The Human Resources department at LJI assists in bringing foreign scholars to the Institute in eligible positions, ensuring institutional compliance with applicable immigration-related regulations and maintaining LJI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

LJI Contacts:

Jenna Pasut Ehinger

Human Resources Manager
Responsible Officer for LJI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
Email: jpasut@lji.org

Lizzy Dorner

Senior Human Resources Coordinator
Alternate Responsible Officer for LJI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
Email: edorner@lji.org

Sara Clark

Human Resources Analyst
Alternate Responsible Officer for LJI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
Email: smclark@lji.org

Shantille Yu

Human Resources Assistant
Alternate Responsible Officer for LJI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
Email: syu@lji.org

Visa and Travel Information

Information on procedures and items you need for applying for a US visa, entering/reentering the US, and traveling outside the US.

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  • The TN visa may be offered to Canadian and Mexican citizens intending to work at LJI. The maximum initial period of stay for TN visa holders is 3 years. HR will provide more information on this visa type at the time of offer if applicable.
  • You must fill out the J-1 Visitor Application (provided by HR upon offer) with your name and any dependents’ names that you intend on bringing to the US exactly as they appear on the passport.
    • Dependents are considered a legal spouse and/or children under the age of 21
  • After filling out the J-1 Visitor Application, Human Resources will enter your information into SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and process a DS-2019 form for yourself and any dependents’ noted in the application. This will be electronically emailed to the J-1 Visitor and it is their responsibility to print and keep this document.
  • Please sign the bottom of the DS-2019 in BLUE INK.
  • Do NOT lose this form.
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) charges a $220 fee for J-1 scholars. This fee is in addition to the visa fee(s) required by the US Consulate or Embassy. You must pay the SEVIS fee and obtain a receipt before you apply for a J-1 visa to start a new J-1 Exchange Visitor program. The fee can be paid online by credit card; make sure you have a printer ready to print the electronic receipt when you make the payment.
  • Visit this site for more information and instructions on how to pay. You will not be able to pay this until you receive your DS-2019.
  • The US Department of State requires that J holders fill out the DS-160, an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. Make sure you fill this out after receiving the DS-2019 and before attending the visa appointment.
  • Reminder: J-1s and J-2 dependents must have the intention to return to their home country upon completion of the J-1 program and maintain a residence abroad to which they intend to return. They cannot have the intention to stay in the US permanently or indefinitely. The question of intent may come up when applying for a J-1 or J-2 visa, entering or reentering the US, or applying to change to J-1 or J-2 status from within the US.
  • What to do before your visa appointment
    • Receive your DS-2019 from Human Resources
    • Pay the SEVIS fee online at least 3 days in advance
    • Complete the DS-160 online
    • Complete the DS-7002 if applicable. Human Resources will reach out to you if you are required to do so.
    • Make an appointment at the US Consulate or Embassy you will visit
    • Pay the visa application fee and, if applicable, the visa issuance (reciprocity) fee following the instructions provided by the US Consulate or Embassy you will visit.
    What to present at your visa appointment
    • Passport: valid for at least 6 months from when you enter/reenter the US
    • Recent offer or verification letter from LJI
    • Credentials, including applicable diplomas, transcripts, licenses, certificates, or other documentation
    • Any other documents required by the US Consulate or Embassy you will visit, such as CV and/or US tax forms/statements
    • Carry US immigration-related documents from any previous stays in the US, such as I-797 Approval Notices and DS-2019s, in case they are needed
    • If dependent(s), marriage or birth certificate showing relationship to principal applicant
  • Plan ahead and allow ample time for visa processing. Lengthy administrative processing, including security checks, can delay visa issuance by several weeks or even months. It is generally recommended that you apply for a visa in your home country. Some US Consulates and Embassies allow third country nationals (i.e. you are applying outside of your home country) to apply for visas under some circumstances, however, individuals could encounter problems. If you are delayed or denied a visa, you will not be allowed to reenter the US. If you are subject to a delay, please be sure to notify your lab and HR.
  • Please keep Human Resources and your supervisor informed regarding when you intend to enter the US.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors may enter the US up to 30 days before or after the J-1 program start date.
  • What to carry on your person for entry/reentry to the US
    • Passport – valid for at least 6 months from when you enter/reenter the US
    • Valid J-1 (or J-2) visa (stamp/sticker) issued by a US Consulate or Embassy
    • Valid Form DS-2019
      • The J-1 holder must sign and complete the Exchange Visitor Certification section at the bottom of their DS-2019 and the DS-2019s of any J-2 dependents
      • For continuing Js, it must be signed by the (Alternate) Responsible Officer in Human Resources at the bottom right
    • SEVIS fee receipt printout (required for initial entry, recommended for reentry)
    • Previously issued Forms DS-2019, if applicable (recommended; copies usually okay)
    • Evidence of J-1 employment/appointment at LJI, such as a recent offer letter or verification of employment letter from Human Resources.
      • For J-1s not solely funded by LJI, also carry a recent letter from financial sponsor (required for initial entry; recommended for reentry)
    • Credentials (e.g. diploma and/or transcripts for required level/field of education, licenses, or certificates) – copies are usually okay.
  • DO NOT pack your immigration-related documents in checked luggage. If any of your immigration documents have been forgotten, lost, or stolen, (re)entry to the US may be problematic
  • Make and keep copies of your current immigration documents (i.e. passport, visa, I-94, etc.) each time they are updated, including each time a new I-94 record is created for you upon readmission to the US. Please also provide a copy of any new immigration documents to HR.
  • Before entering another country, contact that country’s consulate or embassy for entry requirements. You may need to obtain a visa to enter that country depending on your country of citizenship and/or the purpose of your visit. HR can provide a letter verifying your employment at LJI.
  • Bring the immigration-related documents you will need for reentry to the US.


