International Student and Scholar Services

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J-1 Exchange Visitor Process

Department Invitation

The U.S. Department of State approves candidates based on the specific appointment responsibilities, salary, duties and dates on the application.

The sponsoring department should determine criterion for candidate selection that is dependent on the position’s responsibilities. Supporting documents may include:

  • Resume - A detailed Resume/CV, including the candidate's professional and academic background and a list of all publication titles.
  • Research - A complete and detailed description of the candidate's current and past research and any research the candidate intends to conduct in the U.S., including a description of the practical applications of the candidate's research or study.
  • Current Work Experience - Include the name of employer; position (including address, telephone number); name of supervisor; and the candidate's job description.
  • Education - Description of all academic qualifications (include all concentrations/specialties).
  • Professional References - Name and contact information.
  • Proof of an undergraduate and/or terminal degree.
  • Cover letter.
  • Sample of written work (current/published research).

J-1 Exchange Visitors are not authorized to participate in a different program or employment or to change departments without Center for International Studies authorization.

Sponsoring departments should notify the Center for International Studies immediately of any change in position duties, pay rates, research or employment of exchange visitors.

Sample department invitation letter (PDF)

J-1 Exchange Visitor Application

St. Cloud State understands that the primary purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to foster the exchange of ideas between Americans international educators. We also understand that the exchange of professors, research scholars and short-term scholars helps to promote mutual enrichment and connections between educational institutions in the United States and other countries. 

It does so by providing international professors, research scholars,  and short-term scholars the opportunity to engage in research, teaching, lecturing and observing with their American colleagues, to participate actively in cross-cultural activities with Americans and ultimately to bring to their home country, their experiences and increased knowledge about the United States and their respective fields.

Application Procedures

The sponsoring (host) department must first submit the following to the Center for International Studies:

An advisor at the Center for International Studies will:

  • Review the application and issue the DS-2019.
  • Contact the sponsoring department to mail application packet to the candidate for visa processing.

SEVIS Fee and J-1 Visa Appointment

J-1 Exchange Visitors, except Canadians, are required to have a valid visa in their passport to be allowed entry into the United States.

Once the candidate has received the application packet from St. Cloud State, the candidate must do the following:

Pay the $180 (This fee will increase on June 24, 2019 to $220) SEVIS fee

  • Pay online at least three days prior to making an application for a J-1 visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate.
  • Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
  • Enter your name exactly as it appears on your DS-2019.
  • Enter the SEVIS ID number on your DS-2019 (found in the upper left of the DS-2019 starting with characters N00...).
  • Print and keep the online receipt after completing the payment form.

Complete the Form DS-160

  • Print and keep the DS-160 barcode page.

Schedule a visa interview appointment

  • You should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, generally in your country of permanent residence.
  • The waiting time for an interview appointment can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged.

Pay the visa application processing fee

  • You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you go for your visa interview.

Pay the visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable

  • If applicable, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee.

Visa interview

  • Passport (valid at least six months into the future)
  • DS-2019
  • Department Invitation Letter
  • Evidence of financial support
  • SEVIS Fee payment receipt
  • DS-160 barcode page
  • Visa processing fee receipt

Some U.S. Embassies or Consulates may require additional documentation, so check the embassy or consulate website for visa application instructions.

Administrative Processing or Security Clearances

In some cases, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate may require administrative processing or security clearances on your visa application. It is common for this process to take a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

If administrative processing or security clearances occurs, please contact your sponsoring department so the Center for International Studies can advise on the implications of a delayed arrival.


Getting Here

Travel Arrangements

J-1 Exchange Visitors may arrive up to 30 days before the start date listed on their DS-2019.
  • Make travel arrangements -- including airline and shuttle reservations -- early.
  • Confirm airline reservations 72 hours before departure.
  • Practice packing your luggage. Check your airline's luggage restrictions.
  • Place personal items such as 1-20, DS-2109, passport with visa, airline tickets, a change of clothing, a book or magazine, snacks, toothbrush/toothpaste, snacks and medications in a carry-on bag.  

Airport Arrival

The sponsoring department should be sure that Exchange Visitor is met at the airport or that shuttle reservations are made in advance.

Executive Express reservations can be made online.  Executive Express is a privately-owned van shuttle service, to St. Cloud State. The Executive Express desk is in the Ground Transportation area of the airport. For more information, call Executive Express at 1-320-253-2226 or toll free at 1-888- 522-9899.

Housing and Meal Options


It's important to ensure adequate housing is set up before the exchange visitor arrives in the United States.

Contact your exchange visitor to determine if they would like to rent an apartment on campus or an apartment/home off campus.

Those who choose on-campus housing will stay at Coborn Plaza. The administrative/logistical liaison should contact Residential Life for pricing and availability and reserve housing based on the visitor's needs.

Coborn Plaza housing has furniture, kitchen appliances and washer/dryer, but does not include linens, toiletries or kitchenware or utensils. 

If the exchange visitor chooses to reside off campus, the sponsoring department should help find appropriate housing near the university.

Meal Options

Discuss the meal plan options with the exchange visitor to determine if they would prefer to prepare their own meals or purchase a meal plan through Dining Services.

Arriving at St. Cloud State

Check-in and Orientation

Within the first week on campus, the J-1 Exchange Visitor should make an appointment to meet with the Center for International Studies.

During this meeting, the Center for International Studies will confirm the J-1 Exchange Visitor's legal status in the U.S.

Please bring to this meeting the following:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019

Purchase Health Insurance

Please be prepared to make your health insurance payment upon your arrival at St. Cloud State University by money order, cashier’s check, a valid U.S. bank check, a VISA or Mastercard affiliated with a U.S. bank or cash in US Dollars. 

You will go directly to Business Services to make this payment in person.

Campus Card

Your Campus Card is your official campus ID. 

Campus Tour


University Library

Library borrowing privileges are not automatically included when a St. Cloud State ID is issued. Borrowing privileges are only available if the exchange visitor's sponsoring unit submits a request and accepts financial responsibility for any materials damaged or not returned.

To request St. Cloud State library privileges, click here.

Sponsoring Department Responsibilities

Hosting an exchange visitor requires the collaboration of many. The department must:

  • Ensures that all academic responsibilities and objectives are met by exchange visitors during their time at St. Cloud State University.
  • Ensures appropriate supervision and evaluation of the exchange visitor.
  • Ensures that teaching duties are outlined well in advance, including arrangements for ordering books for courses (if applicable).
  • Ensures that research goals are agreed upon by outlining the objectives and interests of the sponsoring department.
  • Ensures that the exchange visitor’s research can be carried out and completed within the time limits of the visit (if applicable).