How to Invite Visiting Scholar


A Visiting Scholar is an individual who performs collaborative research with a KU faculty member for a limited amount of time. In most cases they are a student or employee at another university. The individual will have a Visiting Scholar affiliate appointment at KU.


How Much Time

In most cases the internal visa sponsorship request process take 3-4 weeks. Once the visa sponsorship paperwork is complete and International Support Services has issued a DS-2019 form, the scholar will apply for a J-1 visa at a US consulate. That could take as little as a few days to several months.


Type of Visa

J-1 scholar

In most cases we use the J-1 research scholar or J-1 short-term scholar visa category. These two visa types easily fit with the purpose of the visiting scholar who is not paid by KU. These two visa categories also allow for payments like academic honorarium or stipends.

For visits that are less than 6 months we can use the J-1 short-term scholar visa category. For visits longer than two week, but less than five years we can use the J-1 research scholar visa category. A common length of time is one year.

Both of these J visa categories have the potential to give the visiting scholar a two-year home residency requirement once they finish their visiting scholar program. The J-1 research scholar does have a 24-month bar on repeat participation that prohibits the person from starting a second J-1 research scholar program for 24-months.

Visitor Visa/ESTA Travel Authorization

The visitor visa should only be used for very short time periods and the research must be independent and KU can not benefit from the research. This last criteria is one of the reasons we rarely use the visitor visa category for Visiting Scholars.

Payments for Visitor Visa

Academic honorarium and other payments to the individual may be possible if the visit to KU is less than 9 days. Please talk with Account Payables.


Invitation Letter

You may receive a request for an invitation letter from the scholar who needs a letter from KU to support their funding application. Letters should be from the KU faculty host because they will oversee the research at KU. Letters should include:

  • General field of research
  • Brief description of research
  • Exact start and end date they will be at KU
  • Either KU funding (include exact dollar amount) or no funding from KU
  • Additional benefits department is offering scholar (office space, staff assistance, department facilities, etc.)

Restricted Party Screening

All visiting scholar affiliate appointments must be screened by Global Operations & Security. For those who go through the J-1 visa sponsorship process with International Support Services, this restricted party screening process is part of the application process. For all others, the KU department should reach out directly to GOS and begin the screening.