Hosting a J-1 Scholar

The university policy AC01: Visiting Scholars applies to all J-1 Scholars who are not employees of the university.  The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs must approve an unpaid visiting scholar before J-1 Scholar Advising can issue a visa document.  Your departmental contact will complete all necessary forms.


International J-1 Scholar Advising Services

J-1 Scholar Advising is here to help you through the process of inviting and hosting a J-1 Scholar.   

We ask that you make your request for DS-2019 at least three (3) months in advance of the expected program start date of the J-1 Scholar. This allows time for the scholar to receive the DS-2019 and obtain a J-1 Visa in a timely manner. 

We also provide an online J-1 training/orientation as part of the checklist process for an incoming J-1 Scholar. We are available to departments and scholars alike by phone, email, or walk-in advising for questions about J-1 status, changes of status, cultural adjustment, etc.    

If you are interested in hosting a J-1 Scholar, there are a few basic items to consider before pursuing the request.  These considerations are listed below:


Host Department Responsibilities

As a host department, you have certain responsibilities to ensure that your invited scholar is successful as a J-1 Exchange Visitor.  Here are some important items to consider: 


Determine Position and Visa Type

What type of position will the person have at Penn State? The type of activity the visitor is involved in while in the U.S. helps J-1 Scholar Advising determine the most appropriate visa category. 

Review our "What is a J-1 Scholar?" page to determine if this is the appropriate visa type for the person being invited.


Determine funding type

J-1 Scholars may provide the following type of funding for their visit to Penn State:

  1. Payment from Penn State (salary, wage payroll, etc).  The amount and duration should be listed in the offer letter.
  2. Home Government Funding
  3. U.S. Government Agency Funding
  4. International Organization or Other Organizations
  5. Personal (Bank Statement)

See our Financial Information page for more details.


J-2 Dependents

If the visitor will be bringing children, will they need to arrange for enrollment in school or childcare facility? See J-2 Dependents for more information.



Your invited scholar will confirm their exact date of arrival with the Confirm Travel Plans form in their J-1: Incoming Scholar Checklist.  Your departmental contact will receive an email asking for review and confirmation of the date. 



Will the department arrange or pay for transportation? Will someone from the department pick up the scholar?  What if the scholar is not able to arrive on time? 

  • The scholar must go to their J-1: Incoming Scholar Checklist and fill out the Amend DS-2019 Program Dates form.  This form will be routed to the departmental contact for approval of the new program dates. 
  • J-1 Scholar Advising will create a new DS-2019 and a late arrival letter.  The scholar will carry the late arrival letter along with their DS-2019 to facilitate their entry into the U.S., then pick up the new DS-2019 upon arrival. 



The department should assist the scholar in finding housing upon their arrival.  The Office of Off-Campus Living maintains local housing listings.



Some items to consider are:

  • Access Accounts
  • Penn State ID
  • Lab access
  • Background check
  • Office space and keys


Inviting Faculty Responsibilities

By extending an invitation to a visiting scholar, the faculty member agrees to the following:

  • Notify the scholar of the English proficiency requirement
  • Notify the scholar of the medical insurance requirement 
  • Provide assistance to the scholar for any needs regarding arrival, including housing
  • Be present on campus for at least 75% of the working days during the scholar's visit
  • Ensure that the scholar checks in with the departmental contact immediately upon arrival
  • Meet with the scholar at the start of the program to discuss research strategy and goals
  • Be an ad hoc adviser if the scholar is currently a degree-seeking candidate in their home country
  • Have a general idea of the scholar's whereabouts (e.g., out for illness, out for vacation)
  • Report as soon as possible any unexplained, extended absences to J-1 Scholar Advising
  • Obtain prior approval from J-1 Scholar Advising before any changes occur in the scholar's program (e.g., finances, end date, duties)
  • Contact J-1 Scholar Advising and your department's Human Resources representative if the scholar is not performing at previously agreed-upon expectations


Ready to Request a DS-2019?

See Becoming a J-1 Scholar.