Important immigration and visa related terms for foreign scholars to know.

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  • Meant for anyone outside the US who wishes to take part in study and work-related exchange programs in the US. Participants are classified as J-1s and their dependents (legal spouse and/or children) as J-2s. LJI sponsors individuals in the J-1 Research Scholar category. The United States Department of State Welcome Brochure provides general information and rules.
  • An internet-based system in which the US Department Homeland Security (DHS) manages sponsoring institutions and tracks J-1 Exchange Visitors.
  • Individual who is appointed by a J-1 sponsoring institution (LJI) to administer its Exchange Visitor Program and who is authorized to issue and sign Form DS-2019
  • A document issued by an LJI (Alternate) Responsible Officer through SEVIS to scholars it sponsors in its J-1 program, as well as their J-2 dependent(s). The DS-2019 is the eligibility document for a visa that you will present at the US Consulate or Embassy at your J visa appointment. You will also present that DS-2019 to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer when you arrive in the US
  • Issued to a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the US. The foreign national must have a permanent residence abroad. J-1s and TNs are considered non-immigrant visas. Applicants of these visas must prove nonimmigrant intent (i.e. that their stay in the US is intended to be temporary and they intend to return abroad rather than remain in the US at the end of their nonimmigrant status).
  • A US visa is a permit issued by a US Consulate or Embassy used for admission to the US within a specified period of time for a particular purpose. It is a multicolored stamp/sticker that is affixed to a page in your passport. It contains your photo and specifies the visa classification that fits the purpose of your intended stay (e.g., to temporarily participate in a research project), as well as the period of time in which you may seek admission to the US. Every time you enter the US you must have a valid US visa appropriate for the purpose of your stay.
  • Immigration status is the legal condition allowing one to remain in the US for a specific purpose and period of time. Your class of admission (nonimmigrant status, J-1, J-2, etc.) and admitted until (expiration) date, which should be D/S for Js, are specified on the CBP admission stamp given in your passport by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival in the US and your I-94 record.
  • The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record, which contains your Admission Number and documents your permission to stay in the US in accordance with your nonimmigrant status. It is created electronically upon arrival at an air or sea Port of Entry by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The I-94 records your date of admission to the US, class of admission (status), admitted unit (expiration) date, and later your departure from the US.
  • If your I-94 record was created electronically at an air (or sea) Port of Entry, you can obtain your Admission Number and print out the electronic record of your I-94 from the CBP webpage. You should review and print out the electronic record of your I-94 shortly after reentry to the US.
  • CBP encourages travelers requiring an I-94 to use the CBP One™ mobile app.
  • A dependent is the spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 who accompanies (or later joins) an individual who is coming to the US temporarily for a specific purpose and period of time.
  • The dependent of a J-1 Exchange Visitor is classified as J-2
  • A grace period is a specific period of time during which an individual may remain in the US after completing a particular nonimmigrant program. J-1s and J-2 dependents have a 30-day grace period. The grace period is provided to allow time to prepare for departure from the US and/or travel within the US. No work, authorization for incidental activities, or travel out of and reentry into the US in the same status is allowed during the grace period.
  • Each foreign national, 18 years of age and order, are required by US law to carry evidence of registration documents.
  • Valid, unexpired US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admission stamps or I-94 satisfied this requirement. You should also carry valid government-issued identification, such as your unexpired passport, and your DS-2019 or I-797 approval notice.
  • Certain J-1s and their J-2 dependents are required to “reside and be physically present” in their home country (country of nationality/citizenship or legal permanent residence) for an aggregate of two years after completion of the J program.
  • J-1s and J-2s are subject to the Two-year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement, if:
    • The J-1 receives any funding, directly or indirectly, from his/her home country or from the US government at any time to support his/her J-1 program.
    • The J-2s skills (indicated on DS-2019 as subject/field code) are deemed to be in short supply by the home country according to the Exchange Visitor Skills List.
  • Until the J-1s and J-2s have fulfilled this 2-year requirement, they:
    • May not change their nonimmigrant status within the US
    • Are not eligible for H, L, or K visas
    • May not apply for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.
  • If the J-1 cannot fulfill the 2-year return commitment, he/she may be able to apply for a waiver, often on the basis of a “no objection” statement of the home country government and waiver recommendation from the US Department of State (DOS). However, the final authority to grant the waiver lies with US Citizenship and Immigration Services/Department of Homeland Security (USCIS/DHS). If a waiver is granted to a J-1, it will apply to any J-2 dependents as well.
  • Please note: if you are subject to the two year home country requirement, please let HR know.