Exchange Visitor Program

About the Exchange Visitor Program

The Exchange Visitor Program promotes the interchange of knowledge and skills in the arts and sciences, as well as in education. WSU is designated by the U.S. Department of State as an official sponsor for the Exchange Visitor Program.

Fulbright Scholars from other nations who study and teach at WSU typically enter the country with J-1 visas.

Exchange visitor program advisor

The international scholar advisor(s) in the Office of International Programs are the appointed Responsible Officers (RO) or an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for advising WSU exchange program participants.

Purpose of your visit to the United States

As a participant in the Exchange Visitor Program, you are authorized to enter the United States for specific purposes:

  • To stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts, or
  • To promote interchange between research and educational institutions in the United States and other countries

While on a J visa, you cannot be a candidate for a tenure-track position. At the conclusion of your program, you are expected to return to your home country.

Exchange visitor categories at WSU


As a professor, you may primarily teach, lecture, observe, or consult at a post‑secondary accredited educational institution. You may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

Length of stay cannot exceed 5 years.

Research scholars

In this role you may primarily conduct research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project at a post‑secondary accredited educational institution. You may teach only if approved by your sponsoring agency.

Length of stay cannot exceed 5 years.


An expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, you come to the United States to observe, consult, or demonstrate special skills.

As a J-1 visa holder in the Specialists category, you may stay for the length of time necessary to complete your program, not to exceed 1 year. Extensions beyond 1 year are not permitted.

Short-term scholars

You are authorized to enter the United States for a short-term visit as a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments. Your purpose is to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at a postsecondary accredited educational institution.

The length of your stay may range from 3 weeks to 6 months. No extensions beyond 6 months are allowed.

J-1 student interns

As a current bachelor’s-level student abroad, you can participate in a student internship program at WSU that will fulfill the educational objectives of your degree program in your home country. Your host at WSU will be asked to complete a DS-7002 Training/Placement Plan and your academic advisor at your home institution will certify your eligibility to participate.

Length of stay cannot exceed 1 year.

How to become a J-1 Scholar

First, you will need to find a WSU department to sponsor you for a research or teaching experience. Once a department agrees to host or hire you, they will then begin a J-1 scholar request with our office.

Changing status

If you are already in the United States in a different status, you have two options to change status to a J-1 scholar.

  1. Travel abroad and apply for a J-1 visa stamp using the DS-2019 from WSU.
  2. Apply for a change of status with USCIS using a copy of the DS-2019 from WSU. The time needed for a change of status to J-1/J-2 will depend on USCIS processing times in addition to normal J-1 request processing times of International Programs.

2-Year foreign residence requirement

Certain J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents may be subject to a 2-year foreign residence requirement under U.S. law per Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e).