Scholar Sponsorship Portal (SSP) Overview

What is the SSP?

Here you can:

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Request an initial or extended Visiting Scholar/Scientist designation from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs - Academic Appointments for your independent researchers. Upon approval, ISSO will issue the UNI.

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Request an initial or extended visa sponsorship (J-1, H-1B, TN, O-1, E-3) for your faculty, researchers and scholars.


Here is what the process looks like!

Scholar Form Overview Flow Chart

Process Overview

Here's a general overview of the complete application process!

Step 1
Part 1 -Department (all applications)

What it includes: 

  • Department Information
  • Basic Scholar Information
  • Visual Compliance Automated Screening
  • Visa Selection
  • Review by Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs – Academic Appointments (Visiting Scholar/Scientist designation requests only)
  • Columbia Funding Information
  • English Language Proficiency (J-1 visa requirement by U.S. Department of State)
  • Fee Payment (J-1 Visiting Scholars/Scientists independent researchers only)
  • Upload the Supporting Documents as one PDF File when prompted
Step 2
Part 2 - Scholar (only applications for J-1 and Visiting Scholar Designations)

What it includes: 

  • Scholar Address
  • Scholar J-2 Dependent Information
  • Scholar Funding Information
  • Health Insurance Acknowledgement
Step 3
Part 3 - Department (only for Columbia’s J-1 visa sponsorship)

What it includes: 

  • Delivery Instructions
  • Ability to Edit Scholar's Responses (Part 2)
  • Upload the Supporting Documents as One PDF File
  • Submission to the ISSO


Here's a step-by-step description:

  • Complete Part 1


    Log in to the SSP where you will first be led through a series of questions about your department and your scholar. Enter the scholar’s full name as it appears in the passport and the country and complete name of any institution(s) with which the scholar is affiliated (e.g. employment, enrollment, board member). 

    The scholar, country and institution(s) will then undergo Visual Compliance Screening (VCS). 

    • If there is no match, you will be able to proceed. 
    • If there is a match, immediately contact your Designated Reviewer to clear or resolve the match with the Export Control Office.

    Next, the form will guide you to select the appropriate visa type for your scholar's visit. You will be led to different pages based on which visa option you choose. You will also be prompted to upload a single pdf file of specific supporting documents which correlate with your request. Once you submit Part 1, you will receive a confirmation page that will give you some general instructions.

    What happens if you requested a Visiting Scholar/Scientist (independent researcher) designation:

    • Your request - along with your uploaded supporting documentation- will be viewable by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs - Academic Appointments.
    • If the terms of the visit seem to not correlate with designation description in the Faculty Handbook , the request will be ‘recycled’ with specific guidance in the comment box.
    • If a transaction is recycled, respond with the additional information, and if there are missing documents, remove the original PDF and re-upload a new PDF to include the complete set of supporting documents (not simply the new materials).
    • If advised that an academic appointment is required, re-start the request using the correct appointment title.
    • If you have concerns about a case under review, contact [email protected] and reference the SSP case number in the subject line.

    What happens after Part 1:

    • If you requested a Visiting Scholar/Scientist designation without visa sponsorship (e.g. U.S. citizen, Fulbright) ISSO will create the UNI for your scholar and will email UNI activation instructions to your scholar and copy you.
    • If you have requested J-1 sponsorship , your scholar will be emailed directly with a link to log in to Part 2.
    • If you are requesting H-1B, E-3, O-1, or TN sponsorship, ISSO is  notified and you can proceed with the rest of the visa sponsorship process.
  • Scholar Completes Part 2 (only for Columbia’s J-1 visa)

    Scholar Using SSP

    If you are sponsoring a J-1 visa, your scholar will be emailed directly with a link to log in. The email will be automatically generated  and will include a one-time link to create a unique username and password. The scholar must use these credentials to access the form.

    Similar to Part 1, the form will guide the scholar to answer more specific questions. Don't worry, you will be able to review anything that the scholar entered here when you login to continue editing the application in Part 3. Follow up with your scholar to ensure  a timely submission. Once the scholar submits Part 2, an email will be sent to you confirming submission and prompting you to log in to Part 3.

  • Complete Part 3 (only for Columbia’s J-1 visa)


    Once you receive the email from the scholar, you must log back into the form and continue editing Part 3. You will be able to edit anything the scholar submitted in Part 2. Finally, you will need to upload your remaining supporting documents as one pdf file. After you submit Part 3, your application will be complete!

    Upon submitting Part 3, you will also get a confirmation page that will give you some general instructions and ISSO will begin issuance of the J-1 visa certificate (DS-2019).


Let's get started!