Hosting a Scholar

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program brings qualified international faculty, professors, research scholars, specialists, and other professionals to the United States to participate in educational and cultural programs.  The University of South Florida has been approved by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to serve as the visa sponsor for international visitors to participate in research, teaching, consulting, and observation at USF and its affiliates. 

What is a scholar?

An Exchange Visitor or J Scholar at USF is a foreign national who is coming temporarily to the United States for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange, NOT EMPLOYMENT. The principal exchange visitor obtains a J-1 visa; the spouse and minor children obtain J-2 visas. 

Scholar Categories

An individual primarily teaching or lecturing at USF from 3 weeks to 5 years in duration. Their Bachelor's degree or higher must match the teaching or lecturing activity at USF.  This is not for a USF tenure track position.  

Research Scholar: 
An individual primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research at USF from 3 weeks to 5 years in duration.  They must have a Bachelor's degree at a minimum that matches the planned academic activity at USF. This is not for a USF tenure track position. 

Short-term Scholar: 
A professor, researcher,  or other individual with a Bachelor’s degree or higher coming to USF for a short-term visit of 1 day to 6 months for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating a special skill at USF.   

An individual who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to USF for observing, consulting, or demonstrating this knowledge or skill for three weeks to one year.    

Department Responsibilities

  • Supervise the academic activity during the scholar’s stay at USF. 

  • Arrange for office space and access to equipment (computer, phone, etc) as deemed appropriate for the academic activity.  

  • Provide OIS with accurate program, funding, and other related information throughout the duration of the scholar’s program at USF, including: 
    • Cancellation, termination or early completion of the scholar’s program 
    • Significant changes in position and/or project 
    • Changes in funding sources and amounts 
    • Intent to transfer to another USF department, faculty member, or sponsor 
    • Plans to change immigration status 

  • "Ensure that the activity in which the exchange visitor is engaged is consistent with the category and activity listed on the exchange visitor's Form DS-2019." [22 CFR 62.10(e)(1)]. This means that the scholar should maintain their original program objectives as indicated on the scholar application. 

  • Encourage the scholar to participate in cultural exchange activities offered by USF World and OIS to ensure compliance with Department of State’s requirements.  

  • Scholars, whether classified as paid or non-paid, have the same access to benefits and rights as any USF employee. This includes but is not limited to: 
    • Attendance and overtime policies and typical hours of operation within their department and/or lab. 
      • Full-time employment is generally considered working 30 to 40 hours per week.  (It is recommended that hours worked should not exceed 40 hours per week.) 
      • It is recommended that non-paid scholars track hours in a timesheet that is signed off by the supervisor. 
      • Awareness of vacation and other types of leave available such as vacation, sick, family/medical leave, and bereavement leave. 
      • Accrual of leave hours in accordance with HR policies. 

    • Safe and clean working conditions 
    • Receive the necessary training to perform job functions 
    • Be aware of harassment and sexual harassment policies 
    • Inclusion in meetings, seminars, and other department activities 
    • OIS should be notified of scholar’s absenteeism. 
      • If there has been no contact for at least 24 hours, OIS should be notified immediately. 
      • If there has been contact, but they have been absent for five days with no valid reason, OIS should be notified. 

    • Retaliation and threat of retaliation policies will not be tolerated 

  • Update USF Export Control if any changes occur to the scholar’s program that may affect export compliance.

Scholar Costs

Scholars must show adequate financial support for all living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying family members.  

Estimated Expenses for One Year:
Housing & Meals $17,808 
Health Insurance $2,371
Other Expenses** $4,776



Plus $5000 per year per dependent.

*includes utilities (electricity, water, gas, phone, internet, cable TV) $100 - $200 per month.  Often part of rent.

**other expenses include transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses (such as laundry, toiletries, clothing, & entertainment.)

Sample costs: 

  • Personal Care Products/Toiletries - $35 per month 
  • Laundry costs $1.00 to wash and $1.00 to dry at most laundromats. 
  • Taxi rates in Tampa are $2.50 plus $2.40 per mile. 
  • Uber/Lyft rates in Tampa are $1.25 plus 13 center per mile 

The university charges no direct fees. The following university services have costs: