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Oklahoma State University

General Information - Scholars

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Please visit the BridgeUSA website for more information on the BridgeUSA  J1 Visa Exchange Program . To inquire about visa classifications and visiting scholar programs, at OSU, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars. 

What is BridgeUSA?

Why BridgeUSA?

The Purpose of the BridgeUSA (The J-1 Exchange Visitor) Program

The objective of the BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961)] The Exchange Visitor program is often referred to as a “J-1 Program” because the “J-1” class of visa is issued to international professionals and students invited to the United States to participate in educational and cultural exchange activities. As of October 27, 2020, the program had a re-branding and is now referred to as the BridgeUSA program instead of just the "J-Visa program."

There are many federal policies and procedures regulating BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs. OSU departments inviting and hosting international visitors and the exchange visitors themselves should thoroughly review and understand these policies contained in the manual below for the BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for Professors, Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars and Students on this website.

Please read this presentation file to achieve details before requesting the application. 


All visiting international scholars, regardless of immigration status, must have official university appointments or academic affiliations with the University. Scholars may or may not be paid by the university. International scholars receiving payment from OSU must hold J-1, H-1b, O-1 or permanent resident status.

The nature of the work, activities, or employment will determine the appropriate visa classification for an international visitor. In most cases, the university invites “non-immigrants” to engage in cultural and educational exchange under the BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor classification. The BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor program is described on this website as well as in printed documents available in the ISS office. Non-immigrants are defined as those who intend to return to their home countries upon completion of their programs. Visiting scholars must come to the United States on appropriate visas. Departments and prospective visiting scholars should clearly understand these distinctions before preparing documents, working with the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) and interacting with consular and immigration officers.

The university must maintain strict procedures to maintain the integrity of its international exchange and employment activities. Unauthorized employment of aliens and inappropriate use of exchange visitor programs is a violation of federal law. Employers and the aliens who work illegally may be subject to fines of up to $10,000 and criminal penalties.

Mandatory J-1 Health Insurance Requirement for Exchange Visitors

U.S. Department of State regulations require all J-1 Exchange Visitors to have medical insurance for themselves and any accompanying J-2 family members for the duration of the program.

This insurance must meet the following requirements:  

Major medical coverage:  $100,000 (deductible not to exceed $500)
Repatriation of Remains:  $ 25,000
Medical Evacuation:          $ 50,000

Fulfilling this requirement is essential, not only because medical treatment in the U.S. is very expensive, but also because Exchange Visitors and their family members are considered to be in violation of status if they do not have insurance coverage, and the ISS is required to terminate their program.  Also, the ISS cannot provide program benefits to scholars or family members who are not maintaining valid status (for example, extend the J-1 program or provide signatures for travel.) 

It is the responsibility of the J-1 visitor to notify the ISS of dependents who are currently in the U.S. or who arrive at a later date, and present evidence of the appropriate insurance coverage for the J-2s.  

You must purchase an insurance policy for the entire duration of your program as indicated on the DS-2019 (if your program duration is less than one year).  If your program will continue for more than one year, you must purchase insurance for one year and renew the insurance (and submit proof thereof) for each additional year.  Proof of health insurance must be submitted to ISS within 10 days of your arrival on the OSU campus.

NOTE: If you are a J-1 Visiting Scholar who is receiving a salary by an OSU department, you may have the opportunity to sign up for the University’s health insurance (Academic Health Plans) through the University Benefits Office. Please confirm this benefit with your department.


You can purchase health insurance from any company of your choosing, as long as it meets the requirements listed above.  Women who are or may become pregnant while in the U.S. must purchase health insurance that covers pre- and post-natal care. Most insurance companies consider pregnancy a preexisting condition and may not insure a pregnant woman, so plan accordingly. Scholars employed by OSU may receive OSU health insurance through the Benefits Office (contact information below). Listed below are some insurance companies that are commonly used by Exchange Visitors*:

- Seven Corners                      - Trawick International                  - Insubuy                                - Betins

- ISO                                          - Dongbu Insurance                       - Met Life                                - CareMed

- IMG                                        - AIG / Travel Guard                       - HG Insurance

- United Healthcare               - HCC Medical Insurance               - Int'l Student Insurance

*Oklahoma State University neither promotes nor is affiliated with any of the above listed companies.


- OSU Benefits Office:   106J Whitehurst ( 405-744-8345, 

J1 Scholar Orientation 


This chart may help define what particular program activities may require:

J-1 Scholar Exchange Visitors 

(Professors, Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars)

  • Non-immigrant status
  • Appropriate for educational and cultural exchanges
  • Allows temporary employment (Professor & Research Scholar : up to 5 years, Short-Term Scholar : up to 6 months)
  • Allows payment of honoraria

J-1 Students

(Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, Non-Degree)

  • Full-Time degree seeking students (no specific time limit – student must be progressing towards degree and show sufficient funds)Non-degree exchange students (up to 24 months)
  • Appropriate for government funded programs & cultural/educational exchanges
  • Allows student employment on campus (20 hours/week)
  • Allows for “Academic Training” – Employment on or off campus related to field of study

For more information on employment and tax, click here.