Visiting Scholars

The College of Design recognizes the importance of welcoming research scholars from around the world who enrich our community and enhance our ability to create changes in our communities, the nation, and the world. Each year, the College hosts a limited number of visiting scholars. A match of research interests between visiting scholars and Design faculty contributes to the richness of the experience for visiting scholars and provides valuable contributions to our community. Visiting scholars do not hold academic appointments.

Scholars interested in visiting the College of Design are required to provide a current curriculum vitae (CV) and a plan of research work to be completed while visiting.

  • Scholars should identify a current tenured faculty member as host to contact with a request to visit.
  • Scholars should hold a terminal degree (PhD, MFA, or equivalent) and hold an academic position at an accredited college or university.
  • Department faculty review the CV and plan of research to determine if an invitation will be extended.


  • must fulfill the English Proficiency Requirement for J-1 Exchange Visitors. More information...
  • must be hosted by a College of Design faculty member who collaborates on the research project.
  • expected to engage with the college community for example: public presentations and events, classroom visites, participation in reviewing, judging, or critiquing design exhibitions, etc.
  • expected to meet regularly with host faculty member to check on progress, goals, and objectives.
  • will be asked to make a presentation on their research work to members in the College of Design.
  • must apply by April 1 for the following fall semester arrival and August 1 for the following spring semester arrival to ensure enough time for DS-2019 and visa processing.
  • must limit their stay to a maximum of one year or within the limits of their visa.
  • must have obtained a leave from their home institution.
  • will be required to pay an administrative fee of $2,000 to cover the College of Design's cost for document preparation and hosting the scholar.
  • will be required to pay SEVIS and any other fees associated with their visit.

  • Will have a courtesy designation. This does not signify a formal association (e.g., visiting scholars may not claim a University affiliation for the purpose of applying for grants/contracts, and should not represent themselves in their publications and correspondence as having a University affiliation)
  • Have access to reading and borrowing privileges at the University of Minnesota libraries
  • Have access to computer labs and may purchase copying privileges
  • Use the services of International Scholar and Student Services Office (ISSS). (this may incur some additional administrative fees)
  • Are assigned a shared work space
  • Use the University recreational facilities upon payment of a fee

Visiting Scholars must be fully funded with resources outside the University of Minnesota and must assume financial responsibility for visa administrative fees of the University ISSS and responsibility for arranging their own financial support and benefits (including health insurance for visitor and any accompanying family members) for the duration of the stay. U.S. government regulations mandate that J-1 Exchange Visitors have adequate financial resources to meet all expenses related to their J-1 program.

Indicated in the chart below are the minimum funding requirements for 2017-2018 academic year. Documentation should be in US$ or include currency conversion. It should be in English or have an unofficial English translation attached.
For Per Month Per Year
J-1 Scholar $1,300 $15,600

Additional funds are required if scholar is inviting J-2 dependents:
For Per Month Per Year
1 dependent $691 $8,292
2 dependents $971 $11,652
3 dependents $1,196 $14,352
*Minimum considers cost of basic accommodations, utilities, food, transportation, & health insurance. Planning for more is recommended.

Health Insurance Requirements
  • All visiting scholars and their dependents are required to enroll in the Student Health Benefit Plan unless they are covered by another U.S.-based, employer sponsored health plan.
  • Health Insurance eligibility may be found here.
  • Current health insurance costs may be found at: here.

Document Processing Steps

You will be contacted by the sponsoring department regarding the completion of your DS-2019. Please do not contact the ISSS office until after you have received the DS-2019 from the sponsoring department.

For questions about visas and appropriate procedures, contact ISSS (email: College of Design faculty and staff cannot provide this type of information. The website has valuable information about completing appropriate forms, frequently asked questions, etc. Visiting scholars from abroad may want to make contact with organizations of their country in the Minnesota area.

Below is a general guideline for processing your paperwork and preparing for your visit to our campus.

The College/Host Department   The Scholar
Initial Steps

At least 3-4 months prior to the Scholar’s expected arrival date, the College will send to the proposed visiting scholar a DS-2019 Form. 

The DS-2019 is the legal document a scholar needs for the J visa application process, for entry into the U.S., and for maintaining legal immigration status once the scholar arrives in the U.S. 

This timeframe allows for ISSS processing time, but more so, for U.S. consulate visa processing, which ISSS cannot expedite.



