Is your department planning to host an international intern, student, scholar, tourist, or business visitor? Here is an overview of what you will need to know.
Please contact the Office of International Programs visa and immigration advisors at 509-335-4508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible in your decision process.
The government’s rules and regulations change frequently, and immigration and hiring processes can be highly complex.
We will set up a case in our Immigration Tracker web portal, which you and your international candidates can use to submit and review documents, set up automatic notifications, and keep tabs on what is happening at each stage of the process.
Not sure which visa your visitor will need?
Try the visa wizard on the State Department’s visa website. Answering a few basic questions about your international candidate should lead you right to the visa information you need.
You are also always welcome to contact us with any questions.
When a department invites a foreign national to visit WSU for a short duration (usually several days to several weeks), a B-1 business visitor visa is usually appropriate.
Securing this status requires an invitation letter from the head of the host department.
Eligibility for a B-1 visa
A foreign citizen visiting the United States can qualify for a B-1 visa if:
- They are a professor, scientist, university president, business executive, etc.
- The purpose of the visit is: (1) to participate “in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences” or (2) to “undertake independent (not collaborative) research”
- The visitor will not be employed in the United States
B-1 visitors must be able to financially support themselves while in the United States.
WSU, or any U.S. funding source, can provide only reasonable reimbursement for incidental expenses—including accommodations, meals, and travel expenses. The term “reasonable” lends itself to a variety of interpretations; assume that the interpretations of that term by the U.S. consular and immigration officers will be conservative.
A visitor is not eligible for B-1 status if the individual:
- Is a student or other non-professional (in most cases)
- Will engage in collaborative research and/or teaching efforts
- Will be employed in the United States
- Will receive from WSU, or some other U.S. funding source, “any salary, wage, honorarium, stipend, or other form of compensation for services rendered”
However, there are certain exceptions that allow honorariums for academic activities.
Payment of an honorarium to a B-1 visitor may be permitted if all the following criteria are met:
- WSU (or any other U.S. funding source) will provide honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for usual academic activity or activities only
- Payment is offered by WSU and is made for activities conducted for the benefit of WSU
- The visit will last no longer than 9 days at any single institution
- The international professional visitor will not be employed in the United States
- The international visitor has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period
Be sure to check the official rules and regulations published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
If your visitor qualifies for B-1 status
If your visitor appears to qualify for B-1 status, the administrator in charge of the host unit (chair, director, dean, etc.) should issue an invitation letter to the prospective visitor.
Please contact International Programs International Student and Scholar Services to request a sample B-1 business visitor invitation letter.
See WSU Payroll Services for instructions on obtaining honorarium payments.
B-2 visa holders are welcome on campus. Please be aware, however, that the B-2 visa category is intended for visits for pleasure. It is not suitable for official visits to the university and precludes the visitor from any type of remuneration.
Interns (J-1 visa)
The purpose of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Intern Program is to help degree candidates from other countries fulfill their academic objectives through a U.S. supervised internship.
International Student and Scholar Services is here to assist both J-1 student interns and their hosting departments in the nonimmigrant visa and exchange processes.
The department initiates the process by contacting International Student and Scholar Services.
To apply, the student intern provides the following materials to WSU Office of International Programs:
- Copy of passport ID
- Financial support documentation with English translation (for non-WSU funded positions)
- A signed Training/Internship Program Plan (T/IPP) form
- A signed Academic Advisor Form (from an academic advisor, professor, or administrator at the student’s home institution)
The hosting department completes WSU’s 2-part online request form.
International Student and Scholar Services will coordinate with your department to complete the documents that enable the student to apply for a visa to participate in a WSU student intern program.
Language specialists at the Intensive American Language Center will conduct an interview with the student by phone or in person to determine whether or not the student has adequate English skills to function in the proposed internship. Language help can be arranged through the IALC if needed.
Eligibility and placement forms
International Student and Scholar Services will complete a training placement plan (DS-7002) and a J-1 certificate of eligibility (DS-2019), based on the information provided by the department in the online request form.
We will send the completed DS-7002 form as a PDF document to the department for review and signature. The hosting department will need to return a signed copy of the form as a scanned attachment or hard copy original.
