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Scholar Comparison

J-1 vs. H-1B Features


J-1 Exchange Visitor

H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker

Purpose and Eligibility

  • Exchange opportunities in research, lecturing, collaboration, and cultural exchange
  • Not for tenure-track or permanent position
  • Required at least bachelor’s degree for Research Scholar, Professor, and Short Term Scholar category
  • Mostly for titles (i.e. Research Scholars, Post-doc positions)
  • Temporary employment in “specialty occupations” that require theoretical and practical application of a body of “highly specialized knowledge”
  • Position requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field of study relevant to the duties to be performed

  • Mostly for academic titles (e.g. tenure-track teaching and research appointments)


  • Can come from a variety of sources, including self-funding
  • Supported by funds from ASU


  • Up to 5 years for J-1 “Research Scholar/Professor” category, 6 months for Short Term category

  • Duration varies depending on other J-1 category

  • Up to 6 years; H-1B status is limited to a maximum of 3 years initially and up to a total of 6 years through extensions


  • DS-2019 academic and financial certificate of eligibility issued by the sponsoring institution

  • J-1 visitor must pursue academic program objective and engage in appropriate activities

  • Sponsor (ASU Host Department) and J-1 visitor must comply with Department of State and Department of Homeland Security regulations

  • Employer sponsorship

  • Position qualifies as a specialty occupation and H-1B candidate meets position qualifications

  • DOL Certification and Attestation including Prevailing Wage Determination

  • Petition adjudication and I-797 Approval Notice issued by USCIS

  • Material changes in employment may require an amended petition

Unique Features

  • J-1 visitor’s intent is to return home after completion of the program

  • 12-month and 24-month bar may apply

  • Mandatory health insurance requirement

  • J-1 visitors may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country physical presence requirement


  • H-1B status allows for the dual intent of working temporarily in the U.S. and applying for permanent resident status (i.e. for tenure track positions)

  • Universities are “cap exempt” from the annual quota

  • Employer cannot place employee on unpaid leave for lack of work and/or funding

  • Employer must pay for return transportation to home country if employment is terminated prior to the expiration of the current H-1B


  • Transfer to another J-1 sponsoring institution may be possible

  • Change of employer is possible with the filing of a new petition

  • Employee has work authorization upon receipt of petition by USCIS


  • $180 SEVIS fee

  • $160 Visa Application fee

  • $460  Filing fee

  • $500  (one-time) Anti-Fraud fee

  • Optional $1,410 Premium Processing service

Processing Times

  • Estimated 2-4 months, vary on other countries.

  • Application must be submitted 2-6 months prior to the program start date.

  • ISSC processing is 10 business days after receipt of completed request

  • Estimated 4-6 months for USCIS to adjudicate petition. 15 days if filed with Premium Processing

  • H-1B Request must be submitted 4-6 months prior to employment start date

  • ISSC processing is 5+ weeks after receipt of completed request packet

Off Campus Activities (Work, Lecture, Consult)

  • J-1 visitor may receive compensation from the DS-2019 sponsoring institution provided activity is within academic program objective

  • J-1 visitor needs to check with program sponsor about outside payment authorization (Off-campus activity must be incidental to program objective)

  • Can only work for the H-1B employer in the specific position approved

  • Can work concurrently for another employer provided a second I-129H petition is filed with USCIS by the new employer and USCIS requirements are met

  • Cannot accept an honorarium or perform outside consulting activities for any other institution or organization


  • J-2 status for spouse and children under 21

  • J-2 dependents may apply for an employment authorization (EAD)

  • J-2 earning cannot be used for the support of the J-1

  • H-4 status for spouse and children under 21

  • H-4 dependents cannot receive work authorization except in limited cases where the H-1B primary beneficiary is in the process of obtaining permanent residency

Grace Period

  • 30 days after the end date of the program listed on Exchange Visitor’s DS-2019
  • H-1B status is date-specific