7 facts you need to know about J-1 Research Scholar Transfers

For most J-1 visa categories, a transfer from one J-1 visa sponsor to another is very unusual. However, many factors unique to the Research Scholar program make transferring to a new sponsor commonplace.  Most J-1 Research Scholars are sponsored directly by the academic or medical institution hosting them. The maximum length of the program is five years and most participant research positions range from one to three years. With their original research position concluding, many participants hope to continue their research at another research institution in the U.S. This creates a problem, as academic and medical institution sponsors can only sponsor J-1 Research Scholars completing research at their institution. CIEE has the solution: we offer J-1 Research Scholar transfers.

As a sponsor of BridgeUSA programs, CIEE can sponsor Research Scholars to complete research at institutions and companies that are not sponsors themselves. So, whether you are a J-1 Research Scholar participant hoping to continue your research with another U.S. research institution or an organization interested in hosting someone currently on a J-1 Researcher Scholar, we can help!

Below are 7 facts you need to know about J-1 Research Scholar transfers!

1. Transfers do not require a new visa, making transfers easy!

Because the participant is already in the U.S. with their J-1 visa, they are not required to leave the U.S. to obtain a new visa upon completion of the transfer. Once the transfer is complete, we will provide the Research Scholar participant with an updated DS-2019 containing all the information they need to remain in the U.S. and complete their research.

2. You can transfer and extend your program at the same time!

Upon completing a transfer to CIEE sponsorship, we can extend the Research Scholar’s program up to the five-year maximum duration.

3. J-2 Dependents transfer with the J-1.

If the J-1 Research Scholar has any J-2 dependents with them, we will transfer the dependents to CIEE sponsorship and provide them updated DS-2019s as well!

4. Sponsors have their own processes for transferring participants off their sponsorship.

A J-1 Research Scholar participant should always check in with their current sponsor first regarding their transfer request. Every sponsor manages transfers from their sponsorship differently. Some sponsors require additional forms to be completed by the participant and new sponsor, and some have an online process. Also, many sponsors require that transfer requests be submitted at least 1-2 weeks before the requested transfer date. The J-1 participant should know their sponsor’s transfer process and how long it takes for them to process transfer requests before formally requesting to transfer to a new sponsor.

5. The research before and after the transfer need to be closely related.

The research being conducted through the original sponsor/hosting organization should connect to the research at the future hosting organization. The new research role and responsibilities do not need to be an exact replica of the original research, but the J-1 participant should be able to draw a clear line showing how the research roles and subject matter connect to each other.

6. The Research Scholar can begin their role at their new hosting organization when transfer is complete.

The J-1 participant can begin their research role with their new organization the same day the transfer is completed! The SEVIS record will be updated that day in order for us to print and ship the updated DS-2019 to the J-1 participant.

7. CIEE has the answers to your questions!

The CIEE J-1 Professional Exchange Programs team are experts on the J-1 professional visa categories. If you have questions regarding Research Scholar transfers, please complete the contact us form and one of our J-1 visa experts will be in touch.

I hope this information was helpful. We look forward to hearing from you!

Daniel Katyl – Account Manager, CIEE Professional Exchange Programs

CIEE is a nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization that transforms lives and builds bridges between individuals and nations by sponsoring a wide variety of opportunities for the exchange of ideas and experiences. CIEE is a sponsor of the U.S. Department of State’s BridgeUSA program including the following J-1 visa designations: Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Trainee, Intern, Secondary School Student, Specialist, Camp Counselor, and Summer Work Travel.