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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Prospective J-1 Visiting Scholars


Central Washington University is able to accept Exchange Visitors in three non-student categories: Professor, Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar. Each has a particular definition based on the activities to take place at CWU, as well as particular requirements and limitations.

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 proposing participation 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 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.

Attending Classes

While attending classes at CWU may be one small component of a scholar’s proposed academic program, it may not be the scholar’s sole or primary purpose. In such a case, the individual should apply to the university as Non-Matriculated (Guest) Student and obtain an F-1 visa.

Those scholars who wish to incorporate attending classes, whether for credit or not, into a larger academic program, must also apply and be admitted as a Non-Matriculated (Guest) Student. In accordance to the University’s Auditing Policy, even those who do not wish to receive credit must formally register for the desired class and pay the applicable tuition.

Sitting in on a class in order to observe the instructor’s pedagogical techniques would not constitute attendance in the above sense, but would require the instructor’s permission.

English Proficiency

US 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”.

For more information, see the English Proficiency page.


Those wishing to apply to be a visiting scholar at CWU must submit the following documents and information to the Office of International Studies and Programs.

1. Application for International Exchange Visitors

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

2. Request for DS-2019 Form

  • Legible electronic copy of passport information page (no digital photos)
  • Documentation verifying sufficient funding
  • Electronic copies of any previous J-1 and/or J-2 DS-2019s
  • Legible electronic copy of the passport information pages for any accompanying dependents (no digital photos)

If planning to take classes:

3. Non-Matriculated Student Application

Faculty Sponsor

Visiting J-1 scholars must have a CWU academic department, and a CWU faculty member in that department, willing to serve as a host. If a prospective scholar does not have a contact at CWU, OISP can forward his or her application, CV and research proposal to the appropriate Department Chair to assist with a hosting inquiry. Prospective scholars should know that some CWU departments do not grant at-large hosting requests.


Scholars must live within 40 miles of the CWU campus at which their faculty supervisor is based.


While some scholars have chosen to live in private accommodation off campus, most scholars have found it more convenient to live in university housing. Unfortunately, CWU does not have housing specifically dedicated to scholars, though university housing options do include a variety of apartments in which scholars may request to live. As these apartments are also open to CWU students, we cannot guarantee space will be available, though the past has seen few problems. In recent years, CWU has experienced high student enrollment numbers, which have made space in university housing increasingly limited. Scholars are encouraged to allow significant time for housing placement. More information about and the application for university apartments are available here:

OISP is unable to assist with off-campus housing in any way.


CWU does not maintain university housing at any of its centers, so private accommodation is the only option. OISP is unable to assist with off-campus housing.

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