Visiting International Scholars

When Sponsorship for the J-1 Visa is Needed

International visitors to Utah State University (USU) engaged in consultation, observation, research, training, or demonstration of special skills should participate in the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program and be present on a J-1 visa. The Office of Global Engagement is the primary administrative unit on campus for the J-1 Exchange Visitors Program.

A J-1 visa is not required if visitors are coming to familiarize themselves with the campus, facilities, and program offerings or for meetings related to the development and implementation of partnership activities.

Eligibility for the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program

International visiting scholars must have a bachelor’s degree, or be an expert in their field, in order for USU to sponsor their visiting scholar J-1 visa application. USU will sponsor international undergraduate students coming to work on collaborative research (without enrolling in a full-course of study) on the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program’s Student Intern category.

Visa Comparison


Is this a tenure-track position? Does the position have an academic employee title?

  1. If yes, contact HR about the H-1B visa. Tenure-track positions are not eligible for the J-1 visa.
  2. If not, see step 2

Is there a possibility this will become a long-term position (> 5 years)?

  1. If yes, contact HR about the H-1B visa. J-1 visa programs have a maximum duration of 5 years.
  2. If not, see step 3.

Is this a specialty occupation requiring special academic/employment training? Is this a mid-senior level research position?

  1. If yes, please see step 4.
  2. If not, this position should be eligible for J-1 visa sponsorship.

Has the desired candidate been in the U.S.A. on a J visa before?

  1. If yes, see step 5.
  2. If unsure or if not, contact HR about the H-1B visa

Are they subject to the 212(e) restriction?

  1. If yes, see step 6.
  2. If unsure or if not, contact HR about the H-1B visa.

Have they applied for a waiver of the 212(e) restriction?

  1. If yes, contact HR about the H-1B visa.
  2. If not, they are not eligible for H-1B. Contact Global Engagement about the J-1 visa option.

Activities Not Allowed on the J Visa

The U.S. Department of State prohibits hands-on interaction for exchange visitors’ programs in regards to patients, children, elderly, and animals. Please contact the Office of Global Engagement at 435-797-1124 or email us at for more information about these restrictions.

Faculty Hosts: Eligibility and Responsibilities

Only employees of USU may act as a faculty host for international visiting scholars.

Faculty hosts have the following responsibilities, per federal regulations:[1]

  • “Ensure that the activities in which exchange visitors are engaged are consistent with the category and activity listed on their Forms DS–2019;”
  • “Monitor the physical location (site of activity), and the progress and welfare of exchange visitors to the extent appropriate for the category;”

Workshop recording: "Hosting an International Visiting Scholar - What Faculty and Department Heads Need to Know"

Find a Faculty Mentor at USU

Review the academic unit’s website to identify faculty members conducting research in an area of interest to you. Contact them to discuss your interests and determine if they have the ability to work with you on your program. Projects are academic in nature and usually between scholars with similar interests who can mutually benefit from working together. Be sure to include the following items:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. A statement of purpose including purpose of program, potential activities, program start and end dates, and potential funding sources to support your program

If you are inquiring about funding to support a visiting scholar program: work with the faculty host directly to determine if they have funds to support your program at USU. The university does not have institutional funds to support visiting scholars.

[1] CFR 62.10