International Student and Scholar Services


Hosting a Visitor

Does your department want to help your students' understand their studies in a global context and expand their learning experience?

A visiting scholar can broaden your students' view of their role in the world.

Guide for bringing a J-1 Exchange Visitor to your department

Step 1A: Application

The completed J-1 Exchange Visitor application must be completed by the sponsoring department in conjunction with the applicant.

The appointment must be approved by the faculty mentor, college/school dean and provost/vice president for Academic Affairs.

1B: Funding

St. Cloud State University

  • The sponsoring department must complete paperwork through Human Resources if the exchange visitor will be employed by St Cloud State University.
  • Any St. Cloud State University funding for the exchange visitor must follow all Minnesota State policies.
  • Once the contract is approved, a copy must be submitted to the Center for International Studies.
  • Contact Business Services/Foundation for more information.

Host institution/agency

  • A financial guarantee is required if the exchange visitor will be funded by their home institution, private organization, or government agency.
  • The guarantee must include detailed information regarding the funding for the visitor for the duration of their stay.

Other sources

Step 2: Dependent Request (if applicable)

  • Complete the Exchange Visitor Dependent Request if the exchange visitor has dependents such as a spouse and/or children under 21 years of age who will accompany them to the United States.
  • Each dependent will require J-2 dependent status and the exchange visitor must demonstrate in his/her application the ability to support them financially.

Step 3: Addendum to initial terms and conditions

If an exchange visitor wants to conduct activities off campus, they must:

  • Complete an Addendum to their agreement of initial terms and conditions.
  • The activity must be occasional in nature and incidental to the visitor's primary program objective.

Contact the Center for International Studies with questions about the request.

Step 4: New employee data sheet

The New Employee Data Sheet is submitted to Human Resources to allow the university to issue an identification number (Tech ID) to the exchange visitor.

Step 5: Exchange visitors not paid by St. Cloud State University

If the exchange visitor will NOT be paid by St. Cloud State University, they must complete the Volunteer Faculty/Coach/Trainer Application to obtain access to required resources on campus.

The university will provide answers about its policy.

Step 6: Request for J-1 exchange visitor

The Center for International Studies requires the following documents be submitted as a packet with a Request for J-1 Visitor Exchange as a cover after completing the above steps. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor application.
  • Official invitation letter from school/college.
  • Financial support documentation.
  • Copy of the Exchange Visitor's passport.
  • New employee data sheet.
  • Exchange Visitor dependent request form (if applicable).
  • Copy of the dependents' passport (if applicable).
  • Addendum to site of activity and changes to terms and conditions of initial employment (if applicable).
  • Request for appointment of volunteer faculty (if applicable).

Submit the entire packet to:

Attn: Kristy Nelson Ramos
101 Lawrence Hall, 720 Fourth Ave. S
St. Cloud, MN 56301, U.S.A.

Direct questions to the Center for International Studies.

Step 7: Center for International Studies review

Within two weeks of receiving your request packet, the Center for International Studies will mail the immigration paperwork to the administrative/logistical liaison and/or faculty mentor of the sponsoring department. 

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring department to send all immigration paperwork to the exchange visitor. 

Visa processing times vary by country, and it can take up to six months for a visa to be issued. 

The Center for International Studies will also email an electronic version of the request to the administrative/logistical liaison and/or faculty of the sponsoring department to keep on file.

Hosting a J-1 Exchange Visitor


Professor or research scholar

  • Professors will primarily teach, lecture, observe or consult; may also conduct research.
  • Research scholars will primarily conduct research, observe or consult in connection with a research project; may also teach or lecture.
  • A minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum five-year stay.
  • Extensions are granted up to program's maximum length.
  • After completion, participants are barred for two years from beginning a new J-1 Professor/Research Scholar program.

Short-term scholar

  • A professor, research scholar or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training or demonstrating special skills.
  • No minimum stay; maximum of six months in the U.S.
  • Extensions are granted up to the program's maximum length.


The U.S. Department of State approves candidates based on the specific appointment responsibilities, salary, duties and dates on the application.

J-1 Exchange Visitors are not authorized to participate in a different program or employment or to change departments without Center for International Studies authorization.

Sponsoring departments should notify the Center for International Studies immediately of any change in position duties, pay rates, research or employment of exchange visitors.

The sponsoring department should determine criterion for candidate selection that is dependent on the position’s responsibilities. Supporting documents may include:

  • Name and contact information of at least three references.
  • Proof of an undergraduate and/or terminal degree (required).
  • Demonstrated ability to actively participate in student services and maintain an active record of relevant scholarship.
  • Proof of active professional designation, (if applicable).
  • Cover letter and CV/resume that outlines:
    • Details of education and relevant work experience.
    • Company name, location, title/position held, years of employment and responsibilities.
    • Teaching experience/applied research/significant experience.
  • Proof of English language proficiency.
  • Sample of written work (current/published research).
  • Copy of transcripts from all schools attended.


St. Cloud State University is required to verify that a candidate has funds to cover their costs during their stay in the United States.

The same documentation will be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when the Exchange Visitor applies for a J-1 visa.

Acceptable proof of funds:

  • SCSU hire: The sponsoring department must contact Human Resources about posting a position if it intends to provide a salary or stipend. A copy of the contract must be submitted to the Center for International Studies.
  • Private sponsor: An affidavit of support is necessary and must detail what is/is not covered if the exchange visitor's host institution or government will pay their salary or stipend.
  • Personal funds: The exchange visitor must provide bank statements in their name showing the required balance amount.

