Hosting an International Visitor

Given our location, with easy access to rich and culturally diverse cities while being situated in a small American town, it is no surprise that MU attracts visiting scholars who greatly enhance our community from every corner of the globe.

We proudly host international exchange visitors from various countries to conduct research, teach, and work in a variety of capacities throughout the institution. It would be impossible to quantify the benefits derived by our faculty, students, and broader community from the exceptional diversity of perspectives brought by international scholars. These individuals enrich our community’s intellectual and research endeavors, international connections, and global perspectives.

Academic departments are encouraged to take advantage of Millersville University’s designation as a U.S. Department of State approved Exchange Visitor Program. Scholars typically collaborate on research or teach courses, but may come for purposes of observing, training, or lecturing. Departments should designate a faculty host to assist the exchange visitor to prepare to come to the U.S. and once he or she arrives to campus. In order to provide the prospective exchange visitor with adequate time to obtain a J-1 visa as well as to successfully support them through their experience at MU, please review the details provided by the Office of International Programs & Services (IPS).  


    The objective of J-1 exchange visitor program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961]

    There are four principal parties interacting in the J Exchange Visitor Program process:

    • Department of State (DOS), which issues J visas to Exchange Visitors (EV) and their dependents and creates and administers federal regulations and policies governing the Exchange Visitor Program.
    • Exchange Visitor Program Sponsors, which are legal entities (such as Global Education) that have applied for and received designation from DOS to conduct an Exchange Visitor Program.
    • Exchange Visitors, who are aliens that have been selected by an exchange visitor sponsor to participate in a particular exchange visitor program.
    • Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), admits an alien to the U.S. in J exchange visitor status, and which adjudicates certain immigration benefits for J exchange visitors and their dependents.

    The Office of International Programs & Services (IPS) is authorized by DOS as the J-1 program sponsor (exchange visitor program number P-1-27741) for Millersville University. Participants in the exchange visitor program will enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which is the nonimmigrant visa classification for “exchange visitors.” In order to obtain a J-1 visa or hold J-1 status, the individual must have a Form DS-2019 issued by IPS. J-1 visa category should not be used as a means of general employment although exchange visitors may be temporarily employed by Millersville as long as their primary activities are teaching, lecturing, observing, or conducting research. At Millersville, “exchange visitor” is often referred to as “visiting scholar.”


    22 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 41.62(a)]

    • Intent to pursue appropriate activity
    • Intent to return to home country
    • Sufficient funding
    • Appropriate background for program activity
    • Adequate English
    Category Minimum Duration of Stay Maximum Duration of Stay
    Professor or Research Scholar 3 weeks 5 years
    Short-term Scholar N/A 6 months

    Professors and Research Scholars [22 CFR § 62.4(e) & (f)]


    Professor and research scholar are two separate J-1 exchange visitor categories, but because they are related, the regulations governing them are contained in the same subsection.

    A J-1 “Professor” is defined as an individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research.

    A J-1 “Research Scholar” is defined as an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project. A research scholar may also teach or lecture.

    Duration of stay

    An exchange visitor may participate in the Professor or Research Scholar category for a minimum program of 3 weeks to a maximum program of 5 years. The maximum of 5 years is counted from the program start date in SEVIS (the DS-2019 begin date).

    Short-Term Scholars [22 CFR § 62.4(b)]


    A short-term scholar is defined as a professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. 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 types of institution. Examples include educators, scientists, research fellows, writers, and museum administrators. The short-term scholar may also engage in collaborative research.

    Duration of stay

    The short-term scholar category is not subject to the three-week minimum length of program requirement. It is therefore an ideal category for programs and visits of short-term duration lasting anywhere from one day to a maximum of six months. A short-term scholar may extend his/her stay up to the six-month maximum or transfer to another J-1 program within that period, but extensions beyond 6 months are not permitted. The maximum of 6 months is counted from the start date on the Form DS-2019.


    The Office of International Programs & Services (IPS) is here to help you support your J-1 exchange visitor. It is important to ensure they maintain legal immigration status, however there are a number of other important details to coordinate to ensure a successful exchange visitor experience with Millersville University such as:

    • Clearances
    • MU ID and email address
    • Housing
    • Orientation
    • Cultural integration
    • And More!

    Review the Department Responsibilities document for more details.


    The responsibility of hosting a scholar is extensive and we at the Office of International Programs & Services (IPS) aim to provide you with the details you need to do so successfully. To read additional details about immigration policies, required documents, and more, please click here.

  • Visiting Scholar Process

    Visiting Scholar Request

    Processing the DS-2019

    • IPS reviews documents and process the DS-2019 within two weeks of receiving all necessary documentation.
    • IPS will mail DS-2019 and invitation letter to the exchange visitor. Additional information regarding the visa application process and arrival information is communicated by email. Faculty Sponsors are copied on all communication between IPS and the exchange visitor.

    Upon Receiving a Visa

    • Upon notice of visa approval, Faculty Sponsors notify IPS, if applicable.
    • IPS works with Human Resources to begin the clearances process, and MU ID issuance.
    • Faculty Sponsor works with the Exchange Visitor to coordinate travel, housing and other needs to ensure a successful transition to the United States and Millersville University.

    Upon Arrival

    • Exchange Visitors completes orientation with IPS and Faculty Sponsor within the first week, as required by immigration.

    Extending Stay

    • Exchange Visitors may be eligible for an extension of stay. Exchange Visitors must work with Sponsoring Faculty to complete required paperwork for an extension and to obtain Dean approval.
    • Deans Office forward request forms to IPS for review. 
    • IPS forwards necessary documents and draft invitation letter, prepared by IPS, to the Provost's Office for final approval. 
    • The Provost’s Office forwards the signed original invitation letter to IPS for immigration processing.
    • IPS updates Human Resources to extend the exchange visitor’s access and permissions.
  • Process Forms