Three female and one male students pose for a group photo at the UMass Lowell Student Research Symposium

The J-1 Research Scholar/Short-Term Scholar is designed to allow a UMass Lowell faculty/staff member to bring an international researcher to campus to participate in collaborative research efforts. These researchers are typically faculty members or researchers at educational institutions located overseas, or postdoctoral research associates accepting a position at UMass Lowell, among others.

Duration of Program

A J-1 Research Scholar describes a scholar participating in an exchange lasting longer than 6 months, which can be extended up to a total of 5 years. A J-1 Short-Term Scholar describes a scholar participating in an exchange lasting no more than 6 months, which cannot be extended beyond this 6-month limit.

Required Documents and Process

Once the J-1 Research Scholar or Short-Term scholar process has been initiated, an ISSO advisor will work with the UMass Lowell faculty host to complete the UMass Lowell J-1 eForm. This online application will allow both the UML faculty host and the international researcher to provide information and documentation necessary for the ISSO to prepare the J-1 visa document.

You can find job aids describing the J-1 eForm process on the Forms & Guides section of the ISSO website, under the SCHOLAR FORMS tab. There, you will also find a template invitation letter, a document a UMass Lowell faculty host will need to draft and include as part of the larger J-1 eForm process. This letter will also need to be sent (electronically is fine) to the scholar, as they will need to present this at their eventual visa interview and upon arrival to the US.

Once the eForm is complete, and the ISSO has confirmation of both HR and Institutional Compliance approvals, an ISSO advisor can work to prepare the J-1 visa document.

With the visa document, the prospective research scholar can apply for a J-1 visa at the closest Embassy. Depending on the applicant, their country of citizenship and their field of research, among other factors, the time table to actually obtain the visa could vary greatly. An ISSO advisor should be able to assess the circumstances to determine an estimated timeline as to when the scholar may be able to arrive to the US.

Once the visa is issued, the research scholar is permitted to enter the US as early as 30 days before the program start date listed on their visa document to allow them to get settled and prepare for their J-1 program.


The ISSO will work the J-1 researcher to prepare Form DS-2019 J-2 visa documents for accompanying dependents (a spouse or children). Should the J-1 researcher plan to bring dependents along with him/her, the J-1 eForm will allow the scholar to include pertinent information and documentation so that the ISSO advisor can prepare visa documents for them as well. J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization once they have arrived to the US. Should a J-2 dependent wish to apply for work authorization upon arrival, they should consult the ISSO advisor managing their case.

For more information about J-2 work authorization options, please visit our J-2 Work Authorization webpage.