Visa Information for Visiting Scholars and Delegations

Visiting Scholars

Most foreign professors, researchers, scientists, artists, and performers coming to Indiana State University (ISU) as visiting scholars will be required to obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa to enter the U.S.  This is especially important if the scholar is to receive any payment from ISU.  Please see the J Visa section below for information on how to obtain a J-1 visa.

There may be cases, however, when short-term visiting scholars can come into the country on a B-1/B-2 visa or on the visa waiver program.  See the appropriate section below for information on these two possibilities.

Before applying for a visa to enter the U.S., it is important that the scholar identify which visa he or she should apply for.  Scholars should contact IPS with questions or concerns.  For more information, visit the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis. 

Visiting Delegations

Groups of scholars or students coming to ISU to take part in short-term programs should consult IPS about which visa is appropriate for the program they are participating in.  Members of most visiting delegations will be required to obtain either a B-1/B-2 visa* or a J-1 visa.  Some, however, may be eligible for the visa waiver program. See the appropriate section below or visit http://www.uscis.gov/ for information on these possibilities. 

*It is important to note that the B-1/B-2 visa is primarily intended for those entering the U.S. for either business or pleasure.  USCIS regulations prohibit a B nonimmigrant from enrolling in “a course of study” (C.F.R. 214.2 (b) (7)).  USCIS has provided the following clarification of this rule:  “The term ‘course of study’ implies a focused program of classes, such as a full-time course load leading to a degree or, in the case of a vocational student, some type of certification.  Casual, short-term classes that are not the primary purpose of the alien’s presence in the United States, such as a single English language or crafts class, would not constitute a ‘course of study.’  Courses with more substance or that teach a potential vocation, such as flight training, would be considered part of a ‘course of study’ and thus would require approval of a student status” (April 12, 2002 INS field memorandum, p. 2).

Members of a visiting delegation taking part in a course or training at ISU should carefully consider the above information when deciding whether or not to apply for a B visa.  Contact IPS with questions or concerns.

J Visa Information

The following categories are included among those who may be eligible for J-1 visas:

For a detailed description of these categories, visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html.

In order to obtain a J-1 visa, you must submit your Form DS-2019 (which will be issued and sent by IPS), together with a valid passport, to the American Embassy or Consulate nearest to your place of residence. Before issuing the DS-2019, all scholars and program participants applying for a J-1 visa are asked to fill out and send the DS2019 Information Sheet located on the IPS website .  Since issuance of the J-1 visa can take several days or weeks, it is recommended that this sheet be given to IPS as early as possible.  Other requirements for applying for a J-1 visa can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html#6.

For visiting scholars who will be receiving compensation (either from ISU, the scholar’s institution, or another organization) during their stay at ISU, contact The Office of the Controller at (812) 237-3535 for information about payment and taxes.

It is important to note that those who have entered the country on a J-1 visa may be subject to the two-year home residency requirement.  This rule requires that exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home residency requirement return to their home countries and be physically present there for two years before being eligible for immigrant status, a J visa, an H visa, or an L visa.  Exchange visitors subject to this requirement are also not eligible to change to permanent resident status or any other non-immigrant category (except A and G) while in the U.S.  An exchange visitor may request that the two-year home country residency requirement be waived.  Information regarding the waiver process is available at https://j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov/.

All exchange visitors to ISU are required to have valid health insurance coverage while in the U.S. and to show evidence of that coverage to IPS upon arrival.   

B Visa Information

The B-1 visa is appropriate for visitors who wish to come to the U.S. to engage in temporary commercial, business, or professional activities related to their employment or business abroad.  The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) at 9 FAM 41.31 note 5 provides the following examples of common uses of the B-1 category:


The B-2 visa is appropriate for visitors who wish to come to the U.S. temporarily for pleasure.  Examples of legitimate uses for this visa include:

More information about the B-1 and B-1 visas, including application procedures, can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html#6.  See * above for information about studying on a B visa.

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program allows nationals of several countries to visit the U.S. for pleasure or business for up to 90 days without a visa stamp.  These individuals do not need to apply or pay for a visa stamp, and they do not need to visit a U.S. consulate before they visit the U.S.

A list of countries in the Visa Waiver Program and more information about the visa waiver can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html.