J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The U.S. Department of State has a long tradition of encouraging educational and cultural exchanges between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The J Exchange Visitor category was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961 and is now part of SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The regulations governing J-1 scholars are complex, and only a brief summary is offered here. For specific questions, please contact Natalia May in the Office of Admissions. Sponsoring departments are responsible for assisting visiting scholars with finding housing, mentorship, and office space.

Vermont Law School is designated to host the following categories of J-1 Exchange Visitors: Students, Professors, Short-Term Scholars, Research Scholars, and Specialists.

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Requires admission to Vermont Law School, enrollment in full-time study, and payment of tuition and fees. Limited to the amount of time needed to complete the program of study, with reasonable extensions allowed.


Research Scholar

The exchange of research scholars promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries.


Short-Term Scholar

A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments (including students enrolled at foreign universities) coming to the U.S. on a short-term basis for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills. The maximum duration of stay is 6 months (no extension permitted).



An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting (may also conduct research). May be hired in a temporary visiting faculty position or as an adjunct but may not be hired in a tenure-track position. Extension of program allowed up to five years (minimum participation period: three weeks). Professors who complete their programs, no matter the duration, are not eligible to return to the U.S. in a Research Scholar or Professor category for two years.



An individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skills who enters the United States for the purpose of observing, consulting, or demonstrating special knowledge or skills. The maximum duration of stay is 12 months and are not eligible for a permanent position.


English Language Proficiency

Visitors must possess English language proficiency. Sponsors are required to use one of the following objective measurements to determine an applicant’s language proficiency:

  • A recognized English language test
  • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school
  • A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in person or by video, or by telephone if video is not a viable option

This evidence must be submitted with the DS-2019 request form, as the Department of State requires this information be made available upon their request.



  • J-1 visiting scholars will pay a Vermont Law School one-time program fee of $1,500. An additional semester fee of $2,500 is assessed to non-tuition paying designations for each semester they are on campus. Partial waiver of fees may be available to eligible scholars. 

J-1 Scholars should be prepared to pay these fees upon their arrival to the Vermont Law School. These fees must be paid by credit card, no cash or checks will be accepted.



Upon your arrival, you must contact Natalia May to check-in and complete an Arrival Form. Please note that under Department of State regulations, failure to check-in within 30 days of arrival will result in cancellation of your exchange visitor status and may subject you to deportation.

Bring these items when you check in:

  1. Passport, with visa;
  2. Print out of I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record). To do this, go to www.cbp.gov/I94.
  3. Form DS-2019

Health Insurance

The United States Department of State requires all J-1 visa holders and any accompanying dependents to obtain health and accident insurance, which includes the following minimum coverage:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness;
  2. repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; and
  3. expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000.