Notice to UCI Host Departments: Updates to J-1 Regulations

U.S. Department of State Regulatory Change for J-1 Exchange Visitors

In October 2014, the U.S. Department of State published significant changes to the J Exchange Visitor regulations with the intention of better protecting program participants. These changes at UCI will go into effect as of January 1, 2015. Below please find a summary of the changes that directly affect J-1 and J-2 visa holders and their host departments. For questions related to these new regulatory requirements, please contact the International Center.

New Insurance Coverage Amounts

Objective Measurement of English Language Proficiency

All J-1 Exchange Visitors that are issued a DS-2019 after January 1, 2015 must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency in one of three ways:

  1. A recognized English language test taken within the last 2 years
  2. Signed documentation, issued within the past six months, from an academic institution that offers English language training or from an English language school
  3. A documented interview conducted by the host PI/Faculty via video conference, in-person, or telephone

The IC has created a form for host departments to use in order to document how the Exchange Visitor has demonstrated English proficiency. Please see Inviting a J-1 Scholar to UCI for more details.

Information Given at the Time of Recruitment, Offer or Invitation

Sponsors must be sure to provide accurate J-1 program information and materials to prospective J-1 Exchange Visitors at the time of recruitment, offer or invitation (before the scholar enters into any agreement or pays non-refundable visa fees). Some of this informed will be given on IC forms (e.g. Form A), but certain other information must be included in the department offer/invitation letter to the scholar. The letter should include (but is not limited to), the following details, which can also be found here Inviting a J-1 Scholar to UCI:

  1. Academic appointment title
  2. Dates of the appointment
  3. Department administrative contact person and contact information
  4. Basic job duties
  5. Number of working hours as appropriate to the academic appointment type
  6. Wages and compensation (if none, please mention that no compensation will be offered)
  7. Insurance costs. Please mention whether or not the scholar will be offered health insurance benefits:
    • If UCI benefits, include a benefits guide, or employee cost chart, with offer letter and mention it as an enclosure or attachment to letter.
    • If no UCI benefits, you may include, for example: “You will be required to obtain health insurance benefits that meet the minimum requirements of the J-1 program. Costs and instructions for enrolling in the UC Irvine Visiting Scholar Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan can be found on the UCI International Center website at J-1 and J-2 Health Insurance Requirements
  8. Itemized list of all fees charged to scholar by department (if none, please mention that no fees will be charged to scholar)

The International Center is working hard to ensure smooth implementation of these and other new regulations for the J-1 Exchange Visitor program.


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