For an overview of the J-1 Scholar category (including J-1 interns) please visit the J-1 Scholar Immigration Regulations page. If a department agrees to sponsor an international scholar under the J-1 program, they must initiate the visa paperwork using a J-1 Scholar Request Form or a J-1-Intern-Request-Form, both of which may be found on our forms page. The department responsibilities and the request procedures are explained below.

All forms mentioned can be found on our forms page:

Download: Hosting a Foreign Scholar: The J Visa [PDF]

Department Responsibilities

If a department agrees to sponsor an international scholar under the J-1 program, they must initiate the visa paperwork using a J-1 Scholar Request Form or a J-1 Intern Request Form. A faculty member (or, in a non-academic department, a staff person) should serve as the primary host for the scholar. In most cases, this will be the department head or a faculty member who will be conducting research with the scholar or the supervisor of the internship.

The host professor and/or department head should communicate with the scholar before arrival, arrange for airport pick-up and housing; arrange for office space in the department, library privileges and computer use as appropriate; and ensure that the scholar is integrated into the activities of the department. Even if the scholar will not be employed by UT, the host professor is expected to assist or collaborate with the scholar, and to be aware of the scholar’s activities while at UT.

U.S. law requires The University to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of an early departure. To ensure that this information is relayed on time, we ask that the host department notify CIE of the departure of every J-1 scholar, even if it is not early. For this purpose, the host-department should use the Departure Notification form. CIE will then notify DHS, as required. Failure to send this notification is a violation of law and may subject The University to penalties and/or fines. After the J-1 record is ended, the employee may not be employed at UT without other work authorization.

For a J-1 scholar, notify CIE of any departure if the scholar has been/will be physically absent from the UT campus for more than 30 days. If the scholar hopes to return to UT after this departure, call CIE to discuss.   Notification should be sent to CIE before the departure date, or no longer than 30 days after departure.

Before applying for the J-1 visa, a scholar should receive an Invitation Letter from the host department, describing the proposed research or other activities at UT. This letter should provide details about the expected activities of the visitor, the dates of the visit, and the services and any funding to be provided for the visitor during his/her visit. This is especially important if the research is in a “sensitive area”.

If the scholar will be employed by UT Knoxville, he/she should also receive an official Offer of Employment. This is written by Human Resources for a regular position and by the Department Head for a term position.

Internship Regulations

For other regulations pertaining to the J-1 visa category please visit the J-1 Scholar Immigration Regulations section.

According to U.S. Government regulations, the internship program must be a “structured and guided work-based learning program, that reinforces a student’s or recent graduate’s academic study, recognizes the needs for work-based experience, provides on-the-job exposure to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise, and enhances the intern’s knowledge of American culture and society.” Internships normally take place on the UT campus, supervised by a UT professor.

Eligibility for J-1 Intern Program

A prospective intern must be enrolled in a recognized degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. or must have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months before the beginning of the internship. A prospective intern must be screened for English proficiency and personally interviewed to ensure that she/he has the appropriate background and skills for the program. Before the intern applies for the J-1 visa, he/she must be given a clear written statement of the learning goals and activities of the internship program.

Appropriate Activities for an Internship

The internship must be designed as an educational program, directly related to the intern’s current or recent field of study. The intern may receive a stipend or salary from The University of Tennessee (or third party organization), but he/she may not fill a normal position of employment which could or would be filled by a regular employee, and he/she may not displace a U.S. worker. The internship should normally involve entry-level work or activities but should not duplicate any previous internship or employment that the intern has had.

The internship must consist of at least 32 hours of structured activities per week. The intern may not engage in “casual or unskilled labor”, and no more than 20% of the program may include clerical work. Interns in medical and social service fields (such as nursing and social work) may not engage in patient care or contact. Additional restrictions apply to persons in the field of hospitality and tourism.

An internship may last for three weeks to twelve months. The length of the program must be established before the intern arrives; in most cases, the internship program may not be extended after the intern arrives.

Internship Evaluation

U.S. law requires a written evaluation of every internship program, to be signed by the intern and the primary supervisor. For all interns, an evaluation must be completed and signed at the end of the internship period, before the intern returns home. If an internship will last more than six months, an additional, midpoint, evaluation is also required. Copies of these evaluations must be given to the intern, to the supervisor, and to CIE.

Failure to send the copy of the evaluation form to CIE may mean that the host department will not be permitted to host future interns.

Health Insurance Coverage

The University of Tennessee requires host departments to pay for the health insurance coverage for any intern. For more information about the health insurance requirements for J-1 interns visit the Health Insurance section for Scholars.

