Sign at entrance to the University of Minnesota Duluth

Thank you for your interest in becoming a visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This program offers scholars the opportunity to engage in research, scholarship, training, and professional development opportunities while taking part in cultural interaction and exchange with our campus community.

International Visiting Scholar Information

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Visiting Scholar Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for the Exchange Visitor Program (J-Visa) the potential visiting scholar must meet the following regulatory requirements:

The scholar cannot:

  • Be a candidate for a tenure track position at UMD.
  • Be in the United States on a non-immigrant visa for all or part of the 12-month period immediately prior to their program start date on their DS-2019.
    • EXCEPT IF:
      • The scholar is transferring from another Exchange Visitor Program.
      • The scholar was in the United States less than 6 months in length.
      • The scholar was in the “Short-term” Scholar category.
  • Return to the United States as a Professor or Research Scholar if they have been in the United States as a Professor or Research Scholar within the past two years and completed that program.

Hosting Department Requirement

Hosting Department Requirements

If you are interested or have been contacted to host an international visiting scholar, ensure you can fulfill the following requirements before submitting a hosting request.

The department must designate a mentor for the scholar. 

The mentor is expected to:

  • Be physically present on campus during the scholar’s research period. The mentor can take vacation days but should not be on extended leave or sabbatical, or otherwise away from the University for a long period of time (e.g. more than 2 weeks).
  • Help the scholar settle in at UMD and Duluth. This includes:
    • Coordinating an office space and the furniture/technology that goes in it.
    • Assisting with housing arrangements.
    • Coordinating and scheduling arrival pick-up and departure drop-off.
    • Scheduling a meeting with International Student Services staff for immigration check-in and health insurance enrollment.
    • Welcoming your visiting scholar to the department.
    • Introducing colleagues.
    • Inviting to meetings/events.
    • Showing them around campus and introducing them to relevant offices/units on campus (ISS, IPS, University Library, etc.).
    • Showing them around Duluth (shopping areas, DTA transit system, schools, restaurants, etc.).
    • Serving as the contact person for International Programs and Services (IPS).
    • Providing IPS with the scholar’s arrival information, physical address, and campus address.
    • Assisting with any issues that come up during their stay.

The department is responsible for:

  • Assisting with housing arrangements.
  • Securing office space and the equipment/technology within that space. This includes the costs of the technology. Scholars pay a fee each semester. $250 of that goes to the hosting department to offset some of the costs associated with hosting. 
  • Coordinating arrival and departure pick-up/drop-off.

Visiting Scholar Housing


UMD is unable to provide on-campus housing for international visiting scholars. Scholars are responsible for their own housing. Some hosting departments may be able to provide assistance in seeking housing, but others may not. Be sure to discuss housing options with your mentor and hosting department during the application process.

Required Documents

Required Documents

All visiting scholar applicants must have the following documentation:

  • A copy of the photo page of your passport and all dependents’ passports.
  • A current Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Research proposal.
  • Proof of English proficiency (J-Check or proof of graduating from a program in English, Native speaker, 53 TOEFL iBT or 5.5 IELTS). Additional test scores and thresholds can be found here.
  • J1 scholars can be evaluated for English proficiency by ELCI for a fee of $75.
  • Bank and salary statements to provide proof that you can financially support yourself and your dependents during the length of your programs (including grace periods). Proof can be letters from banks or grant awards. These must be original with signatures and stamps. Documents must be in English or translated into English.

Funding Requirements

Minimum Funding Requirements*

Documentation should be in US$ or include currency conversion. It should be in English or have an unofficial English translation attached. 

U of M Offer Letters: If the dates in this request do not match the initial offer dates in your letter, a statement should be added in/with the letter that the department requests the DS-2019 to be issued for the dates matching in this request. 

Funding ranges: If a funding letter provides a range of support, the lower amount is to be used for this request. 


Per Month 

Per Year 

J-1 Scholar 



Additional funds are required if scholar is inviting J-2 dependents: 

1 dependent 



2 dependents 



3 dependents 



*Minimum considers the cost of basic accommodations, utilities, food, transportation, & health insurance. Planning for more is recommended. 

Scholar Application Process

Application Process

Thank you for your interest in the Visiting Scholar Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD)! 


  1. A prospective visiting scholar must find a faculty mentor at UMD. The mentor should be in the scholar’s area of study or research interest and must be physically present at UMD during the study/research period.
  2. Once a mentor is established, the mentor will coordinate with their department to complete all University of Minnesota steps to invite a J-1 Scholar.
  3. At least two months prior to the scholars’ expected start date, the hosting department must complete the Prospective J-1 Scholar Application (DS-2019 request). This application and form DS-2019 is the J legal document a scholar needs for the J visa application process, for entry into the U.S., and for maintaining legal immigration status once they arrive in the U.S.
  4. The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Coordinator prepares the DS-2019 and the hosting department assumes responsibility for sending it to the prospective scholar.

*Scholars must have the original DS-2019 to apply for their visa and enter the U.S. They should not use a copy. It is recommended to send the original DS-2019 via FedEx or another private carrier to help ensure timely delivery.

The scholar receives the DS-2019 Form from the department, pays the SEVIS Fee, and goes to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in their home country to apply for the J-1 entry visa

What To Bring

The scholar needs to bring:

  • DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Proof of Funding/Support (i.e.: UMN Department offer letter, bank statement, official grant award, etc.)
  • UMN Department Letter of Invitation (if the scholar doesn’t have a UMN offer letter already)
  • Receipt of payment of SEVIS Fee (SEVIS I-901 Fee)
  • The scholar should contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where they will apply, for further application requirements

Health Insurance

Federal regulations require that you and your dependents have a certain level of health insurance coverage. The health insurance must be purchased for you and all dependents and must cover the length of your program, including grace periods. 

  • Scholars visiting the University for longer than 31 days are required to enroll in the University-sponsored Student Health Benefits Program (SBHP). Scholars must contact the Office of Student Health Benefits to complete enrollment materials within 31 days of their arrival.
  • Scholars visiting 31 days or less may choose not to enroll in the SHBP but are required to carry their own health plan coverage for the duration of their visit to the University. This coverage must meet J-1 visa U.S. federal regulation requirements.
  • J Interns are required to enroll in the University-sponsored SHBP regardless of the duration of their stay.
  • The J-1 visitor is informed that the UMN requires all international scholars to enroll in University-sponsored health insurance.

Next Steps

Next Steps

The University of Minnesota has prepared detailed information for prospective scholars, faculty mentors, and hosting departments. Please review these details, important steps, and deadlines in advance of making any formal commitments to host an exchange visitor. And you are encouraged to contact UMD’s International Programs and Services staff for campus-based guidance.