Selecting a J-1 Category

When selecting a category, it is important to consider what the Exchange Visitors primary objective is while at USC, not their current role abroad. The following is basic information on each of the categories used at USC and their various lengths of stay.

If you are unsure which category is most appropriate for your Exchange Visitor, please feel free to contact OIS by email at j1exchg@usc.edu or by phone at 213-740-2666. 

Research Scholar (Includes Post Docs)

The Research Scholar is the most common category for Exchange Visitor at USC.

  • Objective: Primary objective is research but may also include observing and collaborating with an ongoing research project. 80% of time must be research related. Research Scholars may teach or lecture up to 20% in addition to conducting research.
  • Educational Requirement: Masters or higher. Genuine expertise in field.
  • Program Duration: 3 weeks to 5 years
    • 2 year maximum duration for initial DS-2019 can be allotted. Extensions permitted.
    • If transferring to USC, include previous time spent on J-1
  • J-1 Bars: Foreign nationals who have completed a J-1 Research Scholar program must wait 24 months before participating in another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. This regulation is known as the 24-Month Bar on repeat participation. A scholar who is subject to the 24-month Bar may, however, leave the US and return as a Short-Term Scholar.

Professor

  • Objective: Primary objective, 80% minimum, is classroom instruction in their field but may also include lecturing, observing, or consulting. Professors may also participate in departmental research up to 20% of their time.
  • Educational Requirement: Masters or higher. Genuine expertise in field.
  • Program Duration: 3 weeks to 5 years
    • 2 year maximum duration for initial DS-2019 can be allotted. Extensions permitted
    • If transferring to USC, include previous time spent on J-1
  • J-1 Bars: Foreign nationals who have completed a J-1 Research Scholar program must wait 24 months before participating in another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. This regulation is known as the 24-Month Bar on repeat participation. A scholar who is subject to the 24-month Bar may, however, leave the US and return as a Short-Term Scholar.

Short-Term Scholar

The Short-Term Scholar category is very flexible and can be used to accommodate many types of short visits.

  • Objective: A Short-Term Scholar may be a professor, researcher, specialist, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the US on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills.
  • Educational Requirement: Masters or higher. Genuine expertise in field.
  • Program Duration: 1 day to 6 months (No extensions past 6 months)
  • J-1 Bars: Not subject to 24-Month Bar
    • Research Scholar to Short-Term ScholarMust be 6 months in between appointments and have a new research objective.
    • Short-Term Scholar to Short-Term Scholar: Must be 6 months in between appointments and have a new research objective

Non-Degree Student

  • Objective: Must be engaged in a full-time prescribed course of study in a non-degree academic program with a specific educational objective. May include classroom instruction, research projects, and/ or academic training.
  • Educational Requirement: All degree levels
  • Program Duration: 3 weeks to 2 years
  • J-1 Bars: Not subject to 24-Month Bar
  • Funding Requirement: Over 51% of funding must come from source other than personal funding (51% rule waived for direct exchange students with an MOU from foreign university)
  • Academic Training: Non Degree Students may be given Academic Training for a period no longer than the time spent in the academic program. The periods of academic program and Academic Training may not exceed the 24 month maximum.
  • No Interns: USC does not offer the J-1 Intern Category

Degree Seeking Student

All DS-2019’s for degree students are issued through The Office of Admissions. If you are a J-1 Degree Student, we would like to redirect you to the correct pages listed below:

Prospective Students
New Incoming International Students
Current students

Alien Physician

Clinical Fellows and Residents engaging in patient contact will be sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), not USC. The OIS serves to liaise with ECFMG on behalf of USC, CHLA, and the LAC + USC Medical Center. Your department should work with Brett Wobbe—Training Program Liaison—and ECFMG to facilitate the initial sponsorship request. Further instructions will be provided upon acceptance.