Important Information for J-1 Scholars

As you are considering coming to the University of Chicago in J-status, please carefully review the information below:

Affiliation with the University of Chicago

The first step in the process to obtain J-1 status is to establish your relationship with a department in the University. Only upon request from the Human Resources or Academic Affairs Administrator in a University department will a Form DS-2019 for purposes of obtaining a J-1 visa be issued by our office. You will require this form to obtain a J-1 visa from the U.S. consulate or embassy nearest you. Once you have received your visa, you will be able to make your travel arrangements to come to Chicago.

J-1 Categories

While the non-immigrant status in question is J-1, this status includes several categories. Each of these categories has its own set of responsibilities and benefits, and it is important that you understand these. There are three possible J-1 categories under which a visitor might come to the University. Each category has its own regulations and limitations. A J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor may stay up to 5 years, but this category has significant drawbacks, such as the two-year home residency requirement and the two-year repeat bar. While the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category does not have some of those drawbacks, it only allows the scholar to stay for a maximum of 6 months.

J-1 versus H-1B

In cases where someone could qualify for both J-1 and H-1B status, the University will sponsor J-1 status, unless significant circumstances mitigate against J-1. For further information, please consult with your department in the University or contact our office at

Additional Resources


  • Do not come in B-1/B-2 status or under the Visa Waiver Program, unless specifically instructed to do so by our office!
  • Do not schedule your visa appointment before you have received the Form DS-2019 from us!
  • Do not make your travel arrangements before you have the visa in hand!
  • Do not assume that lack of compliance up front can be fixed later!
  • Click here for more information on who may come to the University of Chicago in tourist status.