J-1 Scholar FAQs

It is common to have questions and we are happy to get you answers. Contact us if you have a question not answered here.

Frequently asked questions

There is no waiver for the SEVIS I-901 fee, all new J-1 exchange visitors must pay the SEVIS fee. Third parties may pay the fee on behalf of the exchange visitor. However, WSU International Student and Scholar Services does not pay the SEVIS fee for exchange visitors nor provide reimbursement. You may discuss the possibility of payment or reimbursement of the fee with your host faculty member, but it is not required nor expected that they cover the SEVIS fee. J-2 dependents do not need to pay a separate fee.

Answers to these questions and more are provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Look for these 4 items in the summary of benefits, coverage or policy terms:

  1. Medical evacuation, also known as emergency repatriation, with an amount of at least $50,000
  2. Repatriation of (mortal) remains with an amount of at least $25,000
  3. Total coverage of at least $100,000
  4. Deductible of $500 or less

If you have found a policy that you think meets these requirements, you may send the summary of benefits to ip.scholars@wsu.edu and ISSS will check to make sure the policy meets all requirements.

Yes. If your dependents have a valid J-2 DS-2019 then they also need valid health insurance, even if they are not in the United States. If your dependents return home early and will not return during your J-1 program we can end their DS-2019s. Only after the DS-2019 is ended can the health insurance be canceled for your family members.

Apple Health (Medicaid) is designed for Washington state permanent residents and U.S. citizens. To sign up for Apple Health you sign an attestation stating that you plan to remain in Washington long term, which can conflict with your J-1 nonimmigrant status. Although you may be eligible for this plan, note that it does not meet the J-1 health insurance requirements. Therefore, you still must provide a valid health insurance plan to maintain J-1/J-2 status.

You are automatically added to a mailing list for the Briefing when you arrive and check in. You will be emailed the date and time for the next J-1 Briefing after your records are validated. If you do not attend the first 2 sessions after your arrival, then your host supervisor and/or department chair or director may be contacted by ISSS.

You need a Social Security number only if you will be paid by WSU. You can still apply for a driver’s license and checking account at a bank without a Social Security number. However, you will not be able to apply for a credit card or open an account at a credit union.

Your dependent needs a Social Security number only if they have work authorization (an EAD card) and a paying job. If you need to apply for a tax credit or benefit for your dependent(s) and they do not have a Social Security number, they can apply for an ITIN instead.

ISSS provides basic information and tax software each March for international students and scholars. The tax software can be used by any international scholar who is considered a nonresident for tax purposes. However, no one in ISSS is a tax specialist, so we cannot advise on preparing tax documents. Payroll Services can answer basic questions about W-2 and other forms prepared by the university and sent to its employees but also cannot advise on completing your yearly tax forms for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To ensure that you receive the correct tax exemptions or tax treaty benefits, be sure to complete the Tax Determination Questionnaire with Payroll Services upon your arrival to WSU. To gain access to the secure portal for completing the TDQ, please email payroll.tdq@wsu.edu.

Some scholars may be eligible to change status within the United States. Scholars subject to the 212(e) requirement are not able to change or adjust status within the United States until the requirement is fulfilled or waived. Applying for the 212(e) waiver during your J-1 program has significant implications for your J-1 status; please contact ip.scholars@wsu.edu before applying.

The International Center programs and events, as well as the Language Learning Resource Center, are always open to international visitors, researchers, faculty, and their families. Additionally, any campus groups or events that are open to the community (such as guest lectures and Student Entertainment Board movie nights) are open to scholars and their families. J-1 scholars are also able to join campus groups such as the Postdoctoral and Professional Researcher Association, Association of Faculty Women, and more.

  • Host supervisor/faculty member: is the person you will directly work with during your J-1 program stay at WSU. Questions about the research project, employment expectations, and facilities for work, including laboratory and office space, should be directed toward your host faculty member.
  • Department contact/administrative support person: works in your department and provides administrative support for WSU visitors and employees. The department administrator arranges employment paperwork and can assist in obtaining a WSU ID number and Network ID.
  • Scholar team in International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS): is responsible for managing and administering the J-1 exchange visitor program for WSU. Only ISSS can issue your DS-2019, advise you on the J-1/J-2 visa, entry into the U.S., DS-2019 travel endorsement, J-1 program extension or transfer, J-1 employment, and other topics on J-1/J-2 status. ISSS can be contacted at ip.scholars@wsu.edu.