International Visiting Scholars

J-1 Scholars and Professors

You’re going to love it here! We want to be among the first to welcome you to Abilene Christian University and aid in your successful transition to our campus as a member of the Wildcat family.

Stay tuned as we continue to add information and resources to this page.

You’re going to love it here! We want to be among the first to welcome you to Abilene Christian University and aid in your successful transition to our campus as a member of the Wildcat family.

Stay tuned as we continue to add information and resources to this page.

Main Content

Opening Doors to the World

International Education, Collaborative Research and Scholarship

ACU is able to host exchange visitor scholars and professors through the U.S. Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Program to foster the exchange of ideas and stimulate international collaborative teaching and research efforts in substantive fields. Exchange visitor scholars come on nonimmigrant visas and are not eligible for tenure-track appointments.

J-1 Scholars

A J-1 Scholar is a visiting researcher or professor from outside the United States who has been approved to enter the United States for a specific purpose for a limited amount of time.  The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for the purpose of stimulating the international exchange of expertise, collaborative teaching and research efforts as well as cultural exchange. Exchange is truly at the core of the program rather than simply as a means of working in the U.S.

  • In a temporary or “visiting” capacity at ACU. (Permanent or tenure-track positions are prohibited for J-1 Exchange Visitors.)
  • Continually enrolled in medical insurance that meets U.S. Department of State requirements.
  • Possess sufficient English language proficiency to have a productive experience both academically and culturally.

While the Exchange Visitor Program includes 16 different categories of Exchange Visitors, Abilene Christian University is authorized to use the following categories for scholars and professors:

Professor and Research Scholar

Program Duration: Three (3) weeks to five (5) years (continuous time)
Primary Activity: Teaching or collaborative research.  Details are available on the State Departments website for Professors and for Research Scholars.

This category is subject to the 12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation.

See more at the button below.

J-1 | 12 & 24 Month Bars


Short-Term Scholar

Program Duration: One (1) day to six (6) months
Primary Activity: Teaching or collaborative research.  Details are available on the State Department’s website.

This category is NOT subject to the 12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation, but may still be influenced by it.

Note: Independent Researchers and Guest Lecturers may not be eligible for the J category

B-1 (visitor) Visa or Visa Waiver Program

Individuals coming to ACU to conduct business, present a lecture, attend conferences and seminars, or hold business meetings may consider entering the U.S. on the B-1 (visitor) visa or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for business.  Please note the limitations this category.

  • No employment is allowed.
  • Honoraria and per diem payments can be made, provided that you meet the 9-5-6 Rule (your stay at the university is no longer than 9 days and you have not accepted reimbursements from more than 5 other institutions in the U.S. during the preceding 6-month period).
  • Canadian citizens who enter the U.S. without any other visa documentation are considered to be admitted in a joint B-1 (Visitor for Business)/B-2 (Visitor for Tourism) immigration classification.
  • Reimbursements in this visa classification may be subject to substantial tax withholding.

J-1 Scholar | 12- & 24-Month Bars

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was founded primarily to foster exchange between United States citizens and countries around the globe.  Its creation was not intended to be used for employment purposes. Barriers or “Bars” to repeat participation exist within the regulations of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in order to support/preserve the spirit of the program.

These bars can be confusing and should not be mistaken for the Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement, which prevents exchange visitors from changing their status in the U.S., applying for an H- 1B or L employment visa, or adjusting their status to legal permanent resident before it has been fulfilled or waived.

Additional information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the 12- and 24-month bars can be found on the Department of State’s website . If you have additional questions about these bars, please contact the OISVS.

The chart below describes the bars that would be imposed on you if you were in one of the listed categories for the duration listed and intending to become a J-1 Research Scholar/Professor.
Previous Category6 months or lessMore than 6 months
J-1 Student Non DegreeNo bar12 months
J-1 StudentNo bar12 months
J-1 Research Scholar/Professor24 months24 months
J-1 Short-Term ScholarNo barNA
J-2 Dependent of Research Scholar/Professor
24 months24 months
J-2 Dependent of any other J-1 category except
Short-Term Scholar
No bar12 months

John was a J-1 Research Scholar from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2006 (more than six months).  John intends to return to the United States as a J-1 Specialist.  Based on the chart above, John was eligible to return as a J-1 Specialist as early as January 1, 2008.

Maria has been a J-1 Professor since May 1, 2016. Her program will end on April 30, 2018. She has been invited back as a J-1 Research Scholar starting July 1, 2018.  Unfortunately, Maria will not be able to participate in this activity in the J-1 Professor category because the 24 month bar would apply to her until May 1, 2020.

Residency Requirement

J-1 Scholar: 212(e)

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

If you have a J-1 Visa and meet one or more of the criteria listed below, you may be subject.  You would normally see this requirement marked on your J-1 Visa stamp and/or DS-2019. If you are subject to the requirement, your J-2 dependents are also subject to this requirement.

If you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you must “reside and be physically present” in your “home” country for an aggregate period of two years after completion of your J-1 program OR apply for a waiver of this requirement before being eligible for certain immigration benefits.


  1. You have received funding from your government or the U.S. government for J-1 program participation
  2. Your skills are deemed to be in short supply by your home country
  3. You have participated in clinical training (i.e. a medical residency or fellowship)
  • An immigrant visa or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card)
  • H Visa (temporary workers and dependents), an L Visa (intra-company transferees and
    dependents), or a K Visa (fiancé and dependents)
  • A change of your nonimmigrant status within the U.S. from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic), G (international organization), or U (victims of qualifying criminal activity) statuses.
Waiver of 212(e)

Please note that if you intend to apply for a waiver of the 212(e), you should discuss your plans with the OISVS and your host department, as this can impact your eligibility for an extension of your J-1 status or a transfer of your J-1 record to a new institution.  Applying for a waiver and having it approved without consulting the OISVS and your host department does not obligate ACU to sponsor you for an H-1B.

Advisory Opinion on Subjectivity to 212(e)
If you do not know whether the two-year home residency requirement applies to you, after having reviewed the eligibility information on the Department of State website, you can request the Department of State’s Waiver.

Review Division to conduct an Advisory Opinion. An Advisory Opinion is a review of your exchange visitor program documents to determine if you are subject to this requirement. Please refer to Department of State
Advisory Opinion for more information.

How to Get Started

Faculty & Staff

View the departmental requirements and steps to host a J scholar or professor here. (link coming soon)

International Scholars & Professors

Interested international scholars and professors can view their next steps here. (link coming soon)

ACU seeks to comply with applicable export control regulations in all university activities, including innovative research and collaborative efforts to further the creation and dissemination of knowledge for the public good while simultaneously protecting national security, foreign policy, and the economy and commerce. For questions or concerns related to export control regulations, please refer to ACU Policy 460: Export Controls.