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International Student and Scholar Support

J-1 Scholars and Student Interns

Exchange Visitors at the University of South Carolina are non-degree seeking exchange visitors such as visiting professors, research scholars, short term scholars and student interns. These Scholars and Student Interns take part in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, a Federal program administered by the U.S. Department of State which implements the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. This Act promotes mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The Exchange Visitor Program provides eligible foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the United States and then return home to share their experiences. The J-1 Exchange Program is category specific and they vary according to research activity, immigration history, the possibility of repeat visits to the U.S., anticipated length of stay, and the possibility of extension to that length of stay. The host department at UofSC  is responsible for deciding visiting scholar’s category. 

Visiting J-1 Scholar Eligibility Requirements

The Scholar must have a Bachelor’s degree in hand at the time of application. If there is question as to whether the Exchange Visitor’s degree is the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree, a third party credentials evaluation may be necessary. If the Scholar does not yet have a Bachelor’s degree, but is an enrolled degree seeking student in their home country, please see the J-1 Student Intern Program.


You must provide UofSC evidence of adequate financial support for your stay in the U.S. UofSC estimates the minimum cost of living to be $2,267 USD per month for the J-1 scholar, plus $555 per month for the first accompanying J-2 dependent and $444 for each additional J-2 dependent. You also must show proof of health insurance that means J-1 minimums.

Certification may come from a scholarship or fellowship, personal savings, a salary from UofSC, other verified funding, or a combination thereof. If you will be paid by UofSC, the salary will count towards the total certification amount.  

  • If your funding comes from UofSC, the hiring department must determine appropriate compensation and issue an offer letter accordingly.
  • If your funding comes from sources outside of UofSC, the host department will appoint you as a non-salaried affiliate per policy UNIV 2.50.
  • Scholars supported by an organization other than UofSC must submit a signed letter of financial award on official stationary from their home institution or sponsoring agency; the award letter must include the name of the recipient, the funding time period and the amount of support in U.S. Dollars that will be provided.
  • Scholars supported by personal funds must submit an official bank letter verifying funds available in U.S. dollars. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a translation. Scholars should keep a copy of financial documents to submit to the U.S. consulate during the visa application process. 

NOTE: You may need additional funding to pay out-of-pocket health care and/or health insurance expenses for yourself/your family members.  

All J-1 Exchange Visitors must maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of the exchange program. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance (for yourself and all dependents) is considered to be a violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, which will result in termination of your J-1 program. Proof of health insurance is requested at the ISSS Check-in when the Scholar arrives at UofSC.


English Language proficiency is required to participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. To participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, you need to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues and to complete daily tasks as part of living in the U.S. More information here.

Process for Arrival

  1. Obtain offer letter from hosting department
  2. Submit DS-2019 request form
  3. Submit financial certification form
  4. Hosting department submits Supervisor Agreement
  5. Obtain DS-2019 and apply for J-1 visa at your home consulate

Orientation and Arrival

Upon arrival to the U.S., make an appointment with International Student & Scholar Services to check in and attend orientation.

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