Graduate School
Graduate School

Visiting Scholars


The Graduate School promotes the University's teaching and research mission by overseeing the Visiting Scholar program. Our office provides support to academic departments and their visitors from overseas who are performing temporary teaching and research collaborations at East Carolina University. These positions may be funded by a combination of home government/institution and/or personal funding. The goal is for these visitors to bring their skills and knowledge to the University, while sharing their unique traditions and cultures with the ECU community. In exchange, these temporary visitors return to their home countries upon program completion with new knowledge, experiences, and perspectives.

Visa categories vary from position to position based on whether it is a paid or unpaid position and whether the position is temporary or permanent. Several visa options may be available depending on the applicant's eligibility, country of citizenship, and whether he or she is already in the U.S. in a particular non-immigrant status. Sponsorship for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is the standard for visiting scholars coming from outside of the U.S. For these types of appointments, the Graduate School will work with the hosting academic department and the Office of International Affairs to fulfill all requirements. This process may vary in length and should be initiated at least three months in advance. For additional information on visa requirements, please visit the Office of International Affairs.


Visiting Research Scholar: (Maximum stay is 1 years)
An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions.  The visiting research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.

Visiting Short-Term Scholar: (Maximum stay is 6 months)
A professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar type of institutions.
  1. A Bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement for international visiting scholars.
  2. English proficiency for J-1 Scholars from countries where English is not the official language must be evaluated by the Department prior to submitting the J-1 Scholar Request Form
  3. Sufficient financial support is required for a J-1 Scholar. J-2 dependents who accompany the J-1 require additional funding. The minimum amounts required are:
 J-1 Exchange VisitorExchange Visitor
+ Spouse
Exchange Visitor + Child Exchange Visitor + Spouse + Child Each Additional Child
 $1,500/ month$2,150/ month $1,850/ month $2,500/ month $350/ month
$18,000/ year $25,800/ year $22,200/ year $30,000/ year $4,200/ year 

Evidence of funding must be included with this request. If supported by personal funds, a bank statement in US dollars must be provided. If supported by government or international funds, an official statement translated into English with funds converted to US dollars must be provided.

  1. Health and accident insurance coverage is mandatory for all J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents while they are in the U.S. Policy is available through HTH Worldwide and is especially designed for International Students/Scholars attending one of the participating schools of the University System of the State of North Carolina. This policy can be purchased at OIA (Office of International Affairs).

ECU Graduate School Visiting Scholar Invitation Requirements

  • Visiting Scholars Information Form
  • CV or resume for the visiting scholar
  • Visiting scholar's residential address (this should not be a lab or office location)
  • Current transcript or letter from the Registrar showing enrollment in an accredited University or proof of an earned Bachelor's degree or higher
  • Evidence of financial support from home institution
  • Verification of current visa from the ECU Office of International Affairs.**
  • A brief description of research duties and expected product
**Please contact Ms. Sandy Dumpor at for additional information.

Visiting Scholars

A VS is invited to East Carolina University by the Graduate School. They are defined as follows:
  1. Visiting Scholars are individuals who come here (without pay from ECU) to collaborate with our faculty.
    • They have special research expertise in their chosen field of study that would benefit ECU.
    • They will frequently be holders of a PhD.
    • They could be employees at companies, government institutes, or faculty at other universities with established research track records.
    • They may have earned a PhD a long time ago.

  2. Visiting Scholars could also be currently enrolled master's students or PhD students at other institutions who come here (without any financial support from ECU) to participate in, or collaborate on research projects.
    • They must not take any courses while here.
    • Students will only be brought in for a 6 month period of stay as Short-Term Visiting Scholars, since ECU does not have the Internship category.

  3. Visiting Scholars could also be persons who have an earned bachelor's degree and special research experience or knowledge in lieu of (1) or (2) above.
To summarize, the main criteria are:
    • No financial support from ECU
    • Not taking any courses
    • Have at a minimum, an earned bachelor's degree with special research expertise.
  • The individual may provide occasional departmental seminars or guest lectures (This must be pre-approved by the J-1 Responsible Officer.)
  • Visiting Scholars may also audit classes as part of their research process, only with approval from the faculty member and Responsible Officer. Approval from the RO must be received prior to auditing any class.
If, after reviewing the specifics of the department request, the Graduate School determines that circumstances do not fit the Visiting Scholar category, then the department will be redirected to the Division of Academic Affairs for further assistance.

