OISS is a resource for bringing international faculty, researchers, and short-term visitors to Boston College. Here you wiil find information on non-immigrant visa categories and processes. 

How to be Invited

There must be an offer of an academic appointment from a Boston College faculty member. Faculty can be identified through our schools website, research centers and institutes site, or through the community directory.

The sponsoring faculty/department completes a Visiting Scholar request and submits to the OISS for review. You will be required to submit academic background information and the following documentation:

  • Photocopy of passport
  • Evidence of financial support if you are not funded by Boston College
  • Resume/CV

This process confirms the appointment and adequate funds needed for the visit. If approved, the OISS begins the process of issuing a visa document for the J visa if qualified.  If there are no unusual circumstances and all of the data is complete, the time frame for generating a DS-2019 for a J visa is generally up to 15 days. 

Once the DS-2019 is issued, then you must present it, along with the appointment letter and financial certification, to a US consulate in order to begin the visa application process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

All visiting scholars are required to have health insurance (for themselves and any accompanying dependents while in the United States) that is in compliance with regulations set forth by the US Department of State.

Upon arrival, you are required to register with the Office of International students and Scholars Office. 

Categories of J-1 Exchange Visitor Categories at BC

Short Term Scholar

Visitors who come to Boston College for research, teaching and related academic activity will get J-1 visa status as short-term scholar. Maximum length of stay under this category is 6 months.


Visitors who come to Boston College for research, teaching and related academic activity will get J-1 visa status as Researcher or Professor. Maximum stay under this category is 5 years.

B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa

Visiting Scholars coming 3 months or less may come on a B-1/B-2 visa or on the Visa Waiver Program. Your sponsoring department will confirm with you the length of your stay and the nature of your visit.

The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States generally for short term business. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than six months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars. The B-1/B-2 visa is not appropriate for students or long-term scholars.  

Visa Waiver Program

Citizens of a limited number of countries are permitted to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa under the Visa Waiver Program. Visitors entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status and visitors entering for pleasure are admitted in WT status. The B-1/B-2 and WB/WT categories are very similar but they do have some important differences. Visitors admitted in WB/WT status cannot extend their permission to remain in the United States beyond 90 days and they cannot apply for a change of status.

Examples of Other Visa Types

  • A dependent (spouse) of a primary visa holder. For example, a J-1 scholar's spouse in the U.S. on a J-2 dependent visa.
  • A scholar on a J-1 visa at another university doing work simultaneously at BC.
  • If you are currently in the United States, please contact our office for more information.