J-1 Exchange Visitors

J-1 status is used for those coming to NU as visiting researchers, professors, and collaborators. They are called J-1 Exchange Visitors.

The category was created "to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges." -- U.S. Department of State

  • J-1 Exchange Visitors may receive a salary or stipend from various parties. They can receive funding from Northwestern, the government, private organizations, their current place of employment (outside the U.S.), or personal funds but the funding must meet the current living expense requirements. See the Visa Compliance and Restrictions page for a specific figure.
  • The length of a J-1 Exchange Visitor's stay ranges depending on his or her J-1 type; however, the maximum stay is five years.

Types of J-1 Exchange Visitors

Within the overall J-1 visa status, there are several different types of visitor. Each category is used for different purposes and valid for varying lengths of time. 


  • Visit purpose: To lecture, observe, consult, train staff, demonstrate special skill(s). This is not suitable for researchers.
  • Position at NU: Visiting Scholar; Visiting Predoctoral Fellow; Specialized non-research, non-staff position
  • Duration of visit: 1 day - 6 months


  • Visit purpose: To conduct research (primary focus), observe, consult, teach
  • Position at NU: Visiting Scholar, Visiting Predoctoral Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate
  • Duration of visit: 3 weeks - 5 years


  • Visit purpose: To teach (primary focus), lecture, observe, consult, research
  • Position at NU: Lecturer, Visiting Faculty, Visiting Scholar
  • Duration of visit: 3 weeks - 5 years

Student Intern

  • Visit purpose: To participate in a structured internship program
  • Position at NU: Intern
  • Duration of visit: 1 day - 12 months
  • Note: This is only for students who are currently pursuing a degree in their home country.  More information is available on our J-1 Student Intern page.

For further information regarding each category, please review our Types of J-1 Visas Table.

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