The Appointment Process

Hosting Professor Responsibilities:

  • Extends initial informal offer to potential candidate
  • Submits Candidate info into Visitor’s Central portal

What you need to know…

ISSS Processing times of J-1 visa appointments


Submission Deadline: 2-4 months in advance (submitted by Hosting Department)

Processing Time (DS-2019 preparation): 3 weeks+

J-1 Scholar Transfer

Submission Deadline: 4-6 weeks in advance (processed on specific date that scholar is "released" from prior institution)

Processing Time: 3 weeks

Extension/Revision DS-2019

Submission Deadline: 45 days prior to DS-2019 end date (submitted by Hosting Department)

Processing Time: 3 weeks

Processing time for Non- J-1 appointments

Notice of candidate appointment sent to Dean’s office - Dean Approval turnaround time approximately 1 - 2 weeks.

Funding Requirements

For Postdoctoral Researchers, funding must follow the NRSA levels (check with Michelle)   

For Visiting Scholars, funding is not required. However, Visiting Scholars on J-1 visa are required to meet minimum funding requirements. Immigration regulations require proof of sufficient supporting funds before an immigration document can be issued. The funding document must have been issued within the past 12 months. Funding documents must be in English.


J-1 English Language Proficiency Requirements 

This requirement may be met by one of the following options:

  1. An acceptable score on a recognized English language test such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
  2. Participation in an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) orated by the English Language Program.


In the following cases, an English proficiency interview is not required. The host department will attest to one of the following as part of the J-1 e-form application in iPenn:

  • The exchange visitor is a native speaker of English
  • The exchange visitor has completed a degree at an English speaking institution
  • The exchange visitor is transferring to Penn from an institution in the US
  • The exchange visitor is already at Penn and would like to extend their program
  • The exchange visitor has previously successfully completed his/her J-1 program without any language issue

J-1 Visitor Insurance Requirements (after Candidate arrival to Penn)

  1. Purchase a pre-selected J-1 Insurance Plan from Garnett-Powers at
  2. or waive out of the coverage requirement by submitting evidence of comparable or better insurance to Garnett-Powers at

Exchange Visitors and their dependents must be insured for the entirety of their stay meeting the following deductible amounts. Insurance levels will be monitored by administration every 6 months for verification.

Administrative Steps  

  • Administration receives appointment case for candidate via Visitor’s central.
  • Requests additional information from candidate or host if needed (I.e. passport, proof of degree or letter of degree approval from candidates’ institution): 
  • Administration drafts formal offer letter and 99-2 form (Document detailing financial info used as reference by Business office Admins)
  • Forwards all collected docs and offer letter to Dean’s office for approval
  • Upon Dean approval, administration submits offer letter to Candidate for signature.

Continue below for visa cases:

  • Administration initiates J-1 application (if applicable)
  • Administration express mails DS-2019 (with tracking) to candidate
  • Candidate interviews at home Embassy for visa
  • Awaits candidates arrival to Penn