Invite or Host a Visiting Scholar

The Global Engagement Office (GEO) assists departments who are interested in hosting J-1 visiting scholars (both paid and unpaid) with:  

  1. The J-1 visiting scholar invitation and appointment processes
  2. Supporting prospective J-1 scholars through external funding applications (such as Fulbright or other government funded grant programs) 
  3. Issuing necessary documentation for J-1 scholar visa applications (DS-2019 forms)
  4. General scholar support needs from the point of arrival through the duration of their programs on our campus 

Departments wishing to appoint international faculty, staff, or researchers to permanent and/or tenure-track related EHRA positions in such visa/immigration classifications as H-1b, O-1, TN, or permanent resident should visit Immigration Services in the Office of the Provost

If you are unsure if your prospective international hire is eligible for the J-1 visa, please contact Jen Kelley at [email protected] to confirm before moving forward with the steps below. 

It is recommended the sponsoring faculty/department begin the invitation process at least 90 days before the scholar appointment’s intended start date. Beginning the process early is important to avoid any arrival delays associated with consular administrative processing timelines.  

Outlined below are the steps to invite/host a J-1 international scholar within your department.  

  1. Submit the Export Control Clearance Form to the Office of Research and Engagement
    • International visiting scholars paid by the University through grants or other external funds must contact the Office of Research and Engagement for further information and requirements. 
  2. Submit a memo to your Dean and Dept. Head requesting the visiting scholar appointment, indicating whether the appointment is paid or unpaid and including your (e.g., the host faculty) name. (Sample Dean memo) (Sample Provost memo). 
  3. Complete the Visiting Scholar DS-2019 Data Form, Part A – Department Request and Verification 
  4. Complete the PD-7 “Personal Action Form and submit to [email protected]  
  5. Send the following forms to the scholar to complete and sign. Forms should be returned to you (host faculty) or your departmental administrator: 
    • J-1 Scholar Request Form, Part B Scholar Profile 
    • Insurance Attestation Form 
      1. Request copies of the following documents from the scholar (including for dependents, if applicable): 
        1. Biographical page of the passport(s) 
        2. Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume 
        3. Proof of financial support (i.e. letter from the sponsoring department stating the annual salary for paid appointments; or letter from the home institution verifying financial support of the scholar for sabbatical leave; or a letter from the home government verifying financial sponsorship; or verification of personal financial support; or a combination thereof). Please see the Required Budget for International Scholars for the amount of funding required to qualify for a DS-2019 for the scholar plus spouse/child dependents, if applicable. 
        4. Official academic transcripts from all post-secondary education institutions attended.  
  6. Send the letter outlined in item 2 above, including your Dean’s signature of approval, along with the documents listed below, to the Provost’s Office for dual approval. If the appointment is for research-orientated activity (as opposed to instruction), the Provost’s Office will forward the paperwork to the Office of Human Resources for processing. 
  7. Once you receive Dean & Provost signatures of approval, send copies via email of all documents listed above to Human Resources ([email protected]) with a copy to Jen Kelley ([email protected]) and your departmental administrator. 

Upon receipt of the appointment letter issued by HR, GEO will: 

  1. Issue a form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1)”. 
  2. Send the DS-2019 form, visa application instructions, the appointment letter, and other relevant pre-arrival information to the scholar via email with a copy to the host faculty and their respective departmental administrator. 
  3. Maintain communication with the scholar via email for updates on the status of their J-1 visa application and expected arrival timeline.  

UNC Greensboro welcomes faculty and researchers from around the world. The Exchange Visitor Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, allows the University to use the J-1 Exchange Visitor immigration classification to invite or employ international professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists in the United States. 

The Global Engagement Offie (GEO) is here to help bring international scholars to UNCG to work with our prominent faculty members in the spirit of cultural exchange. Please contact Ms. Jen Kelley, Director of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for any questions related to international scholars at [email protected].  

