J-1 Visiting Scholar Application Process

The host department must initiate the process for bringing a J-1 Exchange Visitor to campus.  The incoming J-1 and the host department each have a separate portals to complete; both portal submissions must be submitted to the International Office by the Host Department for review.

Follow the information and links below to initiate the J-1 Exchange Visitor Application. 

Timeline and Process Overview

It can take several weeks for all parties to review, sign and submit the required paperwork. The International Office suggests that departments initiate the J-1 Exchange Visitor Application 2-4 months in advance of the visitor’s desired arrival. An average process timeline includes:

  • Weeks 1-3: Gathering of all documents, completion of forms with signatures and supporting documentation
  • Weeks 4-5: Review by the International Office, Dean’s office, and Office of Research Administration
  • Weeks 6-7: Mailing of original form DS-2019 to the prospective exchange visitor abroad
  • Weeks 8-16: Exchange visitor application at the U.S. embassy nearest them

All host departments should send the application directly to Ashley Koerner in the International Office. A preliminary review of the application will be conducted prior to sending the application to the Office of the Provost for review. The preliminary review aims to catch any missing documentation or identify possible difficulties/delays early in the process.

After the review, the International Office will send the application to the Office of the Provost for approval. The Office of the Provost will then send the application to the Office of Research Administration (ORA) for a securities check and final approval. Once completed, ORA will then return the complete application to the International Office for the issuance of the form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility. 

The host department will be notified when the DS-2019 is available for pick-up. The host department must then ship the original form DS-2019 to the scholar. You are encouraged to verify with the exchange visitor the preferred method of shipping for their specific region and city.

Electronic transmission is prohibited by the Department of State and the scholar will be required to present the original form to the U.S. embassy abroad when applying for the U.S. J-1 visa. Some exchange visitors may be subject to advanced administrative processing by the U.S. embassy. In the event this occurs, please notify the International Office. 

Grace Period and Entry to the United States

All J-1 exchange visitors are permitted to enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the formal start date on the DS-2019. Exchange visitors should be on campus no later than the formal start date listed on the DS-2019 to ensure the research program begins on time and all on-boarding activities are completed in a timely fashion. 

Exchange visitors who cannot arrive before or on the formal start date must inform the International Office and their departments. The International Office can, in certain instances, accommodate a late arrival. 

Funding Requirements

All J-1 Exchange Visitors must provide sufficient documentation of adequate financial resources for the duration of their stay at CSM.  Adequate financial resources are:

  • Minimum $3,000 USD per month for the J-1 exchange visitor
  • $600 USD for a spouse
  • $300 USD for each child

J-1 exchange visitor’s can receive their funding from Mines, outside organizations, companies or home governments, or they can use personal or family funds. All documentation must be in English, or be accompanied by an official English translation.  Official copies are not required but any document submitted to ISSS must be clear and legible.

It is the host department’s responsibility to discuss with the visitor what source of funding the J-1 will utilize.  The source must be reported on the Department’s J-1 Request form.  You must discuss the source of funding with the incoming J-1 and ensure that documentation of that funding is provided with the application.

Guidelines of documentation from different sources

Mines funding:  The formal Mines HR offer letter or departmental letter of invitation indicating the funding being made available to the scholar and the dates of the funding availability must be included.

Home Government Funds or Other Organization Funds:  A letter from the organization or government, signed, dated and on letterhead, that clearly states how much money the J-1 exchange visitor will receive per month or year, and a statement confirming the money will be available for the duration of the J-1’s time at Mines. The letter cannot be more than three months old. Funds can be listed in USD or in the home country’s currency as long as the currency is clearly indicated.

Personal/Family Funds: Bank statement (in English) no more than three months old that has the applicant’s name on it. Funds can be listed in USD or in the home country’s currency as long as the currency is clearly indicated.

An official letter from a financial institution is also acceptable with the exchange visitor’s name, date, signature or stamp from the bank, and a confirmation that the account holder has sufficient funds to meet the minimum financial requirements of the J-1 program. Specific amounts must be provided in the letter. The letter cannot be more than three months old.

If the funding will be provided by a personal sponsor, such as a spouse, the funding documentation must include a letter or statement from the sponsor’s bank as outlined above AND a letter from the personal sponsor similar to the letter from a company. The letter from the personal sponsor must be signed and notarized.

Insurance Requirements
  • All J-1 Exchange Visitors, and their spouses and children who are in the US as J-2 dependents, must maintain health insurance for the duration of their stay in the US. The U.S. Department of State has issued strict requirements for J-1 and J-2 insurance policies to meet.  These requirements are noted below:
    • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Coverage for repatriation of remains in the amount of at least $25,000
    • Coverage for expenses related to emergency medical evacuation of the J-1 or J-2 to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

    All accident and insurance policies providing coverage between your program start date and end date must also meet one of the following options:

    1. Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A−” or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A−” or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B + ” or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A−” or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify
    2. Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country
    3. Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor
    4. Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization or eligible Competitive Medical Plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    The J-1 exchange visitor is responsible for obtaining an insurance policy that meets these requirements prior to beginning their J-1 program activities.  Visitors in J-1 and/or J-2 status are strongly encouraged to enter the US with the appropriate insurance.  Failure to comply with this insurance requirement could result in the loss of legal immigration status. The policy must be maintained for the duration of the J-1 program (start date to end date). If a J-1 extends his/her program beyond the initial program end date, they are required to extend the insurance policy for themselves and any spouses or children, if applicable.

