The Study Away Programs (SAP) assists UIS faculty/staff and departments/colleges interested in inviting and hosting visiting international faculty members and research scholars to the UIS Campus. The guidelines below have been implemented in order to ensure that the visiting faculty members and research scholars transition to life in Springfield and the USA smoothly. These guidelines are for visiting faculty members and research scholars resident in the USA through an exchange visa, j-1, for three weeks or more and are not intended for faculty/scholars who are coming to UIS for a lecture or short lecture series or for short term consulting purposes.
Each visiting faculty member and research scholar needs to have a sponsor on the UIS campus – an individual faculty member, a department or a college separate from and not including SAP and its staff. The sponsor serves as the first point of contact for the visitor and is responsible for filling out the “Request for Procurement of J-1 Exchange Visitor Document DS2019” form. This form includes a description of the proposed research and/or teaching activity. The research scholar category is not meant to be used for general exposure to US culture and English language study (which can be accommodated through the non-degree student category). The nature of the scholar’s research project must be spelled out in some detail on the J1 procurement form. If that portion of the form is blank or the information therein does not provide enough detail the form will be returned for more detail. The signature of the sponsor and the sponsor’s Dean or Campus Supervisor is required on the form. SAP will use this form to prepare the necessary forms so that the visitor can obtain a J1 exchange visitor visa.
The sponsor should make arrangements for office space if needed. Assistance with research, introductions to faculty/staff and departments and a tour of campus facilities are the responsibility of the sponsor.
*Sponsors are required to submit to the Study Away Programs a bi-monthly update on the activities of the visiting faculty member or research scholar.*
Visiting faculty who are not US citizens or permanent residents will need to secure J1 visas if they are intending to stay in the US for an extended period of time such as a full semester or academic year, though shorter periods (longer than three weeks) may also fall into these guidelines. SAP will prepare the necessary immigration paperwork for the visiting faculty member or research scholar so that they can apply for the J1 visa in their home country or request a change of status if they are in the USA on another visa. In order to do this SAP will need to know how the visiting faculty member will support their stay in the USA, the purpose of their stay at UIS and who is sponsoring their visit.
Financial support can be documented with letters of support from their government or place of employment, scholarships/grants, support for the sponsoring department/college, or personal funds. Funds must be sufficient to cover living expenses, health insurance and travel at a minimum. If the visiting faculty member or research scholar will be taking classes for credit it will be necessary to demonstrate that additional funds have been allocated for this purpose or that arrangements have been made to have tuition expenses waived. Please note that it will not be possible to have UIS housing costs or health insurance expenses waived.
(Departments/Colleges planning to provide financial support for visiting faculty members and research scholars will be responsible for arranging the payment of salary or stipend.)
The US Department of State requires that research scholars entering the USA on J1 exchange visitor visas demonstrate that they have proficiency in English sufficient to conduct their proposed research project. Departments/Colleges are required to fill out an English Proficiency form for each new visiting scholar confirming that the scholar has said proficiency.
Sponsors will need to complete the procurement form and the English Proficiency form by May 1st for the fall semester or Oct. 15th for the spring semester. The procurement form identifies a sponsor in a department and/or college and details any support being provided by the department and/or college as well as the purpose of the faculty member’s or research scholar’s program at UIS and its benefit to UIS. Support may be financial and/or logistical. If the sponsor or the hosting department/college has expectations related to research, lectures, or any other informational presentations those should be listed on the procurement form.
Some of the information on the procurement form will need to come from the visiting faculty member or research scholar. The sponsor in the Department/College should plan to work with the visiting faculty member or research scholar to secure this information (birth date, birth place, etc.). The information will be used to prepare the visiting faculty member’s or research scholar’s immigration paperwork and to establish his/her University Identification Numbers.
The visiting faculty member or research scholar will need to apply directly to the UIS Housing Office for on-campus housing by the above dates if they wish to live on campus. Please note that there is no guarantee that space will be available in campus housing. The first priority of the Housing Office is to provide space for enrolled students.
Information on UIS Housing and application forms can be found at this website: www.uis.edu/housing
If campus housing is not available it will be the responsibility of the visiting faculty member or research scholar to secure housing elsewhere. SAP can provide information about rentals and bus routes but is not in a position to set up appointments and to take the faculty member or research scholar off-campus for appointments and neighborhood tours.
Visiting faculty members and research scholars must have valid passports. While in the USA their passports must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
Visiting faculty members and research scholars living on campus need to submit a copy of their immunization records to the campus Health Service Office prior to or upon arrival on the UIS campus. If records are not in English translations will need to be provided.
Information on immunizations can be found at this website: www.uis.edu/healthservices/immunizations
Per US State Department regulations governing Exchange Visitors entering the USA all visitors on J visas and their dependents must secure health insurance prior to or immediately upon entry. The UIS Health Insurance Policy meets this requirement and is the most reasonable option. This is purchased through the Human Resource Office on the UIS campus. Exchange Visitors must provide proof of insurance to the Study Away Programs within one week of arrival.
The Study Away Programs provides the following services for sponsors and visiting faculty members and research scholars:
Preparation of DS2019 immigration papers;
Liaison with the US Dept of State with regard to all immigration matters;
Liaison with campus offices – such as Housing, Health Services, and Human Resources (insurance);
Assistance with acquiring UIS IDs;
Initial airport pickup and final airport drop-off in Springfield (no pickup or drop off service is provided for flights to and from St. Louis, Chicago, Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, etc.);
Initial shopping for necessities;
SAP does not have funds to support the visiting faculty members and research scholars in other areas.
The Study Away Programs will coordinate extracurricular activities with the sponsor including identifying campus and community events that the visiting faculty members and research scholars can take advantage of for little or no cost. Where possible SAP will invite the visiting faculty members and research scholars to participate in activities it arranges for visiting exchange and study abroad students. However, SAP has limited resources and cannot support long distance travel, including the costs of using university vehicles, overnight stays or meals. Similarly, SAP can cover the costs of local entrance fees when visiting faculty members and research scholars participate in SAP activities but not otherwise.
Visiting Faculty Members and Research Scholars traveling with family
Visiting faculty members and research scholars traveling with family are responsible for demonstrating to the US Dept. of State and the US Embassy/Consulate to which they will apply for their visa that they have adequate funds to support their family while in the USA. Expenses will vary but a minimum they will need to document that they have sufficient funds to cover their international travel, qualifying health insurance, and living expenses.
Please note that space in campus housing for families is limited. Submitting housing application by the above dates does not guarantee that space will be available. First preference for all campus housing is given to enrolled students.
Visiting international faculty/scholars bringing children of school age are responsible for the following additional expenses:
School registration fees;
Breakfast/milk break/lunch fees;
The fall term for the local school districts begins in mid August. The winter term begins in mid January.
The following forms must be prepared and submitted two weeks prior to the start of the child’s school year/term:
- School registration form;
- proof of residency;
- record release form;
- medical physical examination;
- eye/vision exam;
- immunization records;
- recent school transcript/record;
- proof of health insurance;
- copy of passport;
- confirmation of home language/dialect.
If documents are not in English, translations must be provided.
The visiting faculty member’s or research scholar’s choice of housing location will determine which school district their children will attend.