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J-1 Exchange Visitors


The purpose of the J-1 visa is to increase mutual understanding and strengthen ties between the U.S. and other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. Every year the UW sponsors several hundred exchange visitors for full-time, temporary activities that include the following:

  • Teaching
  • Lecturing
  • Observing
  • Conducting research
  • Consulting
  • Demonstrating special skills

At the time of appointment, the expectation is that the exchange visitor will return home upon completion of the activity.

J-1 status can be obtained more easily and quickly than other UW-sponsored visas, although plans to sponsor a J-1 exchange visitor should begin at least 3 months in advance of the start date to allow for document preparation and visa processing. In some cases, exchange visitors experience delays in visa processing due to U.S. government security reviews.

Depending on their category of participation, exchange visitors may hold J-1 status for just a few days or up to 5 years.

Eligible Academic Titles

J-1 visa sponsorship is generally limited to full-time appointments in the faculty and academic staff titles listed below:
Acting Assistant Professor
Acting Instructor
Artist in Residence
Fellow Non-ACGME*
Postdoctoral Scholar
Visiting Assistant Professor
Visiting Associate Professor
Visiting Lecturer
Visiting Professor
Visiting Scholar
Visiting Scientist

The UW does NOT sponsor J visas for tenure-track and other long-term faculty (including Acting Assistant Professors pending PhD), for clinical programs of graduate medical education or training, or for other programs that require direct clinical patient care or contact (e.g., veterinary medicine, nursing, dentistry, psychological counseling or speech therapy). For questions regarding J-1 visas for clinical training programs sponsored through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), contact the UW Graduate Medical Education Office.

*On a limited basis if conditions for J-1 Foreign Medical Graduates are met.

J-1 exchange visitors may review the international scholar-facing J visa pages prior to starting in their position and can contact with any questions.

Units considering J-1 sponsorship can also contact ISO.

Visiting Students

Students pursuing degrees at foreign universities are ineligible for the faculty and academic staff titles listed above. They may apply for admission to the UW, or participate in full-time supervised research and work-based learning opportunities through the Visiting International Student Internship and Training program (VISIT) or the Visiting International Student Engaged in Research Program (VISER).