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International Student and Scholar Support

General Information About J-1 Scholars

International Student and Scholar Support is dedicated to University of South Carolina’s mission of educating the state's citizens and takes seriously the university’s responsibility to state and society to promote the dissemination of knowledge, cultural enrichment, and an enhanced quality of life. Facilitating the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, BridgeUSA, prepares world citizens and develops global leaders right here in South Carolina. We strive to be an integral resource for our international scholars, and their hosting departments as the exchange of knowledge and culture moves us toward deeper understanding, diplomatic ties, and an overall more peaceful and interconnected world.

Most of the international scholars that come to the University of South Carolina participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. In some cases, other visa options such as H-1B may be more appropriate and will be facilitated via HR-OIS.

Under the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, USC hosts three categories of visitors: short-term scholars, professors/research scholars and student interns. 

Providing a clear explanation of the rights, responsibilities, requirements, and options to international scholars is a partnership between ISSS advisors and the faculty in the respective academic department. Before you start the process of requesting a DS-2019 for an exchange visitor, be aware of the departmental responsibilities and that the following eligibility requirements for the prospective exchange visitor must be met:

To qualify for a short-term or research scholar category, the prospective exchange visitor must have a master’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 master’s degree, a third party credentials evaluation may be necessary. If the prospective exchange visitor does not yet have a master’s degree, but is an enrolled degree seeking student in their home country, he/she might qualify for the student intern category.

The scholar must provide proof of sufficient funding for the duration of their stay ($2,267 per month for the J-1, $555 per month for the first dependent, $444 per month for each additional dependent).

The Department of State (DOS) requires all participants of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program to have and maintain health insurance which covers the exchange visitor and all accompanying family members for the entire duration of their DS-2019-even if the dependents (J-2) are arriving in the U.S. at a later date of the principal (J-1). See health insurance requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors. Please note that this requirement holds even if the principal or dependents are temporarily abroad. Proof of health insurance for J-1 and J-2s must be provided at the ISSS check-in appointment. The J-1 exchange program will only accept health insurance that meets the required coverage amounts specified in the link above.  The PEBA Standard Plan does not meet J-1 minimum requirements.  Failure to maintain adequate health insurance for the principal and all dependents is considered to be a violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, which will result in termination of the J status. More information about health insurance for J-1 scholars can be found here.

The exchange visitor’s English language skills must be objectively assessed and be sufficient for the visitor to interact with English speakers, successfully to participate in their program, conduct research at an American university, and to function on a day-to-day basis. More about English proficiency requirements can be found here.

The exchange visitor must have a USC faculty supervisor during their entire stay and the visitor must be eligible for an HR appointment within the department.

Supervisors agree to:

  • Notify ISSS in writing before any material changes to EV’s program activities, including but not limited to: duties, appointment dates, schedule, supervisor, compensation (if applicable), and/or site(s);
  • Actively monitor EV’s wellbeing and notify ISSS immediately of any serious incident involving EV;
  • Actively engage EV in opportunities to participate in cross-cultural activities (e.g., Departmental meetings and social gatherings, lectures, colloquia to share research findings, etc.);
  • Assist EV and any accompanying dependents with settling into the Columbia-area community (e.g., welcoming the EV upon arrival at the airport, securing housing, etc.); and
  • Provide EV with equitable supervision/training/resources to support program activities and goals.


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