International Affairs

Exchange Visitors Program/J-1 Exchange Visitors

Middle Tennessee State University welcomes visiting scholars, also known as Exchange Visitors (EV), for stays of varying duration in order to conduct research, teach, and/or consult with faculty members at the university. Such visits are in keeping with the university's mission and goals, which express its aspiration "to combine the best qualities of teaching and research universities" and its commitment to "promote collaborative and innovative exchanges with other educational institutions." Visiting scholars from abroad may especially contribute to the internationalizing of a campus that sees itself as "a regional university with a global outlook."

Visiting foreign scholars and faculty are participants in the "Exchange Visitor Program" regulated and operated by the US. Department of State.

As a Program Sponsor, MTSU is authorized by the State Department to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program. A host of complex regulations limit the conditions and circumstances under which we can invite an Exchange Visitor and severely restrict the activities of the Exchange Visitor and dependents while in the United States. A visiting scholar may be invited as an EV in one of the following J-1 non-immigrant visa categories:

J-1 Visa Category

Intent/Main Activity Duration of Program
Professor         Teach/lecture in the EV's area of expertise minimum 3 weeks; maximum 5 years +
Research Scholar         Conduct research in the EV's area of expertise  minimum 3 weeks; maximum 5 years +
Short-Term Scholar         Engage in short-term activities related to the EV's area of expertise e.g. engage in research projects, guest lecture, conduct master classes, etc. minimum 1 day; maximum 6 months
(Note: NO extension is allowed; there are no exceptions)

Other visa eligibility requirements: 

  • An exchange visitor cannot be a candidate for tenure track position.
  • An exchange visitor cannot be hired as a graduate assistant while engaging in intended activity throughout his/her stay.
  • EV's in categories 1 and 2 are not eligible for repeat participation in the same category for a period of 2 years (24 months) after the end of the program.
  • Note: this rule does NOT apply to short-term scholars.

+ Although the maximum time is 5 years, it is our current practice to recommend initially one year with the possibility of extension. Evidence of financial support must reflect the entire duration of program at time of initial application.

For details on visa regulations, please consult the Office of International Admissions (PH 208), 615-898-2116.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Hosting a Visitor at MTSU

Exchange Visitor Application Packet  

  • Departments and faculty who wish to invite visiting faculty members from US institutions are asked to complete the exchange visitor packet as well)

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Information Links