Host a Visiting Scholar or Research Student

Host a Visiting Scholar or Research Student: An Overview

UConn departments and institutes can host international visiting scholars, research students, or student interns through the university’s J-1 exchange visitor program. Visits to UConn through the J-1 exchange visitor program should be temporary, and have an objective of fostering academic and cultural exchange. As the University’s J-1 exchange visitor program administrators, ISSS works with hosting academic departments and institutes to support your visiting scholar, research student or student intern before and throughout their stay.

Visiting Scholars

The University defines a visiting scholar as an expert in an academic discipline or disciplines with a short-term residency at UConn for mutual intellectual enrichment and collaboration.  Visiting scholars may also include post-doctoral fellows and other temporary UConn employees whose appointment further UConn's academic and cross-cultural exchange objectives. 

Approved Activity

UConn departments can host visiting scholars for the purpose of teaching, lecturing, observing, consulting or researching. Visiting scholars should not be invited to participate in human or animal clinical activity or research. 


Visiting scholars must have a Bachelor’s degree and appropriate experience in their field for the activity they are conducting at UConn. For visiting scholars coming in the Specialist category, they must be experts in their field. 

Affiliation process

Visiting scholars who are paid employees should be offered positions through the normal hiring process according to the type of position they will hold. Visiting scholars who are not paid employees should be offered a gratis appointment, processed through a Smart HR transaction and using a valid special payroll title. 

Visiting Students

Visiting students are enrolled in university programs abroad and come to UConn for a portion of their program. UConn hosting departments can invite visiting students to come for research or internship activity. At this time, UConn cannot accommodate international visiting students to come for coursework, except in limited circumstances.

Approved activity

Research, observing, internship. If a student will come for an internship, it must be integral to their home university degree program. 

Affiliation process

Visiting students do not apply to the university and do not enroll in coursework. Instead, the hosting department should offer the student either a paid appointment through the appropriate payroll process, or a gratis appointment for unpaid research or internship activity. The gratis appointment is processed through a Smart HR transaction, with the appropriate special payroll title and offer letter. The special payroll title Visiting Research Student can be used for both gratis and paid appointments.


Visiting research students are typically enrolled in a degree program abroad. Undergraduate students coming for research must have their visit structured as an internship to meet visa requirements. The internship must be integral to the curriculum for their home university, and they must return to their home university to complete the degree following the internship. Learn more about special criteria for undergraduate student interns, here

Length of Stay

Visiting scholars and research students: From 1 day to 5 years. 

Visiting student interns: From 3 weeks to 1 year. 


UConn department hosts should ensure that your visitor has obtained safe, adequate housing that is accessible to campus. Visiting research students and interns are generally not eligible to live in on-campus housing.

Visiting scholars and students can use the resources available through Off Campus and Commuter Student Services to locate housing.  UConn hosting departments can apply for university housing on behalf of visiting scholars through the Rental Properties website. 

Health Services and Insurance

Visiting scholars and students do not have access to SHaW medical or mental health services. Instead they can utilize off-campus health services. All visiting scholars and students must have comprehensive insurance that meets certain benefit standards, including medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. They have the option to purchase the same health insurance plan offered to UConn students at a prorated monthly rate,  and we strongly recommend this option. 


UConn does not charge fees to visitors or departments associated with the visit of a scholar, research student or intern. However, to qualify for a visa, visiting scholars and research students must demonstrate they have at least $2,590 available per month to support their living expenses, and more if dependent family members will accompany them. Financial details are available here


Visiting scholars and research students come on J-1 exchange visitor visas. The J-1 visa is issued for participation in a particular program category that aligns with the purpose of their stay. Each category carries particular restrictions and benefits, and the appropriate category to use generally depends on the visitor's qualifications, activity and length of stay. Learn more about the available J-1 visa categories here

ISSS works with host departments to provide visa sponsorship documents and support your visiting scholar or student through the visa process. ISSS must issue a Form DS-2019 for your visiting scholar or student before they begin the visa process. Departments mail the DS-2019 to your visiting scholar or student so they may apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country. ISSS holds regular training sessions for hosting departments on how to request the DS-2019 form, and step-by-step details are available here

Export Control Compliance

All incoming visiting scholars or students will be reviewed (name, country, home institution) to ensure their visit complies with federal export control regulations. ISSS will initiate this review while processing the DS-2019 form. If departments have export control concerns about a particular visit, they may also work with OVPR to review the visit before starting the hiring process or visa sponsorship request. 

Invitation Letters

Some visiting scholars or students may ask for an invitation letter from UConn in order to secure funding from their home institution or government for their stay. This letter may be needed before UConn is ready to issue a formal offer letter for paid or gratis employment. If needed, departments can adapt this template to issue a preliminary invitation letter for your visiting scholar or student.