Exchange Visiting Scholar Program: Requirements and Responsibilities

Before beginning the application process, all UA Little Rock faculty intending to bring a visiting scholar to campus must review these requirements and responsibilities. They are also encouraged to visit the International Student Services website for more information about international scholar requirements. 

It is a three-step process that needs to be completed in bringing a prospective visiting scholar to the UA Little Rock campus. The applications should be completed by a UA Little Rock faculty member.  

Before beginning each step, the hosting faculty member or his/her UA Little Rock designee will need to work closely with the visiting scholar to gather the required information and documentation. 

The attestations and statements included in the application are considered official and binding; it is the responsibility of the UA Little Rock personnel completing the application to make all relevant parties aware of them. 

After a visiting scholar has been approved and comes to the United States, he or she will work continually with the hosting UA Little Rock faculty member and the UA Little Rock Office of International Student Services to meet federal and institutional requirements during the duration of his or her visit. Please visit the International Student Services website for more information about the requirements and responsibilities placed on the visiting scholar after he or she arrives. 

Application Requirements 

The university assumes responsibility of some magnitude in undertaking visa sponsorship for an international scholar in the J visa category. Please provide a complete and accurate information about the prospective visiting international scholar, the purpose and goals of the visit, and his/her funding. UA Little Rock, in turn, is responsible for guaranteeing this information to the U.S. government. 

By agreeing to host the visiting scholar, departments agree to provide a work space and support to him/her for the duration of their visit. It is the responsibility of the hosting faculty member to communicate all UA Little Rock requirements and policies to the visiting scholar, during both the application process and his/her visit to UA Little Rock. 

UA Little Rock requires that the hosting faculty member be a full-time faculty member (not adjunct faculty). In addition, the hosting faculty must be physically present for the duration of the visiting scholar’s activity at UA Little Rock, except for short, reasonable absences of time during which an on-campus designee will be responsible. 

All visiting scholars on a UA Little Rock J program (the visa for the exchange visiting scholar program) must have at least the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. Additional requirements for exchange visiting scholars are listed on the International Student Services website. 

At any point in the application process, Export Control and/or International Student Services may disapprove or delay the scholar’s application in order to comply with federal and university regulations. Completing the application process does not guarantee the approval of the visiting scholar’s visit. 

Financial Support and Responsibility 

The visiting scholar must provide documentation in English and of sufficient funding to cover the living expenses of the visitor (and any and all dependents) for the time he/she is here. This documentation is due when the Immigration Review Application is submitted. Estimated minimum amounts needed to cover living expenses are as follows: 

$16,000.00 / year for visitor (or $1,400.00 per month) 

$5,000.00 / year for the visitor’s spouse (or $420.00 per month) 

$4,500.00 / year per child (or $375.00 per month) 

Note: If the department is hiring the visitor, be aware that the visitor CANNOT be put into student job classifications. Visiting scholars in the J Visa program cannot be teaching assistants or research assistants. 

Health Insurance 

Visiting scholars and their dependents must be covered by sickness and accident insurance for the duration of their stay in the United States. Failure to purchase such insurance coverage set forth in an exchange visitor program or make material misrepresentations to the sponsor concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination from the Exchange Visitor Program. These United States Department of State (DOS) regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR 62.14(4)(i)]. 

For more information about the health insurance requirement, please visit the International Student Services website. 

Dependents 

Visiting scholars may bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S.  Dependents are issued J-2 visas and are subject to the regulations of the Exchange Visiting Scholar Program. They may arrive with the visiting scholar or join him/her at a later time. 

Visiting scholars are permitted to bring dependents to the U.S. only if financial resources are adequate for their support.  Each dependent must have health insurance coverage while in the U.S. that meets the minimum standards established for all F and J visa holders studying at UA Little Rock. 

Once dependents arrive in the U.S., they may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization. This application process usually takes several months, and International Student Services will provide the necessary forms. Applicants must clearly demonstrate that the income earned will not be for the support of the visiting international scholar. 

If the visiting scholar leaves the U.S., his/her dependents no longer have valid immigration status within the U.S. 

English Language Proficiency 

All visiting scholars from countries where English is not the official language must provide proof of English proficiency. English proficiency implies that the visitor is able to do the following: 

  • Perform research/internship program activities, including teaching and collaborating with English speakers 
  • Navigate daily life in the U.S. alone (i.e. grocery shopping, renting an apartment, etc.) 
  • Read and comprehend information related to maintaining good standing in the J program (immigration requirements, etc.) 
  • Understand fully his/her rights, responsibilities, and protections in the United States 
  • Know how to seek help if necessary 

To verify this proficiency, the UA Little Rock host must submit one of the following for the international scholar as part of the Immigration Review application: 

  • TOEFL or IELTS scores 
  • Proof of attendance for two or more years at a U.S. school 
  • Two completed English Language Proficiency Assessments, conducted and filled out by two different UA Little Rock faculty or staff members