Jump to main content

Hosting Department Information

University of Northern Colorado welcomes international scholars and students through special exchange programs with international partner institutions and on general programs involving research and teaching activities.  International Visiting Scholars usually come to UNC as part of the J-1 Exchange Program for which UNC maintains an active U.S. Department of State designation.  Per 22 CFR § 62.1 (b), the purpose of the J-1 Exchange Program is to provide exchange visitors with "opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries."

There are various types of scholars: 

  • International Faculty who would like to teach courses or engage in research or professional development
  • International Graduate Students who would like to engage in research or dissertation work and will not enroll in course work
  • Visitors that need university wide access and services
  • Visitors that will receive payment of any type

Academic departments and our office work with scholars from around the world who are interested in engaging in research and other academic activities at UNC. Before coming to the US, Scholars must be nominated by an Academic Department at UNC, apply, show sufficient financial funding, and receive a DS-2019 in order to apply for a J-1 visa. Scholars and Academic Departments are expected to complete the Hosting Department Agreement together, which can be provided to the Office of Global Engagement for review.  The application that a nominated scholar needs to complete is in Slate.

Hosting Faculty (or Staff) are required to provide a letter of invitation briefly outlining the scope of the proposed program, and dates.  We strongly recommend that the letter be signed by the Dean (or Associate VP for non-academic units), as well as Host; however, Hosts should pre-clear invitations before issuing them to a Scholar.

If the Department anticipates the paying the scholar, standard university processes must be followed.  Scholars must demonstrate adequate funding for the entire anticipated length of the J-1 program (and additional funds for any extensions). Note that the J-1 program is not appropriate for tenure track faculty or other permanent positions, as it is designed for participants to return home at the end of a specific period of stay.

Regulations governing Exchange Visitors are established by the US Department of State.

Considering a B visa or the Visa Waiver program?

Entering the U.S. in B-1 (or the WB waiver category equivalent) or B-2 (or WT waiver equivalent to B-2) status does not permit employment of any kind, but visitors in B-2 and WT status who meet the "9/5/6 rule" may receive academic honoraria and associated incidental expenses pursuant to the criteria set forth in INA § 212(q).:

  • The visitor is performing an academic activity for the benefit of UNC
  • The activity or activities being compensated are performed within 9 days
  • The individual has not accepted honorarium payment or reimbursement for qualifying activities from more than five institutions in the previous 6-month period.

Its worth noting if the honorarium is offered and arrangements are being made in advance, the visitor intending to use the Visa Waiver Program should seek the Business classification.  There’s also a 30% withholding required on honorarium payments and incidental expenses (unless the visitor claims a tax treaty benefit, which requires having an SSN or ITIN in the US, or applying for one while here).

Payments for independent contractors go through Accounts Payable.

Section 431 of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act - ACWIA amended  the Immigration and Nationality act 8 USC 1182(q) as follows: "(q) Any alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(B) [B visa or equivalent visa waiver] may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity or activities (lasting not longer than 9 days at any single institution), if such payment is offered by an institution or organization described in subsection (p)(1) and is made for services conducted for the benefit of that institution or entity, and if the alien has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period."

Host Faculty/Staff may find the following resources and information helpful:

Human Resources: If scholars are expected to teach, or be faculty of record, it must be cleared through Human Resources and annotated on their DS-2019 immigration document through OGE, and must meet all labor law requirements and university policy regarding teaching duties and faculty of record.  Contact Human Resources for additional information prior to completing the Host Department agreement.

Building and Office Access keys: Providing the scholar meets criteria for access, based on the University Lock and Key Policy, keys and key card access for specific areas (Departments, offices, and labs, for instance) can be requested Facilities Management through their Service Center and the Key Request form.

Campus Housing: Housing offers apartment options on a space-available basis, usually in Lawrenson or Wilson Halls, at their current rental rates.  Contact Housing for availability and current rate information. 

Dining Plans: SoGo cards are replacing the previously used Bear Bucks cards. Those cards can be loaded with money and are eligible to be used in most of the Sodexo locations on campus (not Starbucks® or the vending machines). These cards are similar to what the students have with their weekly meal plans… they’re both a “dollar for dollar” kind of program. The important difference is that Dining Dollars are part of the student meal plan, so their purchases are not taxed.

If a Scholar wants to purchase a meal plan, there are typically a couple of options. For those who are living on campus (and can have charges go to their Ursa bill), Sodexo can let them purchase a meal plan just like the students have. (Meal plans are good for one semester only and do not carry over to the next semester.) You can look at the options available online, but Sodexo recommends Bear Plans over a weekly plan. Or Sodexo can also offer a package of meals they can buy with a credit card.  In either case, arrangements must be made with in person with JoAnn Doherty at Sodexo.

Library Access: OGE sends notification to the Library, they create special access for the visiting scholar.  Please let Sarah Vaughn know  if there are specific needs for your scholar.

Recreation Center:  Rec Center access is fee-based.  Departments can choose to pay the fees on behalf of the Scholar or request that access be granted (if the scholar and Department wish for access) and the fees applied to the Scholar’s UNC account.  Contact the Rec Center and Bursar’s office to make arrangements for a special membership.  Outdoor Pursuits access and “rental” gear is included with Rec Center membership, but trips carry an additional cost to the scholar or department. 

Insurance and the Student Health Center:  All J status scholars and their dependents must have insurance that meets Department of State requirements.  J scholars employed by UNC who have full benefits may still need to purchase (or have the Hosting Department purchase) additional medical evacuation and repatriation not covered by standard employee insurance.  Scholars without families may elect to enroll in the UNC SHIP plan, but may choose outside insurance providers as well. If scholars have billable insurance, such as CIGNA, Aetna, United healthcare, or UNC's SHIP insurance, they have access to services at the Student Health Center.  Out of State HMOs cannot be used at the Health Center. 

IM&T: Your scholar will be assigned a @bears.unco.edu email address, and will have access to several student systems, including Ursa.  For additional access as appropriate, contact IM&T.

English Language classes: If your Visiting Scholar has English language instruction as a requirement on their program, or would like to enroll to improve their skills, contact Jane Borisova, Director of IEP

To take a class on campus:  Scholars can submit a non-degree seeking application in order to enroll in a campus course (for credit or to audit). 

Office of Global Engagement: The International Student & Scholar Services team supports visiting scholars in many ways.  Scholars are welcome to participate in the Global Buddy program to be matched with a student, faculty, staff, or community member.  GlobalBuddies@unco.edu .  We can also discuss potential partnerships and collaboration opportunities with the scholar’s home university.