Insurance Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors

J-1 Exchange Visitors are eligible to purchase medical insurance from the Academic Health Plans BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas (AHP/BCBS) insurance company. Detailed information about plan coverage is available on the AHP/BCBS Website. To enroll in this plan, visit our Enroll in Student Health Insurance page. An insurance advisor also is available at Texas Global if you have more detailed questions about AHP/BCBS insurance benefits or wish to enroll in person.

If you will be employed by UT Austin for at least 20 hours per week and for a duration of 4.5 months during your J-1 program, you may be eligible for health insurance benefits as part of your appointment. Please consult your hiring department regarding your eligibility for employee benefits.


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 their program. Fulfilling this requirement is essential, not only because of the U.S. Department of State regulations, but because medical treatment in the United States is very expensive without proper insurance coverage.

Willful violation of the insurance requirement is a violation of J-1 status and can result in the termination of your J-1 program by ISSS, in accordance with immigration regulations.

You are required to provide evidence that your insurance, and that of your J-2 dependents, meets the U.S. Department of State requirements outlined below:

Coverage/Minimum Requirement:

  • Medical Benefits per accident or illness: $100,000
  • Medical Evacuation: $50,000
  • Repatriation of Remains: $25,000
  • Deductible per accident or illness: (less than) $500

Note: ISSS does not have the expertise to evaluate individual insurance policies. The Exchange Visitor must check with their insurance provider to verify that the policy meets the minimum insurance requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. Proof of insurance must be uploaded through myIO at least three days before your program start date in order to comply with J-1 immigration regulations.

Exchange Visitors are required to purchase insurance for their entire program duration if the program (as shown on their DS 2019) is shorter than one semester. If the program will continue for more than one semester, Exchange Visitors may purchase coverage for the remaining duration of the current semester upon arrival and renew their insurance in semester increments. It is the Exchange Visitor's responsibility to provide proof of continuous insurance coverage to ISSS.

J-1 visa holders must notify ISSS of dependents who are currently in the United States or who will arrive later. Please upload proof of their coverage through myIO and email to notify us.

If an Exchange Visitor enters the U.S. without sufficient insurance coverage, they are eligible to purchase a UT student health insurance plan with Academic Health Plans/BlueCross BlueShield, which satisfies all U.S. Department of State insurance requirements for the J-1 program. This coverage can be purchased through our Enroll in Student Health Insurance page. Stand-alone repatriation/medical evacuation coverage can be purchased online through International SOS. Please see the instructions for assistance with this purchase.

Foreign/Travel Insurance Policies for Scholars

J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors who will be insured within the United States under a foreign or travel insurance policy must submit a copy of the insurance policy to ISSS. If applicable, the policy documentation should have an English translation, indicating amounts and dates of coverage. Individuals carrying policies that do not meet the minimum levels of coverage outlined by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will be required to purchase insurance that meets DOS requirements, which must include medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.

Pregnancy Insurance Coverage

Many travel insurance plans will not cover pregnancy. If you or your spouse is currently pregnant and you are not eligible for UT Employee medical insurance, you may purchase the UT Student Health Insurance Plan, which will cover the pregnancy and birth while you are in the United States. UT Employee medical insurance policy will cover a pre-existing pregnancy. If you are eligible for UT Employee medical insurance, please contact Human Resource Services (HRS) as soon as possible.

Vision and Dental Care

It is important to remember that in the United States certain kinds of elective medical care, such as eyeglasses or dentistry are ordinarily not covered by regular medical insurance. Exchange Visitors should take care of such needs before leaving home, or may elect to purchase separate coverage for these needs through a private company. AHP/BCBS Insurance offers dental insurance for a supplemental cost if you are covered under the Student Health Insurance Plan.