International Affairs

J1 Exchange Visitor Program


The J-1 Exchange Visitor category was developed to implement the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act. Its purpose is to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries through education and cultural exchanges.

MTSU's Exchange Visitor Program provides opportunities for study, research, and teaching.


  • Degree Programs

Students in degree programs are permitted an overall limit of 18 months, which includes all academic training, whether before or after completion of studies. The total training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in the full course of study.

  • Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral training after completion of a U.S. degree the overall limit is 36 months. A new DS-2019 will be issued for the second 18 months.

  • Non-degree Program

Students in a prescribed course of study in a non-degree program, the total stay is limited to a maximum of 24 months, inclusive of all study time and any authorized academic training.

Health Insurance Requirements

You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and your J-2 dependents during the entire time you participate in an Exchange Visitor Program. Insurance coverage must meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of State or backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the Exchange Visitor's home country shall be deemed to meet the requirement.

Required coverage for students and dependents includes:

  • Medical benefits of at least 50,000 per accident or illness;
  • Repatriation in the amount of $7,500.00;
  • Medical Evacuation to the country of permanent residence in the amount of $10,000.00.

It is your responsibility to renew the insurance coverage for your dependent(s) during their stay. If you fail to maintain insurance coverage or misrepresent to the J-1 Program Sponsor will be considered in violation of the University Rules and will be subject to termination as an Exchange Visitor participant.  View the Health Insurance Statement

The Two-year Home Country Requirement

There are three grounds on which your status as an exchange visitor can become subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(e):

  • If your participation in an exchange program was financed, directly or indirectly by the United States government or a foreign government.
  • If the skills that you are develop or exercise while in the U.S. are in a field that the exchange visitor's "home" government considers to be in short supply, and thus has been included on the State Department skills list.
  • If you came to the United States to receive "graduate medical education or training."

If you fall into one of these groups, you are subject to the two-year home country requirement (212)(e), even if your source of funding or field of study changes. If the principal J-1 is subject to the two-year residence requirement, all dependents who enter the U.S. in J-2 status are subject to it as well.

Waiver of the Home Residence Requirement

If you are an exchange visitor, you may apply for a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement for the following five statutory bases:

  • A claim of Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child of an exchange visitor if the exchange visitor is required to return to the country of residence;
  • A claim that the participant will be persecuted due to race, religion, or political opinions if he/she returns to the country of residence;
  • A request from an interested US Government Agency on the participant's behalf;
  • A No Objection Statement from your government; and
  • A request by a designated State Health Department or its equivalent.

Please see the following for more information:

Academic Training

A J-1 student may participate in an academic training program during his or her studies, without wages or other remuneration, with the approval of the Academic Dean or Advisor and the Responsible Officer. A student may be authorized to participate in academic training programs for wages or other remuneration during his or her studies or commencing not later than thirty (30) days after completion of studies.

J-1 Academic Training is authorized by your J-1 program sponsor. To apply for Academic Training, you must know who represents your J-1 sponsor and issued your DS-2019 form. If Middle Tennessee State University is your sponsor, the advisers at IA will evaluate your application and authorize your Academic Training.

All academic training is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.

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