UCI International Center

Differences to Consider: J-1 vs. H-1B

Section 1

Items to ConsiderJ-1 Exchange VisitorH-1B Specialty Occupation
Purpose Educational & cultural exchange Temporary employment in a specialty occupation
Appointment Title Eligibility

See Academic Titles Eligible for Sponsorship

Most academic titles, with salary from UCI at a wage that meets the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage
Cost/Fee Responsibility Minimal fees to pursue J status; J-1 Exchange Visitor or Department is responsible for all fees Employer (UCI) is responsible for all fees except for H-4 dependents
Duration Up to 5 years in “Research Scholar” category; length is determined by J visitor category Up to 6 years; initial application is for no more than 3 years.
Processing Time Up to 2-3 months; IC processing time is 15 business days with a complete request. Up to 5-6 months; IC processing is 2-3 months with a complete request.
Status Requirements
  • Visa document is issued by sponsoring institution (UCI)
  • J-1 exchange visitor must participate in academic program objective and activities
  • J-1 exchange visitors must comply with Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations.
  • Mandatory health insurance requirements
  • May be subject to Two Year Home Country Physical Presence requirement.
  • 12 month/24 month bar may apply
  • Approval for H-1B status is required from USCIS
  • Requires certification from Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Changes in employment (i.e.: change in location, job duties, salary, etc.) require a new or amended petition.
  • Minimum B.A./B.S. degree or PhD for postdoctoral positions
  • Dual intention is permitted; H-1B may participate in employment and also have intentions to file immigrant visa application
Non-UCI Employment Allows occasional lectures, honoraria, short-term consultations as long as activity is related to program objective, and authorized by the IC. H-1B employee is only eligible to work for UCI. Occaisional speeches and lectures at other institutions may be possible, but no compensation is possible.
  • J-2 status for spouse and children under 21
  • May apply for work authorization (EAD)
  • J-2 earnings may not be used to financially support J-1
  • H-4 for spouse and children under 21
  • Work authorization is limited and only allowed when primary H-1B is in the process of obtaining permanent residency.
Transfers Transfers to another institution may be possible Change of employer requires filing of a new petition
Taxes in the U.S. J-1 Exchange Visitors may qualify for tax treaties and benefits H-1B are taxed fully on worldwide income
On-Site Requirement Must be fully in-person or predominantly in person. Limited to hybrid work that includes at least 3 days onsite with only 1-2 days remote.