About J Program

An Exchange Visitor or J Scholar is a foreign national who is coming temporarily to the United States for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange, not employment. The principal exchange visitor obtains a J-1 Visa; the spouse and minor children obtain J-2 Visas.

Exchange Visitor Categories

Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) and Southwest use the following Exchange Visitor categories:


An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at the specified Community College from three weeks to five years in duration. This cannot be used for a tenure track position. The visiting professor must have the minimum equivalent of an earned U.S. Bachelor's degree with extensive additional research experience. The maximum stay is five years.

Short-term Scholar

A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the Community College for a short-term visit of 1 day to 6 months for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating a special skill. The maximum stay is six months.

Student (College/University)

Participants in this category must be pursuing a full course of study at the specified Community College. Academic training is permitted, if approved by the program sponsor, but study must be the primary purpose of the exchange visitor's program in the United States. Students are eligible for participation when they are not substantially supported by personal funds and when they meet the funding requirements set forth by the regulations. The duration of participation for college and university students is unlimited, as long as they are enrolled full time in programs that lead to a degree. If enrolled in a non-degree program, the duration of participation shall not exceed 24 months, including academic training.

To be eligible for the J-1 Visa an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • must have a faculty/department sponsor or temporary academic appointment at the Community College;
  • must have adequate financial support for all living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying family members, either from the Community College or any other sources;
  • must maintain health insurance which covers for sicknesses or accidents during the period of time when they are in J status. Failure to maintain health insurance coverage may jeopardize a J Visa holder's status.