Departments wishing to appoint international faculty, staff, or researchers on permanent and/or tenure-track related EHR positions in such visa/immigration classification as H-1B, O-1, TN, or permanent resident should visit Immigration Services in the Office of the Provost

For a comparison chart of international scholar visa options, please visit “Roles and Responsibilities” 

  1. A Bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for international visiting scholars. 
  2. English proficiency for J-1 Scholars from countries where English is not the official language must be evaluated and approved by the hosting Department. 
  3. Sufficient financial support is required for a J-1 Scholar. J-2 dependents who accompany the J-1 require additional funding. The minimum amounts required are listed on the Budget Form for Scholars.
  4. Health and accident insurance coverage that meets the federal guidelines is mandatory for all J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents while they are in the U.S. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage for the entire duration of the DS-2019 for either the J-1 or J-2 may result in termination of the J-1 visa holder’s record. See more information about the health insurance requirements for J-1 and J-2 visa holders.
  5. The Visiting Scholar must have a UNCG faculty host for the duration of their stay. It is the prospective scholar’s responsibility to identify a host faculty member. You can find a complete directory of faculty with the ability to filter by academic program on the UNCG Directory.   

The J-1 program is for temporary visits to the US for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, observing, conducting research, consulting, or demonstrating special skills. J-1 Scholar categories that UNCG is eligible to host are classified as follows: 

  • Research Scholar: An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor. For further details, please review the DOS Research Scholar Category Fact Sheet 
  • Professor: An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor. For further details, please review the DOS Professor Category Fact Sheet. 
  • Short-Term Scholar: A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For further details, please review the DOS Short-term Scholar Category Fact Sheet 
  • Specialist: An individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills. For further details, please review the DOS Specialist Category Fact Sheet 
  • Research Scholar or Professor: 5 years 
  • Short-term Scholar: 6 months 
  • Specialist: 1 year 
Arrival and Orientation 
  • The scholar will check in at GEO, whose staff will conduct the required New Scholar Orientation to discuss maintenance of immigration status issues and provide information about GEO services and programs. please self-schedule an orientation meeting at
  • Scholar will provide the following documents to GEO: 
  • To connect with your international peers on our campus, please consider joining our International Faculty and Staff Network (IFSN) prior to your arrival. To self-enroll and join the community simply use the self-enrollment link to access the Canvas IFSN collective.   

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Assisting with housing and arrival arrangements (GEO can provide information and resources upon request). 
  • Providing a workspace and arranging library and computer access. 
  • Collecting current contact information for your scholar (email and mailing address). 
  • Advising the J-1 Scholar to check in with GEO immediately upon arrival at UNCG. 
  • Supervising the scholar during their stay in the U.S. and reporting to GEO any updates to the scholar’s arrival & departure dates, and/or the termination date should the original appointment for your scholar end earlier than the end date listed on the annual appointment letter, whether the appointment is paid or unpaid. 
  • Communicating any concerns about immigration, orientation to the campus and community, insurance or other related assistance to GEO. 
  • Offering cross-cultural interaction between the J-1 Scholar and the department’s faculty and staff. 
  • Providing information to university faculty and staff on the protocols for hosting international visiting scholars at UNCG, including working with Human Resources to invite visiting scholars to UNCG. 
  • Issuing form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1)”. 
  • Liaising between visiting scholars and UNCG offices, U.S. government, and the community. 
  • Conducting the required “New Scholar Orientation” to discuss maintenance of immigration status matters, making copies of the scholar’s visa documentation and insurance information, and delivering information about GEO services and programs. 
  • Maintaining scholars’ current U.S. physical address in the SEVIS database, 
  • Advising scholars on all visa-related matters including immigration, travel, and educating J-1 scholars and their dependents on their rights and obligations. 
  • Connecting scholars with their international professional peers on campus and in the surrounding community to enrich their experience at UNCG 

If you are inviting, hosting or hiring a foreign national, it is extremely important that they acquire an immigration status appropriate for the activities they will be engaging in while at UNC Greensboro. Engaging in activities forbidden by an immigration status can have serious consequences for the foreign national and UNC Greensboro. Please take a moment to review the differences between the three most common immigration statuses associated with international visitors at UNC Greensboro.

