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H-1 | J-1 Scholar | B Visitor & Visa Waiver | O-1 | TN | Permanent Residency

J-1 Scholar Academic Host Unit Responsibilities

When considering whether to host a J-1 scholar, MSU Departments should ensure that they are prepared to provide adequate academic and logistical support to the J-1 scholar.

Departmental Fees

  1. Under most circumstances, hosting a J-1 scholar is free of charge. Whether the host department or the scholar pays the $180 SEVIS fee (SEVIS Fee Information) is completely at the host department's discretion.
  2. If the host department will ask the scholar to pay a fee for the privilege of being hosted as a J-1 scholar, then OISS will charge your department a processing fee. The fees are $100 for J-1 Short-Term Scholars and $350 for J-1 Research Scholars or J-1 Professors.

Academic Support

MSU has defined the following requirements of the relationship between the collaborator/mentor (usually the faculty host) and the J-1 scholar:

  1. The collaborator/mentor should ensure that the scholar has the academic support for a successful program which should include regular collaborative contact (recommended monthly at minimum) and any necessary access to library facilities, seminars, course observation and office resources.
  2. The collaborator/mentor should maintain regular and timely contact/communication with OISS regarding issues/concerns and encourage the scholar to do the same.
  3. Note that the scholar will be required to leave the USA if she/he should lose her/his mentor assignment and is not able to find an alternative suitable arrangement.
  4. The collaborator/mentor and Visiting Scholar engagement is critical for success but the responsibility for the Visiting Scholar appointment rests with the college, department and school.

Logistical Support

MSU departments wishing to host a J-1 scholar should be prepared to provide support in the following areas:

Housing Arrangements

The department is responsible for making housing arrangements for the J-1 scholar and any accompanying family members. Please finalize these arrangements prior to the scholar's arrival. If the scholar would prefer to live on the MSU campus, please review on-campus guest housing options at

Airport Pickup

The department should ensure that the scholar has safe transportation from the airport to their lodgings. If the scholar is flying into the Lansing Capital City Airport, please arrange for a departmental representative to pick them up. If the scholar is flying into the Detroit Metro Airport, please either send a representative to pick them up or help them book a ticket on the Michigan Flyer bus service (, which runs from the Detroit Metro Airport to the City Center Marriott in East Lansing. If the bus service is used, please arrange to pick up the scholar at the Marriott.

Initial Shopping Trip

Please assist the scholar in obtaining items that are immediately necessary (i.e. bedding, towels, basic cooking supplies if needed). This usually involves a single trip to a discount retailer (i.e. Meijer, Wal-Mart) and/or a grocery store. Thereafter the scholar should be able to either navigate the CATA bus system ( or purchase/lease a car for use while they are here.

Check-in at OISS

The department should ensure that the scholar checks in with OISS as soon as possible after arrival. Failure to check in with OISS in a timely manner can result in a loss of J-1 visa status.

If the scholar has not checked in by the program start date, OISS will send an email to the scholar and to the department contact person requesting information about the scholar's arrival. Please be mindful of the fact that scholars can arrive up to 30 days prior to the start date and up to 20 days after the start date.

The scholar should bring the following documents to the check-in:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • Emergency contact information - one contact in home country and one in US

Social Security Number

It would be helpful, though not required, if the department could provide transportation to and from the Social Security Administration office in Lansing so the scholar can apply for a Social Security number. Please remember that it is important for the scholar to wait 10 days after arriving in the US before he/she applies for a Social Security number.

Only scholars who will also be employed are required to obtain a Social Security Number. Scholars who will not be employed are eligible to apply, however they are not required to do so.

Departure Notification

It is essential that the OISS is notified when a scholar departs the US. If a scholar departs much earlier than the expected end date, the OISS has no way of knowing this unless the scholar or department sends a notification. If the scholar is nearing the expected end date, the OISS will send email notifications to the scholar requesting that if he/she plans to leave on time, before departure the scholar should fill out the OISS Notice of Departure Form (PDF)*.

If the OISS does not receive a prompt response from the scholar, the department contact will be copied on future emails to the scholar. Departments who receive such emails should be prepared to work with the scholar to ensure that the OISS is properly notified of all future program plans, including departure, extension, or transfer.

Extensions and Updates

If the department wishes to extend a scholar's J-1 program length, it is the department's responsibility to submit the DS-2019 extension request. If there are any other material changes to a scholar's program such as finance updates, a new site of activity, a new faculty host, etc., it is the department's responsibility to submit a DS-2019 update request.
Request for Program Extension (PDF)*
Update Notification Request (PDF)*

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.