    J-1 exchange visitors with paid Mines appointments may be eligible for employee insurance. Contact the Human Resources department about your eligibility.

    J-1 exchange visitors with unpaid Mines appointments are not eligible for any insurance benefits offered by Colorado School of Mines. J-1 exchange visitors participating on unpaid appointments will be required to purchase a policy that provides the minimum benefits listed above for themselves and any J-2 family members. Several options are listed below.

    J-1 exchange visitors are not required to have policies that adhere to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unless they have been in the US for 5 or more consecutive years.  This would generally apply to those who have obtained a Change of Status to J-1 after having a previous status for several years.

    Options for J-1 insurance

    There are a number of insurance companies available which offer sufficient coverage for incoming scholars.The Colorado School of Mines has an active agreement with CISI to ensure a fair rate for scholars and students of Mines. You can access this plan here:

    Additional websites are listed below if you wish to compare costs with other providers who offer policies meeting the requirements for J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors.  Please note, none of these policies are endorsed by Colorado School of Mines; however, the policies do meet the requirements.

English Proficiency

All J-1 scholars are required to demonstrate sufficient English ability to be successful in their research program with the Colorado School of Mines. Proficiency goes beyond the technical language necessary for the research. It is important that you can communicate outside of the lab while in the United States for day-to-day activities like grocery shopping, transactions, asking directions, and meeting new friends and colleagues. In addition, you need to have sufficient English to communicate with emergency personnel, doctors, or other authority figures in emergencies, if one were to happen.

Part of your application for the DS-2019 includes providing evidence of English proficiency. English proficiency can be demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Being a native English speaker and citizen from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Botswana, Canada, Commonwealth Caribbean, Ghana, Great Britain, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Mariana Islands, Philippines, Samoa, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, OR
  • Copy of a diploma from a U.S. institution or foreign institution where instruction occurred in English, and, if applicable, documentation that the instruction occurred in English.
  • Recognized English language test (IELTS, TOEFL), OR
    • IELTS Minimum Scores: Minimum overall band of 6.5, with no individual band below 6.0.
    • TOEFL (iBT) Minimum Scores: Minimum overall of 79 with no individual band below the following:
      • Reading: 20
      • Listening: 21
      • Writing: 17
      • Speaking: 21
  • Documented interview conducted in-person, via video-conference, or telephone. Documentation includes a letter or memo on departmental letterhead and includes the following:
    • Date and method of the interview
    • Name and title of the person conducting the interview
    • Name and current position of the prospective J-1 Scholar
    • An assessment of whether the prospective exchange visitor is proficient in verbal English sufficient to participate in the J program activities proposed at the Colorado School of Mines.
Host Department Application Process

To apply for a J-1 Short-Term or Research Scholar DS-2019 form:

  1. Using PageUp in Trailhead, submit the details of your remunerated or non-remunerated offer for approval. This includes a requisition and offer card. Once the approval process reaches the end and all approvals have been obtained, Academic Affairs will issue the official letter of invitation. Letters written by the PI or department will not be accepted as part of the initial application.
    • ISSS is included as an approver and will use the information in PageUp to support the creation of the DS-2019, if eligible.
    • Please upload the following to the PageUp requisition:
      • The scholar’s resume or CV
      • The Export Controls Questionnaire
        • For specific questions on this form, contact Export Controls at exportcontrols@mines.edu.
    • Guides for creating the offer card and requisition are available on the Human Resources website under “Hiring Manager Resources.”
  2. After the scholar submits all required supporting documentation, if the applicant is fully eligible, an original form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility will be issued and the department will be notified when they may pick it up.
    • This original form and all informative documentation provided by the International Office must be physically mailed to the applicant so they may apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy abroad. Electronic transmission of the document is prohibited by the U.S. Department of State.
    • You will be provided with the preferred shipping address and carrier when the DS-2019 is made available.

The International Office is here to support both the host department and international visitor during the visa application, research program and after. Please never hesitate to contact Ashley Koerner with questions.