Information about permanent residency (green card) sponsorship for eligible faculty members can be found on the Faculty and EHRA Staff Immigration Services website

B-1 or WB Visa Visitor for Business J-1 Exchange Visitor H-1B Temporary Worker 
Purpose Intended only for specific business activities for a short, defined period of time (9 calendar days or less). To facilitate the exchange of ideas and cultures and to promote linkages between international professors, researchers and scholars with the United States. To temporarily employee foreign nationals in specialty, full-time occupations in a nonimmigrant basis. 
ISSS’s Role and Support Provided Minimal

ISSS will provide a template invitation letter for you to send to your visitor upon request. ISSS can enroll B-1/WB visitors in insurance upon request though it is not required. Insurance must be paid for by the department or visitor upon arrival. 
Highly involved

ISSS manages the J-1 Exchange Visitor program and works with eligible visitors and departments to provide support during each step of the process. 
Not Involved

The Provost’s Office is responsible for filing H-1B petitions on behalf of  foreign nationals. Contact Andrea Whitley ([email protected], 336.334.4212) for assistance. 
Allowable Activities Attending meetings or conferences, consulting with associates, and formalizing agreements. Teach, lecture, collaborate on research, observe, consult, train or demonstrate special skills. Employment only for the specific job for which your H-1B petition was approved. 
Forbidden Activities Performing work in a lab. 
Participating in or contributing to research. 
Teaching a course. 
Enrolling in any classes or engaging in formal study. 
Engaging in formal study. 
Engaging in any activities outside the scope of respective J-1 Exchange Visitor category. 
Be in tenure track position. 
Receiving an honorarium or payment for any expenses not associated with your position at UNCG other than reimbursement for personal expenses. 
Length of Stay Up to 6 months at entry, renewable for up to 12 months for B-2 

90 days for WB (Visa Waiver Program only) 
Five-year maximum for research scholar and professor category.

Six-month maximum for short-term scholar category. 
Six-year maximum in most cases. 
Funding Requirements and Restrictions Not eligible to receive a salary or payment for services. 
Only eligible to receive reimbursement for expenses or honorarium. 
May or may not be paid by UNC Greensboro. 
Must provide proof of financial support to ISSS and U.S. Consulate to secure visa. 
Must be paid by UNC Greensboro and meet U.S. Department of Labor wage requirements. 
Impact on Future Visa Acquisition None if immigration status is lawfully maintained. Two-year home residency requirement may apply and could impact future visa options. Not subject to two-year home country physical presence requirement. 
Transferability of visa N/A
Consult for more information 
May be eligible to transfer to other J- Exchange Visitor program for similar activity within 5-year limit. Change of sponsor or position requires new H-1B petition, but portability allows new employment to begin before new petition is approved. 
Employment Options for Dependents Not eligible for employment. Dependents (J-2) are eligible to petition United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) for employment authorization Dependents of H-1B employees are granted H-4 status, and cannot be employed in the United States. 
Governance United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection and Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor programs are managed by the U.S. Department of State and program sponsor (UNC Greensboro). All H-1B petitions must be approved by USCIS. 
Expedited processing N/A
Consult for more information 
No premium processing option. Premium processing ($1255) guarantees a decision within 15 days. 
Typical Time to Obtain Status Varies based on local U.S. Embassy or Consulate processing times. Typically 2–4 months. More time needed if already in U.S. and applying for a change of status unless you pay for premium processing. Typical processing time of 4–6 months or more. 
Additional Requirements Consult for more information Numerous: specific insurance requirements, cross-cultural activity, English language proficiency, and academic credential. Employer must pay return transportation if employment ends early. 
Immigrant Intent Non-immigrant intent. Non-immigrant intent. J-1 visa applicant must have permanent address abroad, demonstrate strong ties to home country and have no intention to become a permanent resident of the United States. Dual immigrant intent. 

H-1B eligible to apply for permanent residency (“green card”). No ties to home country required. 
Restrictions on Acquiring Status Consult for more information Two-year bar on repeat participation as a Research Scholar or Professor after a stay of six months or longer. H-1B not an option if individual has two-year home residence requirement due to previous J-1 status.  After 6 years in H-1B status, a scholar must be outside the U.S. for one year before returning in new H-status. 
Associated Costs $185 application fee and possible additional visa issuance fee that varies by country. Fees include $220 SEVIS fee, visa fees (vary by country) and in some cases, change of status fee. Fees include $460 filing fee, $780  anti fraud fee (for new filings), and optional $2805 premium processing fee. 
Share This