J-1 Intern Request

To request a DS-2019 Form for a J-1 Intern, the host department must submit the documents listed below to CIE. Please read the Internship Regulations (see following section) and the J-1 Immigration Regulations before beginning this process. Note that the paperwork for J-1 interns is different than that for other J-1 categories.

Please submit all documents at one time, at least 2 months before the internship will begin.

J-1 Intern Request Form

This form must be completed and signed by host professor and department head. If the intern will be paid through UT Payroll, then Section VIII must be completed by host department and signed by UT Human Resources.

Note: the J-1 request form for an Intern is different than the one used for J-1 Scholars

Other Required Documents

U.S. law (22 CFR 62.22) mandates that a number of procedures be completed before a Form DS-2019 is issued for an intern. If documents are missing or incomplete, the DS-2019 cannot be issued. All forms may be found on our forms page: under the heading “J1 Scholar/Intern.”

      1. Obtain Certification of Academic Status from the intern’s academic institution.
        This form must be completed and signed by the intern’s current (or recent) academic advisor (or other knowledgeable representative of the academic institution in the home country). Scanned or faxed copy of signed form is acceptable. If any answer is not in English, a translation must be attached.
      2. Complete the Interview Report Form
        U.S. law requires a personal interview with the prospective Intern to discuss the internship and evaluate the Intern’s background and knowledge. This interview will normally be conducted by the host professor, and may be in person, by webcam, or by telephone. An e-mail “interview” is not sufficient. In some cases, this interview may be conducted by a representative of the intern’s current academic institution. In this case, there must be a written contract or agreement between UT and the intern’s home institution. A copy of this written agreement must be attached to the Interview Report Form.
      3. Complete the English Proficiency Form.
        This form should be signed by one of the following:

        • UT Host Professor: If the interview mentioned above was conducted in English by the UT Host professor, then the same person may complete and sign the English Language Proficiency Form.
        • The Interns’ English language Instructor at his/her home institution or at an English Language School.
        • Instead of getting this form signed, the Intern may send a copy of a TOEFL score meeting the requirement of the UT Admissions Office.


      4. Complete Form DS-7002 describing the internship goals and activities.
        Pages 1 and 2 of this form must be completed by the host professor, after discussing the internship plans with the prospective intern. After both pages are completed, the form must be signed by the host professor (in the line marked “Supervisor’s Signature”) and by the intern (on the line marked “Trainee/Intern Signature”).
        Download a fillable version of the Form DS-7002 from the US Department of State website.
        Specific Instructions

        • Check “Intern” (not Trainee).
        • If the U.S. residential address and telephone are not yet known, give the department address and phone.
        • If the internship will be conducted by UT, for “Host Organization” write “The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of __________ “.
        • On Pages 1 and 2, do not complete the sections marked “Sponsor’s Signature” or “Program Sponsor Name”.
        • Complete all other questions on page 2 in detail. This is the statement of learning objectives and activities for the internship and is extremely important. If there is more than one “phase” to the internship, a separate Page 2 must be completed for each phase. If the same activity will last for the whole internship, start and end dates for the “phase” will be the start and end date of the internship.
        • Both Pages 1 and 2 should be completed and sent to the Intern BEFORE she/he signs. The form (without, and then with) the Intern’s signature can be faxed or scanned, instead of mailed.
        • If internship will be conducted by another organization, list that organization as the host organization; primary supervisor at that organization should sign the DS-7002 rather than the UT host professor.
      5. Obtain documentation of financial support.
        Before a DS-2019 Form can be issued, CIE must receive documentation of adequate financial support for the entire length of the internship. This support may be provided by any or all of the following:

        • Salary or other payment by UT. But note that the Intern may not fill a regular position of employment. Information provided on the “J-1 Intern Request Form” will document this intended support.
        • Salary or other payment by a “Third Party” host organization. (Note: Contact CIE if this will be the case.)
        • Financial support from intern’s academic institution or government. Provide an official letter, in English, from the granting institution, stating dates and amount of support during visit. Letter should make it clear that this support will continue while the intern is in the U.S.
        • Personal savings. Provide an official letter, in English, from the intern’s bank, stating the amount of savings. If the support will come from the parents or other relative, provide a letter from the relative, plus a letter from the relative’s bank.

Note: Currently, CIE requires proof of at least $1000 per month of support for a single intern. An additional $600 per month is required for a spouse and $500 per month for each child. If free housing will be provided to the Intern, this will be counted as $450 per month of support.

