Exchange Visitor Categories

The following are brief descriptions of the J-1 categories. Although a department may request a certain category for an Exchange Visitor (EV), International Students and Scholars will make the final determination of the appropriate category for the EV. Departments should note that the J-1 participant shall not be a candidate for a tenure track position. Although the position may be a permanent position at Cal Poly, the department and the EV must agree that the EV’s time in the position will be temporary. To qualify for a J-1 scholar visa, the applicant must have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. Spouses and children may accompany the EV on a J-2 visa.


An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting in a post-secondaryaccredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. Aprofessor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

Research Scholar

An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with research project institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture.

Professors and research scholars may be sponsored as exchange visitors only if they have appropriate academic or similar credentials, will participate in a program that “promotes interchange, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries” and have planned activities that are compatible with those objectives.

The Department of State does not specify minimum academic credentials; however, as a general rule, a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with extensive experience in the relevant field is adequate documentation of bona fide research scholar status.

The minimum length of stay for a J-1 professor or research scholar is three weeks. The maximum length of stay is five years. The International Center may grant an extension of up to six additional months if the extension is for good cause for the purpose of providing time necessary to complete teaching and research responsibilities. These responsibilities might include teaching the final quarter of courses, completing and writing up the results of a research project, or presenting findings at a professional or scientific meeting [22 CFR 514.20(i) and (j)]. Requests for extensions beyond six months may be approved by the Department of State.

Short-term Scholar

Defined as “a professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museum, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions” [22 CFR 514.4(b)]. There is no minimum length of stay. The maximum length of stay for a short-term scholar is six months. The short-term scholar is not permitted to apply for an extension of stay beyond six months.

Student Intern

Student will fulfill educational objectives at the home institution by completing the internship at Cal Poly. Work must be at least 32 hours per week and not more than 50% clerical duties. Student must have sufficient English language proficiency to conduct day-to-day activities. Internship supervisor completes DS-7002 form which outlines specifics of the internship plan including goals and objectives, and performs a review every six months.

For more information visit the Information for Departments page, contact the International Center at 805-756-1477, or email Susan Tripp ( or Judy Mitchell (