Visiting International Scholars

University Guidelines for Visiting International Scholars to Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The University’s J-visa program allows units to host international scholars who are able to contribute to the mission of the institution and advance strategic priorities. The following guidelines are intended to assist departments, colleges, and divisions in completing the required documents and approvals needed to participate in the visiting international scholar program.

  1. The hosting unit submits a letter of intent to the Elizabeth and Wynn Kearney Center for International Student Services Office stating the purpose of the visit and how the scholar’s proposed activities will benefit the department, college, or division. Invitations should only be extended after obtaining the agreement of the department, the appropriate deans and vice presidents, and the Provost.
  2. The invitation is extended on behalf of the University and by the hosting department or unit. The hosting unit must be willing to assist the visitor for the duration of the visit and to introduce the visiting scholar to the campus and the local community. A scholar is expected to be engaged in the life of the University for the duration of the visit and will make at least one presentation or conduct at least one event while on campus.
  3. Funding arrangements for visiting scholars will vary, depending on whether or not the scholar has funding to support the visit. For example, Fulbright scholars receive a stipend that requires an institutional match from the university. Scholars who are on sabbatical or receive grants from their institutions or governments may not require a university match. Any invitation letter must clarify both the scholar’s and the University’s commitments related to funding.
  4. If the scholar is to be compensated, all federal and state regulations must be met.
  5. A visiting scholar may have a MavCard and Tech ID, email access, and library privileges.
  6. If engaged in research, the visiting scholar must comply with all University regulations and policies pertaining to the conduct of research activities.
  7. The hosting unit is expected to provide the scholar access to essential resources (i.e., space, equipment, supplies, technology) based on the scholar’s proposed activities.
  8. Visitors are responsible for their own living arrangements and expenses, including parking on campus.
  9. If a visitor’s personal health insurance does not conform to J-1 visa regulations, the visitor MUST purchase coverage through the MSU Mankato Health Services Office.

Revised: February 14, 2017


View Departmental Procedures Flowchart

Request for DS-2019 Application Packet (Instructions)

J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories

  • Professors: may remain in the U.S. for up to five years.
    • The professor category is for a foreign national who enters the United States for the primary purpose of teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting at accredited post-secondary academic institutions, museums, libraries or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsoring organization.
    • J-1 visiting professors or scholars may take classes if they are admissible under normal procedures of departmental admitting committees and the University’s Admission Office. However, in accordance with the U.S. State Department policy, they are not able to extend their stay in the United States beyond their specific program maximum. Thus, it is very important that an exchange visitor who is a likely Ph.D. candidate receive a student DS-2019 form. This would allow them to stay in the United States until they graduate with their degree. However, persons in this situation need to be admitted as degree candidates before a student DS-2019 form can be issued.
  • Short Term Scholars: may remain in the U.S. for a maximum of four months, and no extension of stay is permitted.
    • Professors, research scholars and other individuals with similar education or accomplishments travel to the United States on a short-term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train or demonstrate special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions or similar types of institutions.


Hosting MSU Unit:

  • Approves invitation of visiting scholar per internal MSU department procedures. Please see “University Guidelines for Visiting International Scholars to Minnesota State University, Mankato” attached with this packet.
  • Provides formal invitation letter on department letterhead.
  • Requests (from CISS Director, and completes the DS-2019 application form, including all attachments, and signatures of department head, college dean, graduate dean/AVP, and Provost.
  • Forwards the completed application form with appropriate attachments to CISS for processing.


  • Provides evidence they have sufficient English language proficiency to engage in the proposed activities.
  • Provides proof of sufficient health insurance that meets J-1 federal requirements OR pays for mandatory health insurance. Please see “Health Insurance Compliance Form”attached with this packet.
  • Must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee prior to going to the U.S. consulate. For more information on the fee payment please visit:
  • Takes the DS-2019, passport, MSU appointment/invitation letter, and any other required financial documents to the U.S. consulate to obtain J-1 visa stamp on passport (exception for Canadian citizens).
  • Uses DS-2019 and passport with J-1 visa stamp to enter the U.S.
  • Checks in at the Kearney Center office upon arrival.

Elizabeth and Wynn Kearney Center for International Student Services (CISS):

  • Processes completed application packet. Please allow up to 10 days to process immigration paperwork.
  • CISS will send J-1 documents (DS-2019) and invitation letter, however:
    • If the department prefers to send the DS-2019 themselves: they can request to pick up the original DS-2019 and J-1 packet at the Kearney Center, and mail it from the department at their expense.
    • If the visiting scholar will cover the shipment expenses: they can sign up at: (at the scholar’s expense). The scholar must use the website provided – do not use DHL or FedEx website directly. All communication must go through eshipglobal and they will notify us that you are requesting your DS-2019 to be sent by express mail. If you use this service, you will be required to generate a user name and password in order to create an account. To request shipment, you will need your Tech ID number (8 digit number provided by MSU).
  • Upon visitor’s check-in at the Kearney Center office, copies will be made of your immigration documents and your SEVIS/immigration record will be updated.

Kearney Center Health Insurance Compliance Form

Minimum Requirements

Department of State regulations require Exchange Visitor Program sponsors to monitor insurance coverage for all J-1 and J-2 participants under their sponsorship. While no recommendations are made on specific policies or carriers, the regulations do establish minimum coverage as follows per person:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  3. Expenses associated with medical evacuation to visitor’s home country in the amount of $50,000.
  4. Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

An insurance policy secured to fulfill these requirements:

  1. May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions as long as the waiting period is reasonable by current industry standards.
  2. May include provisions for co-insurance, not exceeding 25%.
  3. Must not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program.

In addition to the standards for coverage, the regulations also set forth rating requirements for acceptable policies. Coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country are exempt from these rating requirements.

Important: Department of State regulations require insurance coverage to be in place from the time the exchange visitor enters the program and throughout the duration of the program. Minnesota State University Mankato is required to terminate an exchange visitor's participation in the program if the visitor and/or his or her dependents willfully fail to comply with, and maintain, the required insurance coverage.


MSU Mankato Health Services provides options for visiting scholars that meet the J-1 federal requirements. For pro-rated quotes and purchasing information, contact the Student Insurance Advocate, Kathy Grant at 507-389-1432 or via email at

Printable version of the University Guidelines for Visiting International Scholars