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Scholar Information

The Exchange Visitor Program of the U.S. State Department allows Oakland University to invite and host international researchers and visiting professors. Such individuals are called scholars at the university and enter the United States on J immigration status. The document that allows them to apply for a J visa at a U.S. consulate is called DS-2019.


A scholar can be in either of these two categories:

  • Short-Term Scholar – The maximum length of stay at OU is six months or less. There is no possibility of extension beyond six months for individuals who enter the United States on this category.
  • Research Scholar/Professor - The maximum length of stay at OU is three years.

Scholars are invited by specific faculty members in academic departments at Oakland University. The faculty member initiates the documentation to invite a scholar through the ISSO. Adequate funding for the scholar and accompanying dependents is required before visa documents are dispatched to the scholar. Such funding could be from a variety of sources that include the government, U.S. or foreign university, or personal funds of the scholar. Currently, the level of funding needed for a scholar is $1,200 per month with an additional $800 per month for accompanying spouse and $400 per month for each child.

Note: J immigration status also is granted to students who study in the United States. Scholars who intend to pursue a degree objective at Oakland University should not enter the United States on a scholar category. A change between scholar and student category is not possible within the United States.

A scholar is obligated to abide by the Exchange Visitor Program regulations of the U.S. State Department and the J category immigration and naturalization regulations. All advice related to the program and immigration status is available to the scholar through the responsible officers at the ISSO.


To maintain program and immigration status, a scholar must:
  • possess a valid passport from their home country;
  • have a valid DS-2019 and engage only in activities specified on the DS-2019;
  • have health insurance coverage at minimal levels (also for all dependants, spouse or children) required by the U.S. State Department;
  • file for timely extension and transfers; and
  • not engage in any unauthorized employment.
Scholars are typically subject to a two-year home return rule requirement upon completion of their stay at a U.S. institution. This requirement is to ensure the program contributes to a mutual benefit for the home county of the scholar and the United States and enables true exchange of knowledge and skills. Therefore, a scholar cannot apply for a change of immigration status to the Immigration and Naturalization Service unless a waiver of the home return rule obligation is obtained. Visit the State Department site for more information on the waiver process.