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How to apply :: Visiting Scholars

CEUS department staff process visiting research scholar requests for persons who come to IU through formal CEUS exchange and scholarship programs such as the Sinor-Tang Inner Asian Exchange with Peking University and the Rezler Gyula Scholar Program in conjunction with the Rezler Kuratorium. Scholars coming under these programs should directly contact CEUS administrative staff for processing.

Prospective research scholars who do not participate in a formal exchange program with CEUS should first try to apply through another IU department or unit:

  • The IU Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC), (email, covers all aspects of the diverse region and peoples of Azerbaijan, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Tibet, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Xinjiang. IAUNRC limits their visiting research scholar appointments to formal programs such as Fulbright (except FLTAs), Junior Faculty Development Program and Open Society Institute.
  • The IU Russian and East European Institute (REEI), (email, or another IU department appropriate to the research topic.

Only if there is no other appropriate IU unit and if the topic is within the CEUS study area, should application be made through a CEUS faculty sponsor.

Each IU school and department sets its own conditions for accepting visiting scholars. Some will arrange for faculty sponsors. (CEUS visitors must arrange their own faculty sponsors.) Some can provide office space. (CEUS cannot provide office space.)

CEUS will assist CEUS faculty who want to sponsor a visiting research scholar if the CEUS professor will take full responsibility for gathering the information needed for the IU appointment and visa, will comply with CEUS, IU, and US government policies, procedures and laws, and will serve as the point of contact for all correspondence from the scholar.

IMPORTANT:  Visiting research scholars must have proficiency in the English language sufficient for research and day-to-day living before applying to become a visiting scholar. Research scholars who need additional English instruction should take English classes before applying to become a CEUS visiting scholar. The IU Intensive English Program is one study option to consider. See .

If no other IU department is more appropriate to the research topic than CEUS and if the prospective visitor has sufficient English skill to conduct research without additional language instruction…

  1. The first step for a prospective CEUS Visiting Research Scholar is to find a tenured or tenure-track CEUS professor willing to serve as the faculty sponsor. For a list of CEUS faculty and their contact info, see
  1. Send a letter or email to the professor to ask him or her to serve as the faculty sponsor.
  1. Include a curriculum vita.
  1. Include a brief description of the research project.
  1. Include a description of the IU resources the scholar has identified which make an IU visiting scholar appointment necessary to the project.
  1. Include a description of the expected end product from the research. This is usually, but not always, a publication. (Name the targeted journal or press.)
  1. Include the proposed start date and end date for the visit to IU. (An estimate within 30 days is okay.)


  1. The faculty sponsor will give a copy of the cv and research project description to the CEUS department chair and request department chair approval for the faculty sponsor to send a letter of invitation to the scholar.
  1. The faculty sponsor will write the letter of invitation to the scholar and will have it reviewed for accuracy by the CEUS department administrator/assistant to the chair before mailing it to the scholar.

Faculty click here to see a letter of invitation template that complies with CEUS policy.

Some situations will require the faculty sponsor to send a second, revised letter of invitation, for example to specify the exact beginning and ending dates for the visit to match the DS-2019 application and prevent complications during the scholar’s visa interview at a US Embassy or Consulate.

  1. The faculty sponsor will collect the following information from the scholar and will submit it to the CEUS department administrator when fully complete:

10A. Completed and signed IU Personal Profile ED form from website . A faxed or scanned copy of the signed form is okay, but it must be signed.

10B. Scholar’s telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and home mailing address.

10C. Non-US citizens only-- Photocopy or scan of the passport identification page or pages (photo, name, birth date, passport expiration date).

    NOTE: Non-US citizens will be denied entry at the US border if the passport expires within six months of arrival, so renew in advance of travel. It is not necessary to renew before submitting information for preparation of the DS-2019 (J-1 visa) application form.

  1. Non-US citizens only-- If the visitor is not a US citizen the faculty sponsor will determine if a visa is required, will collect the following information from the scholar, and will submit it to the CEUS department administrator only when complete.

See website for a list of countries eligible to travel to the US without a visa. US policy requires Canadians, Swedes and other visa waiver program travelers to present either a machine readable passport or a US visa at the US point of entry. For more information about temporary visits to the US (and possible updates since this CEUS website isn’t updated regularly), see

The faculty sponsor should try to submit information no less than four months in advance to allow time for CEUS and Indiana University processing, embassy/consulate visa interview, etc. In some cases, the visa process could take six months or longer because of long waits for embassy/consulate interviews.

The faculty sponsor should assist the visa visitor in determining the type of visa required.

