Finding Us

IPO Office

phone: (208) 885-8984
fax: (208) 885-2859

Mailing address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1250
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

Physical address:
901 Paradise Creek Street
LLC Bldg. #3
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

International Scholars

International Scholars

J-1 Scholars – Exchange Visitor Information

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for those individuals approved to participate in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs. The purpose of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. At the conclusion of their program, participants are expected to return to their home countries.

It is only appropriate for a professor or research scholar to come to the United States as an exchange visitor when the underlying purpose of his or her entry is to stimulate international collaborative teaching and/or research efforts or to promote interchange between research and educational institutions in the United States and other countries.

Many questions may be answered by reading the FAQs. These FAQs cover questions about visas, other immigration questions, transportation, housing, medical needs and insurance.

Below is more detailed information on processes in bringing a J-1 scholar to the UI campus.

  • Who Qualifies as a J-1 Visiting Scholar?
    There are four principle categories within the Exchange Visitor Program in which UI sponsors international visiting scholars:

    Professors  A professor will primarily conduct teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. They may also conduct research, unless the sponsor disallows. 
    Research Scholars  A research scholar will primarily conduct research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project; or teach unless not approved by the sponsor. 
    Short-term Scholars  A short term scholar is a professor, research scholar, or 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 with a time period ranging from 3 days to a maximum of six months.

    No extensions beyond the six months are permitted. 
    Specialists  A specialist is 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.

    Extensions beyond a 1-year program are not permitted. 

    UI is designated by the United States Department of State as an official sponsor. The International Scholar Advisors in International Programs are the appointed Responsible Officers for advising program participants.

  • Faculty/Staff: Guidelines for Bringing a New J-1 Scholar to Campus
    We recommend that departments contact our office at least 60 days prior to the date the J-1 Scholar is expected to arrive on campus. This timing is based on our current staffing and workload, the visa application time and availability. However, please note that visa processing times may take longer for certain countries, so planning well in advance is always best. We hope this will help make your planning timely, realistic and efficient. If you have any questions, please contact Tammi Johnson at (208) 885-8945.
  •             Faculty/Staff Checklist for Bringing a New J-1 Scholar to Campus
    To avoid delays it is very important that the information International Programs (IPO) receives from the departments for issuance of the DS-2019 is complete an accurate. To help you with this process, use the belowChecklist which will walk you through the process and outlines the responsibilities of the department, the scholar and IPO.
  •             J-1 Scholar Request Form
    If you have already been through this process and know the steps, below is the J-1 Scholar Request form to be completed and submitted to IPO with supporting documentation. Supporting documentation includes copies of: incoming visitor’s passport, C.V. and financial documentation, proving $1,300 per month for living expenses for the scholar and $600 per month for each additional dependent.
  •             Letter Templates for Hiring/Inviting J-1 Scholars
    When hiring a Post Doc, Researcher or Instructor as a J-1 Scholar or Professor, you will need to use Hiring Letter templates located on the Human Resources website (for inviting scholars paid by UI).

    When inviting a J-1 Scholar to research, teach, present workshops, etc. and the Scholar is providing their own funding or is funded by a sponsor other than the UI, then an invitation letter will need to be issued. Below are two types of letters - one for a Researcher or PhD candidate and the other is for a professor on Sabbatical to be adjusted with details of the visit. The wording used in these templates is critical as to details pertaining to the visit which includes the purpose, what is provided and not provided, dates, etc. 
  •             J-1 Visiting Scholar Process Graph
    This graph shows the basic process, from initial contact through arrival at UI.

    From invitation to arrival
  • Scholars Needing a DS-2019

    Are you are an international scholar or professional that wants to visit the University of Idaho temporarily to teach, perform research, observe, consult, demonstrate a special skill, train, or a related academic reason?

    If so, you should begin the process by identifying a department or faculty/staff member at the University of Idaho willing to invite you.

    Use the directory to locate the department which most closely aligns with your professional field or interests. Then email the department with a statement of objective and attach a resume/C.V.

    How do I ask for a DS-2019 so I can apply for a J-1 Visa? It is not possible for you to request the DS-2019 directly from our office. Requests must come directly from the department that will host you.

    If the department has the resources to host you, you can expect to be offered a temporary position, paid or unpaid, and receive certain facilities and services such as an office or lab space, access to the UI network and email, library privileges, etc.  