International Student and Scholar Services will send the following documents to the student intern candidate:
- A copy of the signed DS-7002 along with a copy of the Home Institution Academic Advisor Form with instructions
- After receiving these 2 documents from the student with all the required signatures, International Student and Scholar Services will issue the DS-2019 and notify the professor or department representative to pick up the documents and forward them to the student by courier service
The student returns the DS-7002 and Academic Advisor Forms (with required signatures) to International Student and Scholar Services.
We will notify the professor or department representative, who will then need to pick up the documents and forward them to the student by courier service.
International Programs issues form DS-2019, which will allow the student intern to apply for a U.S. visa.
Visa entry stamp
The student intern should apply for a visa entry stamp at a consulate or U.S. embassy, based on instructions provided by International Student and Scholar Services (and the embassy or consulate website).
After the student secures the visa stamp he/she can enter the United States.
All incoming J-1 student interns must attend the orientation for incoming student interns provided by International Student and Scholar Services.
The date and time of the orientation meeting is assigned based on the student’s anticipated arrival at WSU and will appear in their pre-arrival packet.
The student intern should bring the following documents to the International Student and Scholar Services immigration check-in/orientation:
- Photocopies of passport identification page
- J-1 visa page
- Front and back side of I-94 card
- Form DS-2019
The student intern will be required to fill out a short information form at the orientation. At this time the student intern may request a travel endorsement signature on their DS-2019.
To help the university comply with federal J-1 regulations and ensure that our international visitors have a good experience, the hosting department should assume the following responsibilities.
Inform IP when student arrives
The student intern must arrive in the United States no later than 30 days following the program start date indicated on Form DS-2019 and DS-7002.
Please inform the International Student and Scholar Services of the arrival date of the student intern so that we can validate the arrival record in SEVIS within the 30-day limit. Failure to validate within the 30-day limit may result in severe consequences to the student intern and the WSU program.
You can find the arrival date on the student intern’s processed DS-2019, passport, or I-94 card.
Inform International Student and Scholar Services immediately if the student intern is not able to start the program on the date indicated on Form DS-2019. Make certain the unused DS-2019 is returned to International Student and Scholar Services for voiding. Please provide a new expected date of arrival; a new DS-2019 may be issued with the new start date.
Check-in and orientation
Make certain the student intern attends immigration check-in.
Help ensure that your intern brings the necessary documents—including the statement of compliance (pdf) and proof of medical insurance—to the orientation meeting.
Make sure the student intern has medical insurance. Interns cannot begin employment unless they are covered by insurance that meets specified benefit levels.
J-1 student interns must show proof of insurance coverage at the check-in/orientation meeting. (Spouse and dependents accompanying the J-1 student intern must also have insurance coverage.)
After the internship
The department must complete a formal written evaluation of the student internship at the completion of the program (as described on the internship placement plan, the DS-7002). This evaluation must be submitted to International Student and Scholar Services for the student intern’s file and to the student intern.
If the program lasts longer than 6 months, the department is required to complete both a midpoint evaluation and a concluding evaluation.
Notify International Student and Scholar Services in writing if the student intern completes, withdraws from, or resigns the appointment prior to the end date of this appointment.
Visiting scholars (J-1 visa)
The purpose of the J-1 scholar program is to increase mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.
The J-1 program is used for temporary visits. By law, a J-1 visitor cannot be a candidate for a tenure track or permanent position.
Temporary visit status
Obtaining an entry visa stamp requires the J-1 scholar to prove to the U.S. consulate that they intend to return to their country of origin or permanent residency.
Certain exchange visitors (J-1) are subject to a 2-year home-country physical presence requirement, which requires them to return to their home country for at least 2 years at the end of the exchange visitor program. Some waivers are available depending upon circumstances.
The hosting department initiates the process
New J-1 scholar requests and J-1 extension requests should be emailed to email@example.com.
Who arranges for a J-1 scholar’s visit?
The primary WSU faculty and staff involved in arranging for a J-1 scholar visit include:
- Host supervisor/professor: This person will work directly with the J-1 scholar in conducting their program at WSU. Questions about the research project, employment expectations, and facilities should be directed to this person.
- Contact person: This is an administrative support person in the host department. This person is usually responsible for providing the necessary information to International Student and Scholar Services for creation of the DS-2019 form; preparing the university employment papers (if appropriate); assigning a university ID number; etc.
- International Scholar Advisor/Responsible Officer: This person manages the Exchange Visitor Program within International Student and Scholar Services. The ISA prepares the DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate for J-1 status, processes extensions and transfers, and answers questions about your visa status. The J-1 scholar must meet with the ISA for an initial orientation meeting following arrival. The ISA can be reached at 509-335-4508. Regular business hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, PST/PDT.