    The "Short Term Scholar" J-1 visa category is used for international visitors who plan to stay in the US six months or less, and will not renew the visa beyond six months.

      The advantage to the "Short Term Scholar" J-1 visa category is eligibility to return to the US at anytime for participation in another J-1 program.

      The disadvantage is the visitor cannot stay in the US even one day beyond six months.

    The "Research Scholar" J-1 visa category is used for visits expected to be six months or more.

    The advantage is the visitor can apply for extension of the J-1 visa while in the US, not to exceed a total of five years. Extensions are subject to a review of research progress by the faculty sponsor and IU department. Approval from the scholar's home institution is required for extension (except from independent researchers). Proof of sufficient finances is required.

    The disadvantage is after returning home at the end of the research program, the visitor may have to wait at least 24 months before participating in another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. Wait requirements may vary by country.

    The B1/B2 Visa: If the visitor's visit to the US is no more than 15 days, a DS-2019 (J-1 visa) is not required. The visitor should use the IU letter of invitation to request a B-1/B-2 visa (Visitor for Business/Pleasure) at a US Embassy or US Consulate in their home country.

If the visitor requires a "Short Term Scholar" or "Research Scholar" J-1 visa, the faculty sponsor will send CEUS the following details needed for preparation of a DS-2019 (J-1 visa) application:

      11A. Passport – Last name

      11B. Passport – First name

      11C. Passport – Middle name

      11D. Date of birth (Month/Day/Year)

      11E. Gender

      11F. City of birth

      11G. Province of birth (optional)

      11H. Country of birth

      11I. Country of citizenship

      11J. Country of legal permanent residence

      11K. Is the non-immigrant scholar currently in the U.S.?

      If yes, provide current visa status, US location and dates.

      If yes, does the scholar plan to travel outside the US before coming to IU? If so, give the departure date and re-entry date.

      11L. Current or most recent position in home country:

      Give the job title: Researcher, Professor, Graduate Student, Other (explain)

      11M. Current or most recent employer (name/location of institution, agency or organization) in the home country

      11N. Current email address

      11O. List any other institutions the scholar will visit on business while in the US. For each planned visit provide the institution name, full address, and dates of the visit.

      If the scholar will live in a second city (besides Bloomington) for more than a brief visit to conduct research at another US university, arrangements should be made in advance to facilitate visa transfer between institutions. The visa transfer process is simplified if this is discussed before the DS-2019 is prepared. The DS-2019 application should be processed through the first university and both IU and the other university should be listed on the DS-2019 form.

      NOTE:  CEUS visiting researchers should not use research visas as a way to stay in the US for extended visits with family.

      11P. Has the visitor previously been in the U.S. on a J-1 or J-2 visa?

      If yes, give approximate begin and end dates.

      11Q. Has the visitor previously been at Indiana University? 

      If yes, give approximate begin and end dates.

      11R. Will dependent family members (spouse or children) accompany the visitor?

        If yes, send photocopies of each passport photo/name page and provide details for EACH accompanying dependent:

        1. Full Name (exactly as it is written in passport
        2. Relationship (husband, wife, son, daughter)
        3. Date of Birth (Month/Day/Year)
        4. Place of Birth (City and Country)
        5. Country of Permanent Residence
        6. Citizenship
        7. U.S. Social Security number, if any

      11S. Estimated date of arrival in the US (Can enter the US up to 30 days before or after this date.)

      The scholar must arrive in the US and visit the IU Office of International Services (for SEVIS data entry) within 30 days of the date listed as the arrival date on the DS-2019 form. IU expects the visitor to visit the IU Office of International Services within 1-3 days of arrival in Bloomington.

      11T. Estimated date of departure from the US

      J-1 visa holders can leave the US at any time before the DS-2019 departure date and up to 30 days after this date. J-1 Research Scholars, except Short Term Scholars, can seek visa extension before the DS-2019 departure date.

      11U. Specific subject/field of proposed research at Indiana University

      Be brief (a few words or 1-2 sentences)

      11V. Source and amount of funding

      Provide proof of funding to qualify for a J-1 visa.

      The US government requires proof of funding equal to $1200/month. Additional funds are required for accompanying dependents: $783/month for the first dependent; $300/month for each additional dependent.

      If the scholar’s financial support is outside Indiana University, provide proof such as a copy of a bank statement showing sufficient personal funds. If support is from an agency, university, business or government, submit a letter on official stationery certifying financial support and specifying the amount of support in US dollars and the dates covered.

      11W. Mailing address to which IU should send the DS-2019 (J-1 visa application) form when it has been processed by IU. It must be a street address, not a Post Office box.

