face persecution by your home government if you returned to your country, you could possibly qualify for a waiver by applying to USCIS.

4. Exceptional hardship – If it is possible to demonstrate that exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child would be caused by your departure from the U.S. and residence abroad, you can apply for a waiver to USCIS

5. Request by a designated State Department of Public Health – Only medical doctors may apply for a waiver on this basis. 

Individuals who have spent six months or more in the United Stated in most J statuses must wait 12 months from the end of their J program before beginning a new program as a J-1 Professor/Researcher. 

Professors/Researchers (regardless of length of time) and their dependents (over 6 months) are not allowed to return to the U.S. on a Professor/Research Scholar for 24 months, once they leave the U.S.