The J-1 status is a non-immigrant status  that allows academic institutions to bring international scholars to the U.S. to participate in research, teaching and study in support of the objectives of public diplomacy and mutual educational and cultural exchange.

UW–Madison is approved by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to serve as a J-1 sponsor for international scholars to participate in research, teaching and degree programs at UW–Madison.  The J-1 scholar categories at UW–Madison are Research Scholar, Professor, Short-term Scholar, and Specialist. All decisions relating the employee’s J-1 program must be made by the department including choosing the category, the dates of the program, and the duties. IFSS, in partnership with the host department, are required to “ensure that the activities in which exchange visitors are engaged are consistent with the category and activity listed on their Forms DS-2019.” 22 CFR § 62.10(d)(1)


The J-1 non-immigrant process is completed in-house by IFSS. IFSS has been granted the authority by the DOS to create the DS-2019, the J-1 immigration document. This process is a 3-way partnership between IFSS, the hiring department, and the scholar.

The hiring department is encouraged to contact IFSS with any questions about the J-1 process and to discuss procedures.

IFSS uses Terra Dotta System (TDS) for all J-1 requests. If you do not have TDS access, please contact your Dean’s office. The Dean’s office will find a TDS user in your hiring department who can help you, or the Dean’s office will ask IFSS to grant you access if you meet the eligibility requirements.

All J-1s must meet UW–Madison’s financial requirements and English proficiency requirements.


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J-2 Spouse & Children

A J-1 scholar’s  immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to enter and remain in the U.S. as J-2 dependents during the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s Program.

To request a DS-2019 for a family member who wishes to apply for a J-2 dependent visa, please initiate the request through Terra Dotta. You will need to upload a copy of the biographical page of each dependent’s passport, a marriage certificate if you will bring a J-2 spouse (with translation if not in English), a birth certificate for any J-2 children (with translation if not in English), and proof of financial support to cover your family’s living expenses and health insurance for the duration of your program.

J-2 dependent status is reliant upon your J-1 Exchange Visitor status. Therefore, you cannot exit the U.S. and leave your J-2 dependents in the U.S. for long periods of time. Once your J-1 program is complete or if your program is terminated, you and your dependents must exit the U.S. together.

J-2 dependents may apply for employment authorization through U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) after arriving in the United States. The J-2 cannot apply for work permission until they are in the U.S. Visit this page for application procedures and fees.

Once work permission is approved, the J-2 will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will allow them to begin work. They must present the EAD to their employing unit before they can begin working. UW-Madison requires an EAD card even for unpaid positions in campus departments.

J-2 dependents may enroll in full-time or part-time study for the duration of your J-1 program.