Application for DS-2019 Form

The Application for DS-2019 Form must be approved by the Department Chair and Dean. (Digital signature can be used). If name is typed in, this is verification that the department has acquired the necessary approvals. The form can be scanned to the RO at the Office of Global Affairs.

Items needed to complete the application process are:
  • a copy of the picture page of the incoming Exchange Visitor's passport;
  • a copy of the individual's Letter of Financial Support; and
  • a copy of the letter of invitation.

English Proficiency Determination

The sponsoring department now bears full responsibility for arranging an interview with the incoming Visiting Scholar at a time that works for all parties, and certifying the scholar has "sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in his or her program as required by Federal Regulations 22 CFR 62.10(a)(2)."

The department sponsor must certify the VS can function, not only within the parameters of the sponsoring department, but within the community as well. The VS must also be able to communicate effectively with the RO/ARO at check-in at the Office of Global Affairs, and with other staff and faculty members.

If a personal interview is to be conducted, three individuals from the sponsoring department must participate. When completed, please print, sign, and return the form to the Office of Global Affairs. This interview information should be retained by the sponsoring department for three years.

When all required documentation has been received and English Proficiency verified, the DS-2019 form will be created. The department will be notified to pick up the visa package from OGA. (The DS-2019 is a controlled document. It will not be sent through Campus Mail.)

The Beginning Date should be a realistic arrival date. The letter of invitation should state the beginning and end date of visit. (The VS must not be present on campus after the last date listed in item #3 on the DS-2019 form).

The beginning program date should allow time for Graduate School and OGA processing, mailing, and receipt of package by the Visiting Scholar, and administrative processing time required by The Embassy to issue the visa.

The program dates can only be changed prior to validation by the Office of Global Affairs.

The J-1 visa is extended for a period of one year only, or the funded period. (Approval of any period of stay greater than one year will be made by the Graduate School. Only after approval, will this additional time be considered).

The VS has a 30-day arrival window. The VS should not begin research at ECU until checking in at OGA. If the visitor is delayed, does not, or will not show up within this 30-day arrival window, it is imperative to notify the OGA, J-1 Responsible Officer.

The VS's record will be deleted from SEVIS at the end of 30 days if the VS has not arrived. The Exchange Visitor will not be allowed entry into the U.S. if the DS-2019 form is allowed to expire.

If something prevents the visitor from entering the U.S. when expected, the DS-2019 date can be moved forwarded to a later beginning date, but only if this office is notified BEFORE the 30 day window has expired.

The department is responsible for mailing the DS-2019 visa package and the letter of invitation to the incoming VS. The VS will take the DS-2019 to the Consular Office to apply for the J-1 Visa.

PLEASE NOTE: The DS-2019 form is a controlled document. It must be mailed in a manner it can be tracked. Suggestions for mailing are: UPS, FEDX, DHL, etc. (There may be other options available. However, these companies are in the area and are will known for their ability to track a document should it become lost.)

If you have further questions, or need further assistance regarding the J-1 process, please do not hesitate to call 252.737.4378 for further guidance.

Check Mark Check in at the Office of International Affairs (OIA). They will be validated in  the government SEVIS database (please schedule appointment with OIA ahead  of time)
    • Exchange Visitor will need a valid US address, US telephone number, and email address. This is a new requirement by the government. So, please help the visitor make those arrangements prior to check-in.
Check Mark Submit an IT request for the following, (it may not be possible to have IT set up  the email address for the individual until after arrival).
Check Mark Post-docs must check in as foreign national employees with HR, as well. Marci Copeland is the contact person for international check-ins.
East Carolina University is located in the city of Greenville, NC which is located in the north central coastal plains region of Eastern North Carolina with a population of approximately 91,000 people. ECU is the third largest university in the state of North Carolina.

Location: 85 miles east of Raleigh, 87 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean, 157 miles south of Richmond VA, and 265 miles south of Washington DC.

Average Temperature:61°F / 16°C
Average Summer Temperature:84°F / 29°C
Average Winter Temperature:44°F / 7°C
Average Annual Rainfall:49.02"
Growing Season:220 Days

Useful Links:

ECU Campus Maps
Greenville City Map
Off Campus Student Services
Greenville Area Transit (GREAT) Info
Greenville City Web Page