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J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Overview

    Welcome

    As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are taking part in the J-1 program administered by the U.S. Department of State with the goal of increasing mutual understanding through cultural and educational exchanges. New J-1 Exchange Visitor scholars can find pre-arrival information below which we hope will prepare you for your program and arrival at Saint Leo University. The information in this section marked with (J Visa) is only relevant to scholars under the J Exchange Visitor visa program.

    Pre-Arrival Information

    Please review the International Student Handbook, which covers a wealth of information about living in the U.S., Florida, and Saint Leo.

    Purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program

    The Exchange Visitor Program (J-visa types) provides many opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. These programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to study, teach, conduct research or demonstrate special skills for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

    The general purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. As a non-immigrant visa type, all exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

    Saint Leo University is a private nonprofit Catholic University that strives to be recognized internationally as an institution of higher education providing excellence in teaching and learning. We are constantly looking for partnerships with other institutions of quality outside the U.S. to aid in this endeavor. Saint Leo University and its students will be richer from the exchange taking place in the classroom and socially.

    Eligibility Requirements

    There are a few basic requirements that all J-1 Exchange Visitors must meet to be qualified for the program:

    • Intent to pursue appropriate activity (such as study, research, teaching, or training)

    • Intent to return to home country (as determined by consular officer)

    • Sufficient funding for program

    • Appropriate background for program activity (example, Research Scholars must have at least a master's degree or its equivalent)

    • Adequate English proficiency to engage in the proposed activities is expected. For students, if English is not the native language, students will take an English placement exam upon arrival in the United States and if needed, English training in the Bridge program will be a part of the program.

    For Professors, Research/Short-term Scholars or Specialists, prior to an invitation, telephone interviews will be conducted with the appropriate Dean, Department Chair, and the Bridge Program Director to conduct an English language interview. Saint Leo asks recommenders to address English proficiency in their comments.

    Program Categories

    The J-1 visa has multiple category or program types within the Exchange Visitor Program; each category has different expectations and regulations that must be followed. Follow the links to learn more about each category's program information, qualifications, and expectations.

    Saint Leo University supports several different category types within the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program:

    • Limited to a stay of 6 months to 2 years at Saint Leo to engage in teaching
    • May not be candidates for tenure
    • Visiting Professors in this category will teach three or four courses each term of semester. They will also conduct regularly scheduled lectures and seminars for students and will conduct at least one, but no more than four, faculty development workshops for University faculty members. The goals of the lectures, seminars, and workshops are the following:
      1. Improve the undergraduate experience for all students by introducing an curriculum enriched by the perspective and experience of the Visiting Faculty; and
      2. Provide an international perspective to faculty.
    • 12/24-month bars may prevent J-1 Professor sponsorship of those who have previously held J visa
    • Minimum education level is a Doctorate degree or its equivalent
    • Limited to a stay of 6 months to 1 year
    • A research scholar will be a person invited to join an extant research program as a colleague. The invitation shall originate with the head of the research team (primary investigator). The research scholar shall be expected to participate in all facets of the team's research project.
    • 12/24-month bars may prevent J-1 Professor sponsorship of those who have previously held J visa
    • Minimum education level is a Master’s degree or its equivalent
    • Limited strictly to 6 months or less; Short-Term Scholars may not extend stay beyond 6 months
    • A short-term scholar will be a person invited to lecture, observe, consult, and/or to participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, or engage in collaborative research. Short-term scholars may be in areas such as business, education, English, science, or the arts. The goal of the program is to enable us to jointly share the expertise of the scholar with internal researchers and, where the business program is focused on issues of rural economic development, to allow us to build partnerships across national boundary lines to foster the alleviation of poverty in rural communities through cooperative community and economic development programs.
    • 12/24-month bars do not apply to J-1 Short-Term Scholars who wish to return in J-1
    • Minimum education level is a Master's degree or its equivalent
    • Limited strictly to a maximum of 1 year; Specialists may not extend stay beyond 1 year
    • A specialist would come to Saint Leo University to observe, consult, or demonstrate special skills in any relevant area to the university and its community and may include areas like business, science, youth leadership, or international education. Like short-term scholars, the specialist is seen as a way to augment the programs we offer and to bring a focused internationalization to the curriculum. S/he can contribute an international perspective to fundamental questions regarding the delivery of program in his/her specific field of expertise. The goal of both the Short-Term Scholar and the Specialist programs is to enable us to jointly share the expertise of the scholar/specialist with internal researchers and, where the business program is focused on issues of rural economic development, to allow us to build partnerships across national boundary lines to foster the alleviation of poverty in rural communities through cooperative community and economic development programs.
    • 12/24-month bars do not apply to J-1 Short-Term Scholars who wish to return in J-1
    • Minimum education level is a Master's degree or its equivalent
    • Minimum stay - 1 semester
    • Students currently attending Exchange Student Programs and who are planning to study on exchange at Saint Leo. This program is managed by International Enrollment and the Center for Global Engagement at Saint Leo University and the home institution/organization overseas. Visitors in this classification will be regular full time matriculating students at Saint Leo University throughout the duration of their stay here. Some students will only stay at Saint Leo for one semester as part of a study abroad program, so they will only attend classes here for 6 months / 1 semester. Others are expected to enroll in a full degree program and will be here for a longer period.
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