The Exchange Visitor Program is managed by the U.S. Department of State. Its purpose is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. Illinois State University is an immigration sponsor of the Exchange Visitor Program. Exchange visitors have J-1 Visa immigration status.
J-1 exchange visitors must all be engaged in their programs full-time according to the Code of Federal Regulations—at least 32 hours per week.
- J-1 Professors are invited to teach on ISU's campus.
- Visiting professors generally do not enroll in or audit classes. Instead, they are engaged full time in teaching, grading, and researching.
- Visiting professors may be paid or unpaid by the University—if they have been hired to teach University classes, visiting professors must be paid according to labor laws.
- Visiting professors must have an offer letter if they will be employed by ISU.
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) creates the immigration form (DS-2019) needed to apply for the J-1 visa.
4 Months to Arrival
- Host discusses activities with potential visiting professor
- Host invites visiting professor to campus (See Sample Invitation Letter) or a formal offer letter is issued (if the professor will be employed by ISU).
- Host department logs in to the ISSS Scholar Portal. Click on "CLICK HERE TO LOGIN WITH CENTRAL LOGIN" and enter your university credentials.
- If you need assistance logging in to the ISSS Scholar Portal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once logged in to the portal, the host department submits a New Sponsorship Request.
Tips for submitting your sponsorship request:
- Read and follow all instructions on the request
- Complete as many fields as possible (not only the required fields)
3-4 Months to Arrival
- ISSS determines if the New Sponsorship Request meets the eligibility requirements for J-1 status.
- ISSS gives the visiting professor access to the ISSS Scholar Portal to complete additional documentation.
- Once all documentation is complete, the DS-2019 visa document is issued.
- If the visiting professor will not be an ISU employee, ISSS will create a UID and ULID for the individual. If the visiting professor will be an ISU employee, then Human Resources will generate the UID and ULID.
2-3 Months to Arrival
- ISSS sends professor email with Visiting Scholar Handbook, Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure, and ULID information
- Professor schedules a shipment for the DS-2019
- Professor pays I-901 SEVIS fee, J-1 visa application fee, and any other visa-related fees
- Professor schedules visa appointment at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy
1-2 Months to Arrival
- Professor receives visa approval (if visa is denied, scholar may re-apply)
- Professor makes travel and housing arrangements with the assistance of host
- Professor uploads health insurance coverage to the ISSS Scholar Portal
1 Week to Arrival
- ISSS contacts professor to schedule a mandatory orientation related to immigration and an introduction to Bloomington-Normal
- Professor attends mandatory orientation session with ISSS
- Professor obtains Redbird ID card and pays fee
- Professors program begins
Visiting professors must be researchers or professors at home, or have similar expertise and qualifications. At minimum, they must have a bachelor's degree. (To invite undergraduate students, ask about the J-1 Student Intern category.) They must prove English proficiency and adequate funding to cover cost-of-living expenses while in Bloomington-Normal.
Visiting professors are eligible to stay in the U.S. from 3 weeks to 5 years depending on the program.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) requires that Exchange Visitors have sufficient funds to cover all of their expenses.
Visiting professors can be self-funded; they do not need to be employed or funded by ISU.
Visiting professors may only engage in employment or receive payments or reimbursements when related to their ISU program for which they have received prior written authorization. Receiving anything in return for services rendered (consulting, presenting) such as pay, free airfare, free hotel stay or lodging, etc., constitutes an employment relationship according to ICE. Any employment must be preapproved by an International Advisor.