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New scholar

A page within International Education & Engagement

Purpose of Exchange Visitor Program*:

  • To increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. 

*At UWL, "Exchange Visitor" is often referred to as "Visiting Scholar or Scholar".

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) has been approved by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors participating in academic research, teaching, and observation at UWL.

Categories of J-1 Visiting Scholars:

  • Professor: This category is used for international visitors, whose purpose at UWL is teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting.
    • Both the Professor and Research Scholar categories require a minimum stay of three weeks and have a maximum continuous stay of five years.
  • Research Scholar: This category is used for international visitors, whose purpose is conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at UWL.
    • Both the Professor and Research Scholar categories require a minimum stay of three weeks and have a maximum continuous stay of five years.
  • Short-Term Scholar This category is used for international visitors whose purpose at UWL is lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills. The maximum time allowed in this category is six months.

Repeat Participation Restrictions:

  • 12 Month Bar – If an Exchange Visitor has spent more than 6 months in any J category, except Short Term Scholar, he or she will not be eligible to return to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for 12 months after his or her departure.
  • 24 Month Bar – If an Exchange Visitor has been in the U.S. for 6 months or more as a Professor or Research Scholar, he or she cannot begin a new J program in those categories for 24 months after the previous program end date.

UWL Host Department:

  • Potential Scholars need to be associated with an academic department or university office at UWL. The host department is responsible for assigning a supervisor (faculty or staff) to the scholar.

Initial Form DS-2019:

  • Potential Scholars will need to complete the Initial Request Form DS-2019 and submit it along with required documentation directly to the Host Department/ Supervising Faculty.

UWL’s International Education & Engagement: This office provides a wide variety of services to Visiting Scholars and Host Departments, including the following:

  • Prepare form DS-2019 and letter of invitation for visa interview.
  • Provide directions on how to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and schedule a visa appointment.
  • Provide scholar’s dependent(s) with form DS-2019 necessary to obtain J-2 visa(s).
  • Prior to arrival on campus, scholar will receive via email the U.S. State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program Welcome brochure, a Living in La Crosse Guideand Housing information.
  • Prior to arrival on campus, scholar will be emailed the cost of the mandatory health insurance for themselves and any dependents along with a health insurance brochure outlining coverage prepared by Student Assurance Services Incorporated, the provider of the mandatory insurance scholars and dependents will be enrolled in upon their arrival to the U.S.
  • Coordinate the scholar’s and any dependents’ enrollment in the mandatory health insurance program and provide instructions on how to pay for this coverage.
  • Answer questions the scholar and/or host department may have regarding applications, forms, processes, etc.
  • Provide a mandatory immigration check-in within 20 days of scholar’s program start date as listed under item #3 on form DS-2019. During this orientation, the scholar will be provided with information on how to maintain their J-1 visa status for the duration of their stay, receive information on how to use the mandatory health insurance, process for obtaining a travel signature, explanation of employment authorization and the process used to request it for themselves and eligible dependents (if applicable), review of services provided by IEE to the scholar, including the office’s International Scholar Coordinator’s advising schedule.
  • Provide advising and support to scholar on transitioning to living in the U.S. and cross-cultural concerns.
  • Update scholar’s SEVIS record as needed.
  • Explain and process extension of program requests.
  • Assist with scholar’s request to transfer to another school’s J program, if applicable.
  • Provide scholar and host department with J program updates and/or policy changes.
  • Provide scholar with opportunities to engage in cross cultural experiences and culture sharing activities during their program.


Applications are emailed to potential scholars after required Host Department forms have been submitted to International Education & Engagement.