The Scholar should complete the form and return it to the College along with all required documents.  At that time, the scholar needs to provide a color copy of their current passport, and the passport(s) of all dependents that will travel with them to the U.S.

English Proficiency Requirement
As part of the application process, all J-1 Scholars are required to complete the English Proficiency exam or provide proof of English proficiency. Please review the options and instructions at here.

Once the DS-2019 is Approved
The College will work with ISSS to get the DS-2019 form approved.  This generally takes 2 to 3 weeks to process the request. If the application is not complete, processing time will take longer.  When the form is approved, the College will express mail the document to the scholar’s current address. Scholars must have the original DS-2019 to apply for their visa and enter the U.S. They should not use a copy.  

Once the scholar receives the DS-2019 Form from the College they need to pay the SEVIS Fee (

Once the SEVIS fee is paid the scholar should go to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in their home country to apply for the J-1 entry visa.
The scholar needs to bring:

  • Approved DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Proof of Funding/Support (i.e.: U of MN Department offer letter, bank statement, official grant award, etc.)
  • U of MN Department Letter of Invitation
  • 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

NOTE: The length of time for the J-1 entry visa to be processed can vary greatly depending on what the current processing times are at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where the scholar will apply. This can affect their arrival date and when they can begin their program at the UMN. The wait time can range anywhere between 1 week to 3 months or more. Scholars should contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where they will apply to inquire about current visa processing times.

Once the Visa is Secured

After the scholar receives a J-1 entry visa in their passport, they should make travel arrangements to enter the U.S. At the U.S. border, the scholar shows the customs officer:

  • Passport with J-1 visa
  • Letter of invitation / offer letter from U of MN hosting department
  • DS-2019

Proof of funding/support

Upon Arrival in the United States

Immigration regulations require ISSS to report to the government database (SEVIS) the scholar’s arrival at the UMN.

Therefore, to maintain J legal status, scholars MUST report to ISSS within 25 days of the start date shown on their DS-2019 form to complete their mandatory Scholar Check-In.

When scholars report to ISSS, they need to bring all of their visa documents to ISSS.

The scholar will need to contact the Office of Student Health Benefits to purchase the mandatory insurance for themselves and their eligible J-2 dependents.


Scholars who have not already secured housing before arrival, after visiting the ISSS office, should go immediately to the housing office to begin their housing search. There is no on-campus housing for visiting scholars; off-campus housing is best secured several weeks in advance of the beginning of classes each semester. Go to UMN Housing and click on "Live With Us" to review a list of available housing options. If the scholar has not already secured housing before their arrival, they should go immediately to the housing office, after they have met with the ISSS staff.

There is no on-campus housing for visiting scholars; off-campus housing is best secured several weeks in advance of the beginning of classes each semester. The Housing Office provides lists of available apartments.

Due to space limitations, we do not provide mailboxes for visiting scholars.

The College of Design does provide telephones in shared office spaces. Scholars are required to provide their own computer.

Copying and printing downloaded information may be done in the libraries using a copy card that can be purchased at the libraries. Limited copies may be made on a College of Design copy machine. Please contact the department administrator.

Visiting scholars may obtain access to University public computer labs.

Visiting scholars are responsible for purchasing their own materials and supplies needed while at the University. Supplies may be purchased in the University bookstore located in the basement of Coffman Memorial Union on the UMN East Bank, or in the lower level of the St. Paul Student Center.

Please do not leave valuable objects in view and always lock valuables in file drawers or cabinets, even if stepping away for only a few minutes. The UMN has an experienced set of cell phone/backpack/laptop thieves who blend in well with the university community and “make a living” picking up unattended items from UMN offices, restrooms, study areas, and classrooms. Please do not allow another person to enter with you through a locked door unless you know the person and his/her association with the College of Design. Please keep your home doors locked.

Visiting scholars may be expected to sign an intellectual property agreement that recognizes the University of Minnesota's right to ownership of research work completed in collaboration with University faculty.

When an application for a J-1 exchange visitor is submitted to ISSS, it comes in with signatures from the Department Head and the Faculty Mentor. These signatures indicate the Faculty Mentor understands and agrees to the responsibilities associated with being a Faculty Mentor. Recently, there have been reports to ISSS that these responsibilities are not always being met.

Please review the Faculty Mentor Responsibilities page. We want this to be a productive and worthwhile experience for all!

Campus maps and directions to campus locations can be obtained on here.