J-1 Visas

IW ISSS hosts many different categories and subcategories of J-1 Exchange Visitors visas.

Information for J-1 Degree-Seeking Students

Information for J-1 Exchange Students

Information for J-1 Scholars (Researcher/ Professor/Short Term- Scholar)

Cultural Goals and Components of the J-1 Program

International Affairs mission of the EV program is to promote cultural exchange between international and domestic students, faculty, staff and community members.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides support to international students, visiting scholars and exchange students in matters related to their non-immigrant status by complying with immigration rules and federal regulations. Services we offer:

  • J-1 Immigration Advising and Services
  • Cultural adjustment and personal advising
  • Community and campus outreach activities and events
  • International mentoring program
  • Act a liaison between other UIW offices and international student needs

All EV's will learn U.S. Culture and customs, San Antonio history, the university mission and receive an emphasis on service to the community. All exchange visitors and any accompanying family members are also provided information to assist them in settling into the local community. Orientation or classroom instruction include, but are not limited to:

  • Life and customs in the United States (Acculturation)
  • Local community resources; to include public transportation, medical centers, schools, libraries, recreation centers and banks (Acculturation)
  • Available health care, emergency assistance (Acculturation, Health Services @ Orientation)
  • Insurance plans including medical evacuation (Health Services @ Orientation)
  • A description of the program in which the exchange visitor is participating is included in your admission packet
  • Rules that the exchange visitor is expected to follow under the sponsor’s program ( University Student Handbook)
  • Address of the Sponsor and the name and telephone number of the RO/ARO (Orientation)
  • Address and telephone number of the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State
  • A copy of the Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure (Acceptance Packet with DS-2019)
  • Additional components include the yearlong program activities , which include the following topics:
    • Etiquette and behavior
    • Education Systems
    • Communication
    • Grooming and personal hygiene
    • Clothing
    • Personal safety and crime
    • Interpersonal relationships
    • Money (banks, credit unions and savings)
    • Holidays
    • Automobiles
    • Modes of travel
    • Spectator sports
    • Eating establishments
    • Shopping
    • Illegal drugs and alcohol
    • Crimes- accused/arrested
    • Gambling


Specific information on what housing is provided and expected cost to the exchange visitor is included in your application and Financial Inserts.


A list of all fees to be paid by the exchange visitor are included in your International Financial Insert Sheet and the UIW Business Office website.

  • Visiting Faculty/Researches, degree seeking graduate students and short-term non degree programs prices vary and are published in your application for the specific category.
  • Undergraduate Exchange and Degree students: Below is an estimate of fees per each Fall or Spring term, note that fees are subject to change. All fees are mandatory and cannot be waived. Each course may require an additional course fee not listed as amounts vary from $10 to $100.

Per Semester

Fee Pricing by Semester
Student Center Fee, Technology, and Athletic Fee 430
Records Fee 40
Legacy Fee 45

Per Semester (approximate)

Expenses by Semester
Room + 3300*
Board 2382*
Transportation 521*
Personal 894*
Books 600*
Insurance (Per Month) 111

*based on Financial Aid Estimates

+ Room rates vary on choice of dorm. All dorms include room, provided furniture (1 bed - twin XL, 1 desk, 1 desk chair, and 1 dresser), utilities, local phone service, cable TV, wireless internet, and an Ethernet connection.

Please see Welcome Handbook, for information on how to apply for a driver’s license, how to open a bank account, and how to remain in lawful non-immigrant status

What is the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program?

The purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges, thereby strengthening the ties between the nations. There are fifteen different categories under the J-1 visa program: you are here in a “student” category. The J-1 visa accommodates your travel to the U.S. to study full-time, explore, and be a “citizen ambassador.” Please see the Department of State’s Welcome Brochure.

Two-year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Exchange Visitors subject to the 212(e) two-year home country physical presence requirement must return to their home countries and be physically present there for an aggregate of two years before being eligible to return to the U.S. in H, L, or immigrant (permanent resident/green card) status. When you apply for your J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy, the U.S. consular officer will check a box on your DS-2019 to indicate whether or not this requirement applies to you.

Health Insurance Requirements

You are required by U.S. law to have health insurance coverage during your entire stay in the U.S; the health insurance coverage must meet minimum requirements. You will automatically be enrolled and charged for insurance.

Program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits [22 CFR 62.14].

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

If you bring family members in J-2 status, they must also have health insurance coverage that meets these minimum requirements.

Contacting the U.S. Department of State

The Exchange Visitor Program is administered under the oversight of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State
State Annex SA-5, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20522-0505


Report Abuse or Exploitation – If you are mistreated and/or your rights are violated, and your sponsor is not providing the help you need, contact the Department of State for assistance:

J-1 Visa Emergency Hotline: 1-866-283-9090.

This line is for use by exchange visitors and third parties in the case of urgent situations. A Department of State representative is available 24 hours a day.

Regular Communications or questions:

Direct regular communications or questions to This e-mail address is to communicate non-emergency issues, questions, and concerns.

Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers and Students

The U.S. government is committed to fighting human trafficking and labor abuses. You have rights and protections in the U.S., and there are resources if you need help. Learn about your rights and protections, and review the Wilberforce pamphlet, created at the prompting of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (Public Law 110-457).