All J-1 Visiting Scholars must provide proof of health insurance coverage when personally reporting to our office to complete the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) check-in.

All scholars must either purchase an insurance plan through Garnett Powers or obtain a waiver from Garnett Powers for an external plan. J-1 Short-Term Scholars must provide proof of coverage for the entire duration of their program; J-1 Research Scholars must provide proof of coverage in increments of at least 6 months.


With regards to IMG insurance plans offered through GPA/Gallagher, please be aware that any person who purchases coverage on March 27, 2020 or after or has not entered their destination country by March 27, 2020, will not be eligible for benefits directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. For J-1 Exchange Visitors interested in insurance coverage that may cover COVID-19 related illness, we recommend looking into ISO insurance (link provided below). 

The U.S. Department of State requires all J Exchange Visitors to have insurance coverage that covers sickness and accidents, repatriation of remains and medical evacuation, for the entire duration in the U.S.  This is a mandatory requirement for all J-1 Exchange Visitors AND their J-2 Dependent family members.

Medical care in the United States is extremely expensive.  A minor surgery with a brief hospital stay can end up costing more than $100,000, and you may be responsible for paying any amount beyond your insurance coverage.  It is important that you carefully review your and your family’s medical needs before purchasing an insurance plan.  We highly recommend that you consider enrolling in an insurance plan that provides comprehensive coverage offering more than the minimum required amounts.

Insurance Requirements

To meet the insurance requirement you will need to purchase an insurance plan that offers the following minimum amounts of coverage:

  • Medical Benefits: Minimum $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Deductible: cannot exceed $500 per accident or illness per occurrence
  • Coinsurance (“Copayment"): cannot exceed 25%
  • Medical evacuation: minimum $50,000
  • Repatriation: minimum $25,000
  • Pre-existing Conditions:  Must not exclude pre-existing conditions, but may include a waiting period of up to 12 months
  • Insurance provider must be at least A- rated or backed by the full faith and credit of the Exchange Visitor's government.

Choosing an insurance plan that will meet both the above minimum requirements as well as your and your family’s needs is your responsibility.  

It is also important that you purchase a plan before you arrive in the U.S., as your coverage will need to be effective upon your arrival.

Garnett-Powers & Associates is one of many U.S. companies offering health insurance plans that meet the J-1 Exchange Visitor requirement.  For additional information about available plans, and for enrollment, visit

Other companies offering adequate coverage (although not specifically endorsed by OISS):

International Medical Group (IMG)

ISO Insurance

HCC Medical Insurance Services Group

BETINS Insurance (For J-1 Scholars Needing Supplemental Insurance for Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains)

PGH GLOBAL CARE PLUS or GLOBAL CARE PREFERRED (For J-1 Scholars Needing Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions Without a Waiting Period)

If you choose to purchase an insurance plan from a U.S. company other than Garnett-Powers & Associates or from your home country, you will need to submit your insurance policy to Garnett-Powers to request a “Waiver”. 

The purpose of the Waiver is to confirm that your insurance plan meets the minimum J-1 insurance requirements:

  1. Go to
  2. Select “Waive Coverage”
  3. Complete the checklist. If your insurance meets the requirements, you will be directed to “Create Waiver Login Account”
  4. Create your Waiver Login Account and follow instructions for submitting your insurance policy for review.
  5. You will receive a “Waiver Application” email with a confirmation of satisfactory coverage (Waiver Confirmation).

Attention Postdoctoral Scholars:

You may be eligible for the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan (PSBP).  Please contact your UCSB host department payroll coordinator to confirm your eligibility.  If you are eligible, you should review the Garnett-Powers & Associates PSBP website for detailed enrollment instructions, and disregard the above instructions regarding the Waiver request.

IMPORTANT:  Failure to maintain the minimum required amount of health insurance coverage will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.  If your record is terminated, you and your J-2 dependents must return to your home country immediately. Terminated SEVIS records are ineligible for reinstatement, extension of stay, change of category, or any other Exchange Visitor benefits.