J-1 research scholars (including short-term scholars) and professors may be authorized to participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations that are incidental to the J-1 scholar’s primary program activities. The authorization must be obtained from the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) prior to engaging in the activity.

The proposed employment must:

  1. Be directly related to the objectives of the scholar’s Exchange Visitor Program duties at UMass Lowell*;
  2. Be incidental to the scholar’s primary UMass Lowell program activities*;
  3. Not delay the completion of the scholar’s UMass Lowell Exchange Visitor Program*; and
  4. Be documented in SEVIS

*ISSO will collect the relevant information and documentation from the scholar and UMass Lowell supervisor within the academic department to ensure compliance.

If the J-1 scholar will receive wages or other compensation for the short-term lecture or consultation, the J-1 scholar must act as an independent contractor. The regulations do not allow for a sustained employer/employee relationship with the employer where the incidental employment will take place.

Types of Incidental Employment

Please review the examples below. Note that these that are not inclusive of all possible occurrences of incidental employment but are provided to help inform J-1 scholars about potential incidental employment situations. Please consult an ISSO advisor to confirm whether a prospective incidental employment is compliant.

  1. A J-1 scholar will provide occasional lectures or short-term consultations at an on campus or off-site location and will be reimbursed by UMass Lowell.
  2. A J-1 scholar will present at a conference and will receive reimbursement for flights, hotels, or meals or stipend from conference organizers or a third-party institution.
  3. A J-1 scholar will be a guest lecture for a seminar series and will receive a stipend from an outside institution or UMass Lowell.
  4. A J-1 scholar will provide unpaid occasional lectures or short-term consultations.

If your employer will pay you as a consultant, contractor, or only for travel reimbursement, i.e. for an occasional lecture or consultation, you are considered an independent contractor. This means that you will not be on the employer's payroll, and you will not need to complete a Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) in order to begin working. In this situation, your off-campus work authorization will take the form of a letter of authorization from the ISSO. Once obtained, be sure to keep this letter with your immigration records in case you will need to present it when applying for future immigration benefits.

If the incidental employment is sustained, meaning that you are working for a full semester or longer and you will be paid as a regular employee on payroll, your authorization to work will include a new Form DS-2019 from the ISSO showing the name of the off-campus employer and the amount you will be paid.

Requesting Authorization for Incidental Employment

To request authorization for incidental, occasional lectures or short-term consultations, the scholar should contact the ISSO.