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Information on International Visiting Scholars/Special Students

Many faculty members are interested in bringing foreign nationals to the U.S., who are neither degree students nor employed by B.C., for short periods of time to engage in study or research. There is often much confusion over what the person’s formal academic status will be at the university, as well as what immigration procedures, if any, need to be taken. The following is a brief summary of the various alternatives. Please contact Adrienne Nussbaum in the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for more information at 2-8005 or nussbaua@bc.edu.

I. Visiting Scholars:

  • Primary purpose for coming to US is to do research
  • Usually not registered for classes, though can audit class(es) if wish
  • Generally must have at least equivalent of Master’s degree
  • Must receive formal appointment letter from the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculties
  • If not funded by BC, must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to cover living expenses

Should my visiting scholar come on a B-1/B-2 visitor’s visa or a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa?

A. Visitor’s visa (No action from Office of International Students and Scholars required):

  • Will be here 6 months or less and
  • Not receiving compensation from BC and
  • From a country where it is relatively easy to get a visitor’s visa*

*Many countries allow visitors to come to the US for up to 90 days without requiring them to go to a US consulate and apply for a visa. If the scholar does not qualify for this waiver, he/she will need to apply at a US Consulate in his/her home country for a visitor’s visa. Please check with the OISS for more details.

The Visiting Scholar simply presents the appointment letter from BC, along with financial certification to cover living expenses, to the U.S. Consulate (if necessary) and/or at the border to obtain visitor status.

B. J-1 Exchange Visitor visa (Requires issuance of immigration form DS2019 from Office of International Students and Scholars)

  • Will be here for more than 6 months or
  • Receiving compensation from B.C. or
  • From a country where it is difficult to get visitor’s visa

In order to bring someone on the J-1 visa the following is required:

  • Formal appointment letter as Visiting Scholar from the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculties (contact Liz Napolitiano at 2-4779)
  • Fully completed Scholar Information Sheet from OISS
  • Documentation of financial resources to cover living expenses for period of stay

Once the DS2019 is issued, the Visiting Scholar must present it, along with the appointment letter and financial certification, to a US consulate in order to be issued the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.

II. Special Students (as opposed to a Visiting Scholar) must:

  • Be officially admitted as special student through appropriate admissions office
  • Be registered full-time for courses during semester (auditing classes is not sufficient)
  • Meet minimum TOEFL requirement
  • Provide appropriate documentation for all tuition and living expenses for period of stay as determined by the OISS