Exchange Visitor Program Overview
The Exchange Visitor Program was developed by the U.S. Department of State to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961. The overall purpose of that Act, and the objective of the Exchange Visitor Program, is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.
Georgia Institute of Technology is authorized to sponsor individuals on a J-1 visa to facilitate an educational and cultural exchange through participation in academic or scholarly projects supervised by a Georgia Tech faculty host. The J visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows individuals to receive external funding or funding from the J sponsor. The Exchange Visitor Program is not an alternative to a work visa although exchange visitors may be compensated for activities which contribute to the original program objective.
Who can be considered for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program
Non U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach as a professor, or participate in an academic internship at Georgia Tech.
**Because of its non-immigrant nature, the Exchange Visitor Program cannot be used for tenure-track professor positions**
Exchange Visitors (EV) must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher at the time the exchange request is made.
**Exception: candidates for the Exchange Visitor Program Student Intern category can be currently enrolled in bachelor’s degree program at a foreign university**
From Start to Finish: How a prospective Exchange Visitor (EV) gets to Georgia Tech
Planning the Visit
Parties involved: Exchange Visitor, Faculty host, academic department HR
- Prospective EV must be invited to Georgia Tech by an individual faculty member or academic professional. OIE does not have a role in placing prospective EVs with faculty or academic host departments.
- The faculty member or academic professional will work with the prospective visitor to finalize plans for the proposed exchange.
- The faculty member or academic professional will coordinate the proposed visit with a Human Resources administrator in the host academic or university department on the EV’s behalf. Even if the EV will be employed by Georgia Tech, the exchange is facilitated by HR at the department level.
Determining Eligibility and Preparing Required Exchange Documents
Parties involved: Department HR, Office of Global HR, Office of Legal Affairs, OIE
- The department HR administrator will submit required information to OIE, Office of Global HR, and Office of Legal Affairs to determine if the prospective EV meets Georgia Tech and U.S. government requirements to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program (also referred to as “eligibility requirements”).
If it is determined that the prospective visitor is eligible for the Exchange Visitor Program, then the HR administrator in the host department will submit required information for OIE to issue the government-required Form DS-2019.
Documents that must be provided to OIE:
- Proof of English proficiency (see “English Language Proficiency” tab below for more detail about English proficiency needed to participate in Exchange Visitor Program)
- Proof of funding/financial support for the entire length of the requested exchange period
- GT host department invitation letter
- Prospective EVs: Please communicate directly with your faculty host or human resources administrator for information/questions regarding your DS-2019 request, including status updates.
- Documents that must be provided to OIE:
- Once issued, the paper DS-2019 form is sent to the EV.
Obtaining a U.S. J-1 visa and traveling to Georgia Tech
Parties involved: Exchange Visitor
The EV must take the DS-2019 and all other required documents to a U.S. embassy or consulate to request a J-1 visa. EVs should direct questions about the visa process to the U.S. embassy/consulate they will visit.
- OIE recommends purchasing flight tickets/making travel plans only after obtaining the J-1 visa. This is essential, as you will not be able to enter the U.S. until the starting validity date printed on the visa.
Once the J-1 visa is secured, EVs may travel to the United States starting 30 days before their program start date listed on the DS-2019.
- If the program start date and/or end date needs to be changed after the DS-2019 is created but before the EV travels to the U.S., the EV’s HR administrator will contact OIE to re-issue the DS-2019 with updated program dates. As long as you have obtained the J-1 visa, it is not necessary to receive a paper copy of the updated DS-2019 before travel.
- It is the EV’s responsibility to be aware of, and adhere to, any travel rules or restrictions (including quarantine if applicable) in place at the time of travel. More information on these issues can be gathered from the airline being used for travel, the U.S. Embassy in the EV’s country of origin, and/or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
After arrival in the U.S./at Georgia Tech
Parties involved: Exchange Visitor, Host academic department, OIE
- After the EV arrives in the United States and on/after their program start date, the EV is required by OIE and the U.S. Department of State to complete mandatory check-in procedures. OIE and the HR administrator will support the EV with these procedures if needed. OIE Check-in procedures must be completed no later than 30 days after the EV’s program start date (as indicated on the DS-2019).
- After completing OIE check-in, the EV will be placed in a mandatory orientation meeting for which OIE will provide an introduction to Georgia Tech and review important aspects of the Exchange Visitor Program, including rules that must be followed during and after the exchange in order to comply with program and Department of State regulations.
- It is possible that EVs will be expected to complete check-in procedures separate and additional from those described above for the host academic department, GT Human Resources, and/or another GT office.
- If you have any questions about your required OIE check-in, please contact OIE at email@example.com. If you have questions about your host department or other GT office check-in procedures, please contact the appropriate office.