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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Inviting J-1 Visiting Scholars

Available J-1 Categories

In addition to several student categories, Central Washington University has authorization from the US Department of State to sponsor J-1 exchange visitors in the following categories: Professor, Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar.


Professor and Research Scholar Categories

To qualify for the Professor category, the primary purpose of the visitor’s stay must be teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting; research may also be a component of the proposed program.

To qualify for the Research Scholar category, the primary purpose of the visitor’s stay must be conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project; teaching or lecturing may also be a component of the proposed program.

Visitors under the Professor and Research Scholar categories may not be a candidate for a tenure-track position and are expected to have the appropriate credentials for their proposed program.  At absolute minimum, visitors must have completed a bachelor’s degree.  The proposed program must be at least three weeks and no more than five years in duration.

Depending on the nature of prior participation as an exchange visitor, visitors under the Professor and Research Scholar categories may be subject to one or both of two separate bars on repeat participation.

  • If the visitor was present in the US in any J status, including J-2 (dependent) status, for all or part the 12-month period immediately preceding the new program’s proposed start date, the visitor is ineligible to participate, unless he or she meets one or more of three exceptions:
    • The visitor will begin a new program by transferring from a previous program sponsor to CWU.
    • Prior J status was less than 6 months in duration (presence in the US). (NB: If any part of that J status took place during the twelve-month period, the full duration of that status is counted.)
    • Prior J status was in the Short-Term Scholar category; such status does not trigger the bar.
  • Previous participation in the Professor or Research Scholar categories or as the J-2 dependent of a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar subjects the Exchange Visitor to a 24-month bar on repeat participation in either of the following circumstances:
    • The Professor or Research Scholar completes a full 5 years of program participation with one or more sponsors. (NB: The five-year window opens on the program start date listed on the DS-2019 and runs continuously until closed, whether or not the scholar uses it.  It is not an aggregate of physical presence.)
    • The Professor or Research Scholar formally completes his or her program at any time during the 5-year window, meaning the SEVIS record is rendered “Inactive” or “Terminated”. (NB: In this scenario, the Professor or Research Scholar loses any unused portion of the 5-year window, and the bar commences the day after the SEVIS record’s status is changed to “Inactive” or “Terminated”.)

Short-Term Scholar Category

The purpose of the Short-Term Scholar category is to facilitate “short-term collaboration and interchange” and can be somewhat more specialized than the Professor or Research Scholar categories.

To qualify for the Short-Term Scholar category, the purpose of the visitor’s stay must be “lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills”, and the visitor must have the qualifications appropriate to the proposed activity. While there is no minimum duration of stay, Short-Term Scholars are subject to a maximum stay of six (6) months and may not extend their stay beyond that limit.

English Proficiency

Department of State regulations mandate J-visa sponsors proactively verify and document that the “exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis”.

Proficiency may be verified in one of the following ways (for further details, see English Proficiency):

  1. Citizenship of an Anglophone country.
  2. Proof of having obtained a degree at an English-medium post-secondary institution.
  3. Official letter from a language school or qualified individual at a post-secondary institution.
  4. Proof of sufficient score on an established English proficiency test.
  5. Videoconference or phone interview.

University Classes

Attending classes may not be a scholar’s primary purpose for coming to CWU; however, it may be one component of the full program. In such instances, the CWU auditing policy must be followed.

Sitting in on classes in order to observe the instructor’s pedagogical techniques would not be considered “attending”, though, of course, would be subject to permission of the class instructor.


Subject to available space, scholars have the option to live on-campus. University apartments generally are scholars' preferred type of on-campus housing. However, high demand for apartments from students makes availability limited and scholars should plan 4-6 months ahead of time to provide the greatest chance of success. OISP is able to provice some guidance and assistance in working with University Housing

Off-campus housing is a second option for Ellensburg-based scholars. At the Centers, off-campus housing is the only option, as there is no university housing at those sites. Unfortunately, OISP is not able to provide any advice or assistance in securing off-campus housing.

IMPORTANT: Scholars are required to live within 40 miles of the CWU campus that is their faculty supervisor's official station.

Role of Faculty Contact and Sponsoring Department

In order to provide academic guidance and to maximize their overall experience, visiting scholars must have a CWU faculty member willing to serve as his/her primary contact and mentor. The faculty contact and the sponsoring department have the following responsibilities:

  • Meet with the scholar in-person at a minimum once every 7-10 days
  • As needed, provide guidance in research or other academic activity
  • Provide workspace for the hosted scholar
  • Serve as the scholar’s primary contact and resource in navigating CWU and community
  • Provide activities that introduce the scholar to CWU academic and campus culture, local colleagues, and US and local culture and notify scholar of other such opportunities sponsored by other units and organizations
  • When applicable, facilitate contracts and university hiring paperwork
  • When applicable, process stipends or other financial sponsorship/compensation
  • Maintain communication with OISP in regard to the scholar

Role of the Office of International Studies and Programs

The Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) will provide administrative advice and support in a number of ways:

  • Immigration advising and documents
  • Facilitate assignment of university ID number, IT access and library access
  • Assist and advise on applying for on-campus housing
  • When necessary, assist scholar in completing work authorization and tax-related documents and process, including obtaining a Social Security Number
  • Provide activities that introduce the scholar to US and local culture and notify scholar of other such opportunities sponsored by other units and organizations

Application Procedures and Forms

Below are the forms and procedures generally needed for scholars wishing to come to CWU. Special circumstances, naturally, may require some exceptions.

1. Letters of Invitation

As appropriate to the academic unit, the scholar’s faculty contact, the Department Chair or the Dean of the College should write an official letter of invitation to the scholar, which includes the following information (as applicable):

  • The contact/supervisor and his/her role
  • The agreed dates and parameters of the scholar’s academic program
  • Other expectations of the scholar
  • Other activities available to the scholar
  • Any remuneration or other financial assistance to be provided by CWU

Please send an electronic copy to OISP as well. The original, hard copy should accompany the DS-2019 and other follow up documents sent to the scholar via courier.

Later, once the scholar’s application form is approved, OISP will draft a second letter that will include more technical information, such as immigration requirements.

2. Application for International Exchange Visitors

The application solicits the information needed to enter the scholar into the university system, to ensure the scholar is qualified and to inform the prospective host department of the scholar’s academic proposal. In order to host a scholar, the Department Chair and the Dean of the College must both approve, demonstrated through signatures on the application.

Verification of the scholar’s English proficiency will take place at this stage. If an interview is the chosen method of verification, the interview should be held and evaluated before formal approval of the application is made.

In addition to the completed form, prospective scholars must submit the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Detailed Research Proposal
  • Proof of English Proficiency

3. Request for DS-2019 Form

The Request for DS-2019 form and the required accompanying documentation solicits the information needed to generate the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility, which is the document necessary to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. OISP will not issue the DS-2019 until approval is finalized.

In addition to the completed form, prospective scholars must submit the following:

  • Legible digital copy of the scholar’s passport identity page (no digital photographs)
  • If applicable, legible digital copies of any dependents’ passport identify pages (no digital photographs)
  • Proof of sufficient finances (if not funded by CWU)
  • If applicable, copies of previous J-1 and/or J-2 DS-2019 forms

Once prepared, OISP will forward the DS-2019 and accompanying documents to the faculty contact for shipping via courier.

4. Non-Matriculated Student Application

Should the scholar wish to attend classes, (s)he must complete the Non-Matriculated Student Application in order to obtain student status.

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