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 program allows UMass Lowell faculty/staff to bring international researchers to campus to participate in collaborative research efforts. These researchers are typically faculty members, researchers, or postdoctoral research associates from educational institutions located outside the United States.

Duration of Program

The duration of program for a J-1 Research Scholar is longer than 6 months and can be extended for up to 5 years.

The duration of program for a J-1 Short-Term Scholar is no more than 6 months and cannot be extended beyond the 6-month limit.

Invitation Letter

The ISSO has provided a Sample Invitation Letter (pdf) for your reference. The UMass Lowell faculty host must draft this letter and include it as part of the J-1 e-form (more information regarding this e-form is provided below). This letter will need to be sent to the scholar via email, as they will need to present this at their eventual visa interview and upon arrival to the U.S.

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 e-form. 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. Please review the below resources for more information on the J-1 e-form process:

Job Aid 1: Guide for Requesting Access to UMass VIP (formerly iStart) - for Departmental Administrators/PIs only

Job Aid 2: Completing the J-1 Scholar e-form

Once the e-form 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 their nearest embassy. Depending on the applicant, their country of citizenship, and their field of research, and wait times for embassy appointments, the timetable to obtain the visa could vary greatly. An ISSO advisor should be able to assess circumstances to determine an estimated timeline as to when the scholar may be able to arrive to the U.S.

Once the visa is issued, the research scholar is permitted to enter the U.S. as early as 30 days before the program start date listed on their visa document. Scholars may enter the U.S. at any time within this 30-day period so that they may get settled and prepare for their 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 scholar plan to bring dependents along with him/her/them, the J-1 eForm allows the scholar to include pertinent information and documentation so that the ISSO advisor can prepare visa documents for dependents as well. J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization once they have arrived to the U.S. 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.