Submit all required forms to CIE at least 2 months before the internship will begin

If all documents are complete and the intern appears to be eligible for the J-1 program, CIE will issue a DS-2019 Form and send it to the intern, along with the copy of the DS-7002, and a “Welcome Letter”.

After Intern’s Arrival

J-1 Scholar Request

To request a DS-2019 Form for a J-1 scholar, the host department must submit the documents listed below to CIE. Please read J-1 Scholar Immigration Regulations, including the description of the J-1 categories before beginning this process.

Please submit all documents at one time, at least 2 months before the program will begin. J-1 Scholar Forms can be found on our forms page:

J-1 Scholar Request Form

This form must be completed and signed by host professor and department head. If the scholar will be paid through UT Payroll, then Section VIII must be completed by host department and signed by UT Human Resources.

Note: Currently, CIE requires proof of at least $1000 per month of support for a single scholar. An additional $600 per month is required for a spouse and $500 per month for each child.

      1. Obtain approval of employment (if the scholar will be a regular employee) by all necessary offices before completing the J-1 Scholar Request Form, including Dean’s Office (if appropriate) and the Office of Human Resources and/or Provost’s Office. Human Resources will then provide a “Position Number”.
      2. Get written documentation of any non-UT funding to be provided to Scholar.
      3. Confirm dates of UT visit with scholar. Remember to allow enough time for visa issuance. If length of entire stay is not yet determined, please use the dates for currently confirmed time. The permission to stay can easily be extended after the scholar’s arrival. See regulations for extension.
      4. Obtain scholar’s information for the Request Form. It is especially important to gather information about any J-1 visits in the last two years. This information MUST be complete and accurate to avoid a violation of U.S. law.
      5. Verify English language skills through personal/telephone interview, letter of recommendation, or TOEFL or other exam. A letter or e-mail from the scholar, or articles published in English, are often not accurate indications of actual English ability.
      6. Department representative (not the scholar) should complete Sections I – VI of the J-1 Scholar Request Form; please answer all questions.
      7. Attach the required documentation:
        • Official documentation of financial support (in English) from any source other than the host department (a letter or e-mail from the scholar is not sufficient). Letter of financial support should be on letterhead or have other official “seal” and must include 1) source of support 2) dates of financial support 3) amount of support for entire period, or per month and 4) a statement that this support will be provided while the scholar is on the U.S. or at The University of Tennessee.
        • If the scholar is in the U.S., copy of current I-94 for self and dependents
        • Copies of all DS-2019 Forms issued for the scholar in last two years (even if scholar is no longer in the U.S.)
        • Copy of the biographical page of the passport for the scholar and any accompanying dependents
        • Dependent information for any spouse or minor children who will accompany the scholar (names; date of birth; place of birth; gender; country of citizenship; country of legal permanent residence. This can be provided on a blank sheet of paper.
        • Documentation or written explanation if UT funding was obtained specifically for this Scholar or for international exchange. This does not apply to regular research grants.
      8. Obtain signatures from the host professor and the department head (Section VII)
      9. If the scholar will be employed by UT: Complete Section VIII of Request Form. Obtain signature from Office of Human Resources.

Submit Request Form and additional documents to CIE at least 2 months before the internship will begin

If CIE has questions or concerns about the request, the Host Professor and/or Department Head will be contacted. If all information is complete, and the visitor meets the criteria for a J-1 scholar, his/her name will be entered into the SEVIS database, maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A Form DS-2019 can then be issued from the SEVIS database and will be shipped/mailed to the scholar (according to host department instructions) along with a “Welcome Letter”.

After the Scholar’s Arrival

      1. The scholar must check-in with the CIE no more than 30 days after the starting date of the DS-2019. The scholar will be asked to report local address and proof of health insurance coverage, and then the scholar’s SEVIS record will be “validated”. No appointment is necessary. See the Check-in and Orientation page for more information.
      2. Complete forms necessary for IRIS entry for scholar and submit to Human Resources. If the scholar will not be employed by UT, a “Guest Form” should be completed if the visit will be longer than one month. Contact Human Resources for more information about this procedure. If the scholar does not yet have a Social Security Number, this field can be left blank. Human Resources will assign a number for UT purposes only (do not wait for the SSN).
      3. If scholar will be a regular employee, arrangements should be made for him/her to attend the Orientation for New Employees offered by Human Resources (in addition to the CIE orientation).
      4. When the Scholar departs from UT, submit Departure Notification Form to CIE, signed by the department head. If the scholar is absent from campus for more than 30 days, host department must notify CIE.