Professor and Research Scholars must:

  • Not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
  • Not have participated in and completed a professor or research scholar program within the last 24 months preceding the beginning date of their new program’s commencement;
  • Not have participated in a J-Visa program for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of a professor or research scholar program unless they meet one of the following exceptions:
    • The participant is currently in a professor or research scholar program and is transferring to another institution in the United States to continue their current J-1 program;
    • The participant’s prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J-visa program was less than six months in duration; and
    • The prior participation was as a short-term scholar.


Educational enrichment: Scholars facilitate the exchange of ideas and research in a variety of fields between people of the United States and people of other countries.

More information


The professor category is for a foreign national who enters the United State for the primary purpose of teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at accredited post-secondary academic institutions, museums, libraries or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsoring organization.

Research Scholar

This category is for a foreign national who enters the United States for the primary purpose of conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. A research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

The research scholar or professor’s appointment to a position shall be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent.

Incidental lectures or short-term consultations are permitted with the approval of the responsible officer so long as they are directly related to the objectives of the participant’s program, and do not delay the exchange program’s completion date.

Program Sponsors

Sponsors are required to:

  • Screen and select qualified foreign nationals to further education, research and exchange initiatives;
  • Monitor the visitor’s stay in the United States, ensure that they are progressing in the work being performed or the research being conducted; and
  • Ensure that they are involved in cross-cultural programs where they can learn about the United States and its people.

Sponsors must ensure the following for participants:

Language Proficiency: Verify that participants have the education and credentials necessary to carry out the activity for which they are entering the United States and that they have sufficient proficiency in the English language to function in an English-speaking environment.