    There is a team of professionals at UI that will help to make it easier to prepare for your visit.  It will be helpful to understand the role of each team member:
    • Host supervisor/professor: This is the person with whom you will work most directly in conducting your program at UI. Questions about the research project, employment expectations and facilities for work including laboratory and office space should be directed toward this person.
    • Contact person (in the host department): This is an administrative support person in the host department. This person is usually responsible for providing the necessary information to the International Programs Office for issuance of your DS-2019, preparing the university employment papers (if appropriate), etc. They are a wealth of knowledge about how the university works and are a valuable resource. They may also assist you in finding housing on- or off-campus.
    • The International Scholar Advisor/Responsible Officer: This person is responsible for managing the Exchange Visitor Program for the university within International Programs. The Advisor prepares the DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate for J-1 status, assigns a university ID number, processes extensions and transfers and generally answers questions about your visa status. You will meet with an Advisor for an initial orientation meeting after you arrive. The Advisor can be reached at (208) 885-8984 during regular business hours.  
      • Academic Year: M-F 8:00am-5:00pm PST/PDT
      • Summer Hours: M-F 7:30am-4:30pm PST/PDT

  •             Paperwork for a DS-2019 to be Issued
    Though you may not be able to request a DS-2019 directly, once you have been offered a position or invited to the UI, you can assist the department by starting paperwork needed for a DS-2019 to be issued.

    The J-1 Scholar Request Form (PDF) has information on the first 1 ½ pages that you will need to complete. Once you have done so, save the form and send by email to either the host supervisor/professor or department contact along with copies of:
    • Passport
    • Resume or C.V. 
    • Financial documentation (see the Finances section below) showing funding for cost of living in Moscow, Idaho

  •             Obtaining Your Entry Visa
    Although it is possible to schedule your preparations differently, we suggest you follow the order below for obtaining your entry visa to the U.S.:
    • Receipt of information packet from UI including DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate for J-1 Status
    • Pay the SEVIS Fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland. This $180 fee is separate from the visa processing fee. You will need your DS-2019 before you pay the SEVIS Fee. See SEVIS Fee below for more information. 
    • Make an appointment to obtain a J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. See visa appointment and application below.
    • Fill in visa processing forms, including payment for visa stamp, and attend visa interview.
    • Make travel plans

    SEVIS Fee

    To pay this fee, it requires a SEVIS ID number which is found in the upper right hand corner of the form DS-2019. This MUST be paid before you attend the visa interview.  Be sure to print out your receipt and take it with you to the visa appointment, verifying you have paid this fee. 

    You can pay with a check by mail or with a credit card online. DHS (Department of Homeland Security) also will accept fee payment from a third party, either in the United States or abroad.

    Visa Appointment and Application

    We strongly urge you to visit the website of your nearest U.S. consulate or embassy to obtain the most updated information. Information about locations of the closest visa issuing location, as well as instructions, and forms can be located online at:

    U.S. Embassies and Consulates Worldwide
    Visa Application forms and instructions
    Visa Wait Times 

    Security Advisory Opinion

    Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government instituted a number of measures to tighten security with regard to the issuance of visas. First, all visa applicants’ names will be checked during the application process. Information resulting from the name-check, or if the field of study listed on Form DS-2019 involves a dual use technology (i.e. technologies that have both civilian and military applications), a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) may be required.

    The SAO is forwarded to Washington D.C. and can take one or more months to complete. Our office does not have the authority to request an SAO be expedited. Only if your visa application has been pending for more than 30 days can our office inquire about the case.
  •             Finances
    J-1 research scholars and/or their hosting departments must show financial documentation of at least $1,300 in support before International Programs can issue a J-1 document (DS-2019) to participate in a program at UI. This funding can come from various sources, including personal, but must be documented.

    If dependents are intending to arrive with the J-1 scholar, it is required that additional financial documentation must be shown for at least $600 per dependent.

    Please bring at least $1,500 (in US dollars) with you when you arrive in Moscow for settling-down expenses including housing, food, telephone and electricity costs. If you are to be paid by UI, do not expect that you will be paid immediately when you arrive at your work site. Usually, you would have to wait for at least two weeks to get your first paycheck.

    Please know that child care in the U.S. can be very expensive, it can be up to $1000 per month. Child care expense is personal, so if you plan to bring a child during your appointment period and rely on child care service, please plan ahead and budget for child care expenses. Also most child care services require you to register/enroll your child before you send your child to the child care facility, and there is often a long waiting list. The best practice is to check the child care resources to learn how it will work for you and makes preparation accordingly.

  •             Maintaining Your Visa Status
    To remain legally in the U.S. you need to meet the following conditions:
    • Maintain valid DS-2019 form. Please pay attention to the program end date listed in section 3 of your DS-2019 Form. Apply for a program extension at least one month prior to the expiration date of your DS-2019 form if you need additional time to complete your research or teaching.
    • Keep your passport valid at all times.
    • Maintain health insurance for yourself and dependents throughout the program.
    • Conduct activities consistent with your program category. Employment is allowed at the University of Idaho only. If you are considering any other options, please discuss these options with International Programs.
    • Report address changes to International Programs within 10 days of any move as well as update your address with Human Resources.
    As another reminder, if you intend to travel outside of the U.S. you will need a travel signature from IPO before leaving.
  • Additional Details About the J-1 Scholar Status
  • Additional Forms