All supporting funding must:

  • Be dated within the past six months.
  • Be translated into English.
  • Clearly show currency in U.S. dollars.
  • Be from liquid assets.

Health insurance

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and dependents must have adequate health insurance in effect while they are in the United States.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and dependents must purchase St. Cloud State University’s health insurance policy.

St. Cloud State University is enrolled in a policy through United Healthcare. The sponsoring department can determine the cost of the insurance coverage by contacting the Center for International Studies with the intended start/end dates. The health insurance premium is to be paid upon the Exchange Visitor’s arrival on campus.

A third party is not allowed to make payments to the Business Services office toward the Exchange Visitor’s health insurance.

Department responsibilities

Hosting a visiting scholar requires the collaboration of many. The department must:

  • Designate a primary connection in three categories.

College/school dean

    • Ensures that the program is suitable to the Exchange Visitor’s background, needs and experience.
    • Ensures the Exchange Visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their program.
    • Provides an official letter of invitation outlining expectations, funding, etc. for the position.
    • Authorizes the request for the issuance of the DS-2019 from the Center for International Studies.

Faculty mentor

    • Ensures that all academic responsibilities and objectives are met by Exchange Visitors during their time at St. Cloud State University.
    • Ensures appropriate supervision and evaluation of the Exchange Visitor.
    • Ensures that teaching duties are outlined well in advance, including arrangements for ordering books for courses (if applicable).
    • Ensures that research goals are agreed upon by outlining the objectives and interests of the sponsoring department.
    • Ensures that the Exchange Visitor’s research can be carried out and completed within the time limits of the visit (if applicable).

Administrative/logistical liaison

    • Serves as the primary contact for the Exchange Visitor to help answer questions and correspond with the visitor before and during their time at St. Cloud State University.
    • Consults with the Center for International Studies to ensure the visitor has documentation to meet U.S. visa and immigration requirements.
    • Assists in gathering the required documentation from the applicant.
    • Responsible for introducing the visitor to other members of the sponsoring department, providing a briefing on the university and resources and activities available on and off campus.
  • Gather supporting documents, information, approvals/signatures and submit the Request for J-1 Exchange Visitor to the Center for International Studies.
  • Ensure all documents are sent to the candidate to allow application for the J-1 visa.
  • Ensure the visitor will have appropriate office space, office keys, telephone, computer and/or printer.
  • Assist in obtaining adequate housing and meal options.
  • Provide information and make arrangements for airport arrival assistance.
  • Provide cultural and professional exchange opportunities and ensure visitors receive invitations to appropriate social and cultural functions.
  • Assist in the necessary accounts set-up and access at St. Cloud State University.

Social Security number

To qualify for a Social Security number you must be physically in the U.S. and in a visa classification that permits employment.

Although there are many classifications that permit work, and thus eligible for a Social Security number, this document addresses nonimmigrants on an “F” student visa and Exchange Visitors on a “J” student or scholar visa

Housing and meal options


It's important to ensure adequate housing is set up before the visitor arrives in the United States.

Contact your visitor to determine if they would like to rent an apartment on campus or an apartment/home off campus.

Those who choose on-campus housing will stay at Coborn Plaza. The administrative/logistical liaison should contact Residential Life for pricing and availability and reserve housing based on the visitor's needs.

Coborn Plaza housing has furniture, kitchen appliances and washer/dryer, but does not include linens, toiletries or kitchenware or utensils.  Upon early request, a starter package that includes many of the necessary items can be borrowed from the Center for International Studies.

If the visitor chooses to reside off campus, the administrative/logistical liaison should help find appropriate housing near the university.

Meal Plan

Discuss the meal plan options with the visitor to determine if they would prefer to prepare their own meals or purchase a meal plan through Dining Services.


Airport Arrival

The sponsoring department should be sure that Exchange Visitors are met at the airport or that shuttle reservations are made in advance.

Executive Express reservations can be made online.

If a representative from the sponsoring department is not able to greet the exchange visitor at the airport, someone greet them upon their arrival in St. Cloud.

Minnesota driver’s license

To drive in Minnesota, visitors need to obtain a driver's license.

Public transportation

If the Exchange Visitor needs transportation off-campus, Metro Transit provides free, unlimited-ride bus service throughout St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell and Waite Park.

Getting settled at SCSU

The sponsoring department should make arrangements for:

ID number

If the Exchange Visitor will be paid by St. Cloud State University, then their ID number will be processed by Human Resources

If the Exchange Visitor will not be paid by St. Cloud State University, then their ID number will be processed by Records and Registration

Health insurance charges

Once an ID number has been processed, the Center for International Studies must be notified so the appropriate charges are applied to the Exchange Visitor’s account.

St. Cloud State account

In order to set-up the exchange visitors’ St. Cloud State account, the sponsoring department must submit the following to Information Technology Services for assignment:

  • ID Number.
  • Start/end dates of program.
  • Department/school assignment.

Library borrowing privileges

Submit these to SCSU Library Privileges for Visiting Scholars:

  • Department/school/office assignment.
  • Contact person.
  • Huskynet email address of contact person.
  • Name of visiting scholar.
  • Visiting scholar's SCSU Tech ID.
  • Visiting scholar's email address.
  • Visiting scholar's visit start date/end date.