Sponsoring and Extending a Visiting Scholar Without J-1

The application process for scholars without a J-1 Visa Document is detailed below.

Applying on a Computer
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Before You Sponsor

a scholar who is coming to Columbia to do independent, non-collaborative research only. See the university's description of a visiting scholar in the Faculty Handbook.

  • a scholar conducting collaborative research. If collaborating, an officer-level research appointment is appropriate.
  • a visitor coming to Columbia to perform a service for a very short period and leave—such as to conduct a workshop or give a lecture. If the visitor needs an immigration status allowing the visitor to be paid, contact us so we may determine which status is appropriate.

The Visiting Scholar Designation is normally held for up to one year. It may be renewed for no more than one additional year.

The duration of the designation cannot exceed the duration of the scholar’s legal status in the United States.

  • You will need to apply to our office for the Visiting Scholar designation
  • Upon review, we will determine if J-1 sponsorship is required
  • We will issue the letter within 5 days of a complete application

Submit application 3 months before the start date.

This allows time for us to confirm the appropriate visa classification for the visit.

For those entering as a B visitor or visa waiver, the Visiting Scholar Designation Letter cannot be used for purposes of:

  • funding
  • academic or scholarly exchange
  • to enter the U.S.

Therefore, in these cases (as listed above) the Designation Letter will be available for pick-up or delivery after arrival with proof that the I-94 was submitted.

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How to Sponsor

CUMC departments should contact ISSO-CUMC.

Steps to sponsor a Visiting Scholar without J-1
Step 1

Gather your documents

Step 2

Login to the Scholar Sponsorship Portal (SSP) with your UNI and password to submit all three parts of your application

This application consists of 3 parts. All 3 parts must be completed before we receive your application. Contact us if you are a department administrator requesting access to the SSP.

Learn more about the SSP

To learn about the process and what each part covers, please visit our SSP Overview page.

For online help and tutorials, visit our SSP Department Guide.

Step 3

Receive the Visiting Scholar Designation Letter

Within 5 business days of receiving a complete application, we will send the Designation Letter to your scholar according to the instructions  you indicated on the application. We will send you a copy of the letter by campus mail.

Keep in Mind

Do not put Visiting Scholar data into DIA! We authorize UNI creation and ID card issuance. Visiting Scholars do not appear in the Columbia University directory.

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Extending a Visiting Scholar Without J-1

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Before You Extend

The Visiting Scholar Designation is normally held for up to one year.  It may be renewed for no more than one additional year.

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How to Extend

CUMC departments should contact ISSO-CUMC.

Steps to Extend VS Without
Step 1.

Gather your documents and information

Step 2.

Email us the supporting documents as one pdf file

Step 3.

We will contact you

Within 5 business days of receiving a complete application,we will send the extended visiting scholar  designation letter to your scholar according to the instructions you indicated on the application and will send you a copy of the letter by campus mail.