Office of Global Engagement

Telephone: 706-542-2900

Click here for our recently updated FAQ Regarding Immigration Status and Services at UGA

Please note: In order to best serve our students and scholars during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration Services will continue to mail documents through fall semester to reduce in-person office visits. See here for more information.

UGA's Exchange Visitor Program sponsors qualified students, teachers, professors, research scholars, specialists, and trainees for a variety of educational purposes. Our programs provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in academic exchanges and then return home to share their experiences. An Exchange Visitor at the University of Georgia is a foreign national who is coming temporarily to the United States for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange. The principal exchange visitor obtains a J-1 visa; the spouse and children (under 21 years of age) obtain J-2 visas.

  • Eligibility +

    UGA funded Exchange Visitor scholar or professor sponsorship is limited to non-tenure track, and non-permanent positions: Outside (non-UGA) funded Exchange Visitor sponsorship requires the person to hold at least one advanced post-Baccalaureate degree, or to be an active candidate for a PhD degree.

    Important Points about the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Request
    • Scholars must plan to enter the U.S. *before* the start date listed on the DS-2019 form. If a scholar cannot enter by this date, the scholar must inform our office so we may amend the start date. If a scholar tries to enter the U.S. after the listed start date, he or she could be denied entry to the U.S.
    • Scholars must complete online immigration check in upon arrival on campus. Failure to complete this check in, may result in the termination the immigration record, and the scholar will lose legal status in the U.S.
    • The U.S. State department requires that Exchange Visitors prove a certain level of English ability in order to receive a J-1 sponsorship from UGA.
  • Sponsorship Process +

    UGA welcomes the opportunity to host Visiting Researchers and Scholars (VRS), at all levels from undergraduate to faculty or professional, and works to assure that they have a productive visit.

    When a UGA department invites an international scholar to campus, Immigration Services issues a DS-2019 form, which authorizes the scholar to apply for the J-1 exchange visitor visa at a U.S. embassy. While at UGA, a scholar may need to request a revised or updated DS-2019 form, or a new form for accompanying dependents. 

    NOTE: If the scholar is new to UGA, the inviting UGA department must initiate the sponsorship process.  Contact your sponsoring department to see if they have begun the initial sponsorship process with our office.

    Immigration Services has an online portal where departments and visiting scholar can submit requests for visa sponsorship.  This portal is called Compass and can be accessed below:

    Compass

    Visa Sponsorship Timeframes

    Processing times for J-1 initial processing with consular visa application: 1 to 3 months. Immigration Services Advisors will do their best to expedite every case. We appreciate your patience with delays beyond our control

  • English Assessment +

    To ensure UGA’s compliance with United States Department of State regulations, English language proficiency for scholars seeking J-1 visas and whose applications are received on or after September 15, 2017, must be documented in one of the following three ways.

    1. Test Score
    2. Documentation from a Previous Institution
    3. Interview
    Immigration Services’ full policy for English Assessment

    J-1 English Proficiency

  • Pre-Arrival Information for Visiting Scholars +

    The information below may be helpful to scholar while making plans to come to The University of Georgia.

    Pre-Arrival Information

    Exchange Visitor Orientation
    UGA Exchange Visitor Handbook for Scholars and Departments

    This guide seeks to inform UGA departments and scholars about the process for hosting international visitors from obtaining a visa to successfully concluding the program. We hope that you will not hesitate to contact us with any questions pertaining to international scholars at UGA and the information in this guide. For more comprehensive resources, please visit is.uga.edu.

    UGA Visiting Scholar Handbook