English language competency
It is essential to ensure that a visiting scholar has sufficient English language ability to assure a successful exchange for the benefit of all involved.
Language competency is also a legal requirement of the J-1 visa. The signature of the host department’s chairperson/director is an acknowledgement that the visitor has adequate English skills.
The host faculty member should make a personal phone call to the prospective visitor or request an assessment interview from International Programs. Email correspondence is not adequate for assessing conversational skills.
J-1 research scholars and/or their hosting departments must document at least $1,520 in support before International Student and Scholar Services can issue a J-1 document to participate in a program at WSU. This funding can come from various sources, including personal, but must be documented.
A J-1 scholar must have at least $1,500 in traveler’s checks (in US dollars) upon arrival at WSU to cover initial housing, food, telephone, and electricity costs. If a J-1 student is to be paid by WSU, the first paycheck should not be expected until at least 2 weeks after work begins.
Childcare in the United States can be expensive, up to $1,300 per month. See the WSU Children’s Center monthly rates.
Childcare is a personal expense. Financial assistance from WSU, the local community, or the state might not be possible. If a J-1 scholar plans to bring a child during his/her WSU appointment period and rely on childcare service, they need to plan and budget ahead.
Most childcare services require registration/enrollment before the child arrives at the childcare facility—and there is often a long waiting list. It is best to have the J-1 student visit the childcare facility and resource to make sure it will be a good match.
If you’re a J-1 scholar and will be employed and paid by WSU, the university’s Payroll Office must know your immigration status for taxation purposes. Please work with your host department contact person to process the necessary employment documents, such as a W-9 and W-4 forms.
The J-1 scholar should fill out a Tax Determination Questionnaire or meet with a Payroll Office representative.
After each calendar year, the scholar must file a U.S income tax report. International Student and Scholar Services can help with this process.
Fees for visa processing and acquiring a mandatory SEVIS record (I-901 fee) accrue to the scholar, and must be paid before a visiting J-1 scholar can obtain a visa stamp in their passport. These fees are normally paid by the visiting scholar, but can be paid by the sponsoring department.
SEVIS I-901 fee
This fee, currently $350, is paid to the Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement division via their website. WSU Office of International Programs will send website information to the J-1 scholar.
Visa stamp processing fee
This fee is currently $160 for primary visa holder, plus additional $160 for each accompanying J-2 family member. This is paid by the scholar to the U.S. Department of State.
WSU International Programs will send information to the scholar about the visa stamp process.
The hosting department pays a $150 service fee to WSU International Programs. This service fee can be paid by Interdepartment Requisition Invoice (IRI) or check.
Department completes the International Student and Scholar Services DS-2019 Request Form posted online.
WSU International Programs provides:
- An immigrant classification comparison chart to assist departments in the decision process
- Information for departments hosting J-1 scholars
- The online DS-2019 request form
- Personal answers to questions and consultations
Issuance of Form DS-2019
Department completes the DS-2019 request form and submits it to International Student and Scholar Services, along with all the required documentation.
WSU International Programs issues Form DS-2019 as long as information on the request form is complete and accurate and all of the required documentation is provided.
Processing time: 5-7 working days
DS-2019 and welcome packet
Department picks up DS-2019 and welcome packet at Bryan Hall Room 206 after being notified that the document is ready.
WSU International Programs notifies the department to pick up:
- Original Form DS-2019
- Welcome brochure and welcome letter to the scholar from International Programs
- Department checklist for orientation
- Health insurance information
Processing time: 2 working days
Mailing of materials
Department mails the DS-2019 and materials to scholar
Processing time: 3 days or more depending on location
Pre-arrival packet and checklist
Information about paying the SEVIS fee, obtaining a visa, medical insurance, etc., is included in the Pre-Arrival Handout that accompanies the packet containing the DS-2019.
Host departments are responsible for sending this packet to the scholar (courier service such as FedEx is highly recommended).
Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019)
A DS-2019 is an “eligibility” document that provides a basic description of the exchange visitor and the exchange activity. The DS-2019 enables the visiting scholar to:
- Obtain a J-1 visa at a US. Embassy or Consulate overseas
- Enter/reenter the United States as a J-1, provided they also have a valid unexpired passport and visa (Canadians do not need a visa to enter, but must possess a DS-2019 to enter as J-1)
- Benefit from employment, change of status (if eligible), or transfer of institutions
The information appearing on a DS-2019 is contained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
A J-1 scholar cannot receive the DS-2019 form directly from WSU International Programs. The hosting department must request the form from International Student and Scholar Services and send it to the J-1 scholar.
If the department has adequate resources to host a J-1 scholar, that person can expect to be offered a temporary position—paid or unpaid—and receive amenities, such as an office or lab space, access to the WSU network, library privileges, etc.
Obtaining a J-1 entry visa
The J-1 visa is a large stamp affixed to a foreign passport that allows the visiting scholar to request U.S. entry. A separate (J-2) visa is required for all family members that accompany the scholar as dependents.
A J-1 visa stamp can be obtained only at a U.S. embassy or consulate in a location outside the United States by presenting a valid Certificate of Eligibility DS-2019, along with a valid passport and visa application forms, including all applicable fees.
Information about locations of the closest visa issuing location, as well as detailed instructions and forms, can be located online:
Steps for the J-1 scholar
Complete these steps, in order, to obtain a J-1 U.S. entry visa.
- Receive the information packet from WSU including DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate for J-1 Status.
- Pay SEVIS fee to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. This fee is separate from the visa processing fee. You will need your DS-2019 before you pay the SEVIS fee. See SEVIS Payment notes below.
- Make an appointment to obtain a J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. See below.
- Fill in visa processing forms, including payment for visa stamp, and attend visa interview.
- Make travel plans.
Due to worldwide terrorism threats, the U.S. government has tightened security with regard to the issuance of visas. First, all visa applicants’ names will be checked during the application process. Information resulting from the name-check, or if the field of study listed on Form DS-2019 involves a dual-use technology (i.e., technologies that have both civilian and military applications), may require a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO).
The SAO is forwarded to Washington, D.C., and can take 1 or more months to complete. Washington State University cannot request that the SAO be expedited. If a visa application has been pending for more than 30 days, an inquiry can be made.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an internet-based U.S. government system that WSU is required to use to track international visitors in J-1 and F-1 visa categories. For details about SEVIS, please check the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
- The SEVIS fee payment form requires a SEVIS ID number, found in the upper right-hand corner of the DS-2019 form. This MUST be done before a J-1 scholar attends the visa interview.
- It is highly recommended that the scholar bring a receipt of the SEVIS payment to the visa appointment, although the proof of payment information is available electronically to the visa issuer.
- The SEVIS payment can be made with a check by mail or with a credit card via the internet. Department of Homeland Security also will accept fee payment from a third party, either in the United States or abroad.
- Visa application: It is highly advisable to visit the website of your nearest U.S. consulate or embassy to obtain the most updated information.
Medical insurance requirement
Medical/health insurance is required for all J-1 scholars and their J-2 family members during their entire exchange program.
Evidence of a medical insurance certificate or contract must be presented to International Student and Scholar Services after the scholar’s arrival at WSU.
U.S. medical care can be extremely expensive, which makes adequate health insurance imperative. For example, the average daily charge for a semi-private room at Pullman Memorial Hospital is $1,448. Emergency services, depending upon needs, can exceed $1,200 per visit. Surgeries or other types of physician care would be additional expenses.
Willfully failing to maintain the required insurance coverage while participating in an exchange visitor program will result in expulsion from the program.
This cost usually is borne by the scholar, but may be paid by WSU if agreed to by the host department.
Medical insurance prices vary depending on age and policy features. You should expect to pay, at a minimum, $150 per month (potentially much more depending on coverage).
Better benefits cost more. Less expensive contracts offered as “travel medical insurance” often do not cover costs of child birth, elective dental care, elective eye care, or medicines. Be sure to check the benefits of the policy you purchase.
Currently, no participating WSU plan covers medical evacuation and repatriation. Unless a WSU host department agrees to pay for this, the J-1 scholar will need to spend at least $700 per year evacuation and repatriation insurance.
Medical insurance that includes repatriation and evacuation policies can be purchased from many travel insurance companies whose information is posted on the internet.