      If Express Mail is used to send the DS-2019, the visitor or a sponsor must pay the express mailing fee.

    US law requires visa applicants to pay a fee to the US government before a visa can be issued by the US Embassy or Consulate. See Indiana University Office of International Services will send fee payment instructions when the approved DS-2019 form is ready.

    The DS-2019 form number is required to pay this fee. The scholar must take a receipt showing payment of the fee when they go to the US Embassy or Consulate for their personal interview. A receipt can be printed if payment is made via the internet.

    Faculty sponsors should direct visitors to the CEUS Visiting Scholar/Faculty “To Do” List After Arrival in Bloomington,, and provide assistance as needed.


In addition to aiding the IU appointment and visa application, faculty sponsors agree to assist the visitor to access IU research materials and IU faculty and to answer questions about Bloomington or about campus policies. Faculty sponsors are expected to maintain regular contact with their visiting scholar before and during the visit.

Visiting scholars receive academic status that permits a university identity card, full access to the library, an Indiana University e-mail account and, for a fee, access to campus photocopy facilities, recreational facilities, etc. The IU e-mail username and password gives the visiting scholar access to the internet at computer locations across campus.

The appointment does not provide compensation or other financial assistance from IU unless specified by an existing exchange agreement such as the CEUS-Peking University agreement or the CEUS-Rezler Kuratorium agreement.

Most IU units cannot provide a work space, computer, or telephone. After arrival on campus, scholars can request a "study carrel" which is an assigned table at the IU Library to have a place to leave library books the scholar wants to reserve but doesn't want to take home each day.

The primary activity of visiting scholars is research, not class attendance. Visiting scholars can make valuable contributions to IU classes, but should not register for academic credit. The faculty sponsor can assist the scholar to contact teaching faculty to ask if it’s possible to sit in on a class without registering.

International scholars on US visas can bring family members to the US as dependents if they comply with US government criteria regarding finances and health insurance. J-2 dependents are usually eligible to work in the US. The IU Office of International Services can assist with the initial J-2 employment authorization application process that takes about three months, as does each renewal. IU does not assist J-2 dependent job searches. J-1 visa scholars themselves are not eligible for employment in the US unless they can prove the work is directly related to their research. (IU International Services will help make that determination.) CEUS J-1 visiting scholars come here to do research, not to work.

The US Government requires visa visitors to have health insurance while in the US. Scholars can purchase insurance after arrival, through a company affiliated with the university or through any other insurance provider. IU International Services provides information that will be sent with the approved DS-2019 visa application form. Insurance through the company affiliated with the university can be expensive. Short-term health insurance through an insurance company in the scholar’s home country may be significantly less expensive and is acceptable if the scholar brings proof the insurer will make payment for services received in the United States. The insurance coverage must meet the minimum amounts required by the US Government: $50,000 per accident or illness, $10,000 for medical evacuation, and $7,500 for repatriation. Women must also have $50,000 maternity coverage. Health insurance is also required for accompanying family members. Before purchasing insurance, scholars should confirm these dollar minimums with IU International Services or a US Government website.

IU departments do not arrange housing for visiting scholars. It is necessary for each scholar to make his or her own living arrangements. Indiana University offers a variety of housing options on campus. See housing application and costs at the website of IU Division of Residential Programs and Services, Prices are provided for full semesters and might be pro-rated for shorter stays. Visitors, faculty and staff pay 10% more than the student rates.

On-campus housing, in general, is not the most affordable option but does have the advantage of reservation in advance and includes utilities. Local telephone service is also included, but visitors must provide their own telephone. Most residence hall (dormitory) housing requires purchase of a meal plan. Mandatory meal plans tend to be expensive; ask for prices before applying.

There are a few expensive on-campus VIP apartments that are completely outfitted with furniture, linens and kitchen utensils. Other on-campus apartments are unfurnished (completely empty).

Many visiting scholars prefer off-campus housing and find apartments or boarding rooms after arrival in Bloomington. Off-campus apartment hunting may be difficult at certain times of the year. Immediate housing is most readily available in May and in August. Most property owners expect a one year lease (an agreement to occupy and pay monthly rent for 12 months). There are fewer options for scholars who stay less than twelve months, but housing is available.

For hotel information, see It may be difficult to reserve a hotel room at the start of the school year and during football weekends.

Some questions may be answered through the Search feature at the Indiana University website, See also

It is best to make advance arrangements for transportation from the Indianapolis Airport to Bloomington, but it is possible to buy a ticket at the airport Ground Transportation Center (may require credit card instead of cash). See, and