Prospective Scholar Application Process

If you have been offered a visiting scholar position at the Colorado School of Mines, please review the below process: 

  1. Once a DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility has been requested for you, you will receive an email invitation sent to the email on your CV or resume. This will come from ISSS and will provide a unique link to log in to your Colorado School of Mines Scholar Account.
  2. Access the account and reset your password.
  3. Review all learning content and complete all fields of your profile. This information is used to complete your DS-2019.
  4. Upload all required documentation to the module. Documentation includes:
    • A copy of your passport biographic page
    • A copy of any prior U.S. visas
    • A copy of any prior J-1 DS-2019 forms issued in the last five years
    • Funding support (if not funded by Mines)
    • Complete resume or CV
    • Evidence of English Proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or departmental memo documenting your interview)
    • Copies of passport biographic pages for dependents, if any
  5. If you are fully eligible, a DS-2019 will be issued by ISSS and your host department will mail it to you. 
  6. After you receive form DS-2019, you must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee; this fee is required of all J-1 visitors coming to the US. You will not be able to get a visa without paying the fee. You can read more about the SEVIS fee below.
  7. Complete the form DS-160 to register for your U.S. embassy appointment.
  8. Make an appointment with your nearest US embassy or consulate for an interview to get a J-1 visa for entry into the US.  Read about getting a J-1 visa below.
Step-By-Step Visa Application Instructions

All J-1 exchange visitors must have a formal paid appointment at Mines or an invitation to conduct unpaid research at Mines. After receiving the form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility, you may then apply for the J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy abroad. To apply for a J-1 visa, generally you are required to complete the following: 

  • Once you receive the DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility, review the document to ensure all information is accurate
  • If the DS-2019 is fully accurate, complete your SEVIS I-901 fee payment
  • Complete the form DS-160
  • Schedule your U.S. embassy appointment
  • Review the website for the U.S. embassy where you will apply for the J-1 visa
    • The U.S. embassy website will have the necessary information about required documentation for the interview
  • Prepare for your visa interview
    • Arrive a minimum of 20 minutes early to get through security
    • Do not bring electronics with you to the appointment
    • Carry all required documents
    • Answer all questions asked by the consular official with succinct and truthful responses
    • Be polite and patient
  • Notify the International Student and Scholar Services office about the outcome of your visa appointment
    • You will be told at the end of the appointment how your visa will be processed

Paying the SEVIS I-901 FEE

All J-1 visitors are required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee goes towards the maintenance of your J-1 SEVIS record throughout your program in the United States. SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is the database that monitors your J-1 program and provides information to other government agencies as needed.

After you pay the fee, print out the receipt and bring it to the interview at the consulate with you. 

Obtaining the J-1 Visa

All international visitors, except citizens of Canada and Bermuda, are required to obtain a U.S. visa for entry into the US. J-1 exchange visitors must get a J-1 visa for the specific sub-category of their program (i.e. Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Professor).  If you have a different visa in your passport (i.e. F-1, B-1/B-2, etc.), you cannot use it to begin a J-1 program.  Entering into the US with a J-1 visa classifies you as a J-1 exchange visitor. 

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda can enter the U.S. without a visa, however you must be sure that your passport is stamped J-1 as you enter the US.

See the following websites below:

  1. Department of State website – Read about the process for getting a J-1 visa.
  2. The Consular Electronic Application Center website – You can complete your DS-160 application at this website.

Change of Status to J-1 (only for those currently in the U.S.)

If you are already in the U.S. in a different visa status and wish to change status to J-1, you can use the form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  Applying for change of status to J-1, via an application with the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) will allow you to stay in the U.S., however it is often faster to depart the United States and apply at a U.S. embassy abroad for the new J-1 visa. 

Please note that changing status using the I-539 form takes several months. If you are changing status to J-1, you will not be eligible to begin your J-1 activities until the Change of Status is approved.

Arrival to Mines

The J-1 scholar program permits an exchange visitor with a valid DS-2019 and J-1 visa two 30-day grace periods before and after the research program ends.

An exchange visitor is eligible to arrive to the United States up to 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on the DS-2019. Scholars are encouraged to arrive 1-2 weeks before the start date to get acclimated, find a place to live, complete on-boarding documentation, and work through jet-lag.

Scholars are able to remain in the United States for up to 30 days after the Program End Date listed on their DS-2019. The grace period is solely for the purposes of tourism – scholars may not continue additional research into the grace period time. This time is intended to allow scholars to pack up your affairs, visit other places within the United States, and depart the country.

If a scholar departs the U.S. prior to the end of the 30 days, the J-1 status and grace period will be complete and scholars will not be able to re-enter using the J-1 visa or DS-2019.

If a scholar needs additional time to complete research, they need to apply for an extension. Please review the extension information on the Current J-1 Scholars page.

The information contained in this web site is provided as a service to the international students, faculty, staff, employees and administrators of the Colorado School of Mines, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax or any other matter. We aim to provide substantial and useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or sufficiency of the information contained in or linked from this web site or any external/associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the Colorado School of Mines nor the Office of Global Education is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in this website, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.


International Student & Scholar Services
924 16th Street
Green Center, Suite 219
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401

Office Hours
Monday through Friday, 9:00a – 12:00p and 1:30p – 4:00p

Main Office Phone and Email
(303) 273-3210 / isss@mines.edu