Minimum coverages required by the U.S. Department of State for both J-1 participants and J-2 spouse or dependents are:
|Repatriation of remains||$25,000|
|Deductible per accident or illness||$500|
Insurance policy requirements:
- May require a waiting period for pre-existing medical conditions, which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards
- May include provisions for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness
- Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates
The policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation:
- Having an A.M. Best rating of “A-“or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-I”’ or above, a Standard and Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above, or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or
- Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country; or
- That is part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or
- Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible as determined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
If a scholar cannot find an insurance policy that meets the above requirements prior to arrival in the United States, an International Student and Scholar Services advisor can help you find one after you arrive at WSU. However, the scholar is assuming a serious financial risk due to lack of insurance coverage.
Travel outside the United States
J-1 scholars are welcome to travel outside the United States during their appointment at WSU. A valid visa is necessary for reentry to the United States.
Dependents may accompany the scholar abroad or stay in the United States. (The J-2 visa status is derived from that of the J-1 scholar.)
If a J-1 scholar travels outside the United States for an extended period of time—e.g., 30 days or more—he/she should take J-2 dependent(s) along.
Leaving a dependent alone in the United States for an extended period puts the J-1 scholar at risk of negative consequences, such as the refusal of a request for a visa renewal for abandoning family members and misuse of the program.
To comply with federal J-1 regulations, International Student and Scholar Services requests that the hosting department assume the following responsibilities.
Inform IP when scholar arrives
The scholar must arrive in the United States no later than 30 days following the program start date indicated on Form DS-2019 and DS-7002.
Please inform International Student and Scholar Services of the scholar’s arrival date so that we can validate the arrival record in SEVIS within the 30-day limit. Failure to validate within the 30-day limit may result in severe consequences to the student intern and the WSU program.
You can find the arrival date on the scholar’s processed DS-2019, passport, or I-94 card.
Inform International Student and Scholar Services immediately if the scholar is not able to start the program on the date indicated on Form DS-2019. Make certain the unused DS-2019 is returned to International Student and Scholar Services for voiding. Please provide a new expected date of arrival; a new DS-2019 may be issued with the new start date.
Providing resources to help Your J-1 scholars do their work
Visiting scholars and researchers should be provided departmental amenities given to other WSU faculty such as a desk and/or office space, secretarial assistance, desk supplies, file, bookshelves, telephone and computer, access to the WSU network, and email.
An orientation should be provided to help the J-1 scholar work effectively in the academic unit.
Visiting J-1 scholars not employed by WSU should be given a courtesy adjunct appointment to establish affiliation with WSU and allow access to privileges commensurate to their position, including WSU network access, a Cougar Card, and library access.
The Personnel Action Form, located within the WSU Business Policy and Procedures Manual, is used for this purpose and should be submitted to HRS before the visitor arrives (if possible) to assure timely issuance of a WSU ID number. A social security number is not required to create the PAF form.
Other J-1 scholar requests must be accompanied by evidence of their financial support from their home university or other sponsoring entity.
Termination of J-1 sponsorship
Please note that it is the J-1 scholar’s responsibility to be aware of and comply with the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State.
It is important to realize that a sponsor will terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in a program when the exchange visitor:
- Fails to pursue the activities for which he or she was admitted to the United States
- Is unable to continue the agreed-upon activities (unless otherwise exempted pursuant to these regulations)
- Violates the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and/or the sponsor rules that termination is warranted
- Willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage required under these regulations
- Engages in unauthorized employment
Tourist and business visa waivers
It is possible for visitors for business and tourism from certain countries to enter the United States without a visa stamp.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs offers a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
Visa waiver program
Upon entry into the United States, visitors are given either a WT (waiver-tourist) or a WB (waiver-business) status that will be indicated on their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. As a result, it is crucial for the visitor to make known the business nature of the activity with the immigration officer at the port of entry so the WB notation can be made on the Form I-94.
Potential users should be aware of 2 restrictions on visa waiver status:
- The 90-day stay in the United States cannot, in any circumstances, be extended.
- It is never possible to change from the visa waiver status to any other nonimmigrant status without departing from the United States.
Participating countries are subject to change, so it’s best to check with the U.S. Department of State for the most current information.
Eligible nationals from all visa waiver countries are required to register via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
Please note that the United Kingdom refers only to British citizens who have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. It does not refer to British overseas citizens, British dependent territories’ citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries.
VWP participants will be required to present an “ePassport” containing a digital photograph printed on the passport data page or an integrated chip containing information from the passport’s data page.
It is recommended that VWP participants check with their airline to make sure of their eligibility for VWP.