Services for International Employees & Scholars

KU appointment

All J-1 scholars, regardless of the immigration arrangements, must have an official university appointment indicating they have an academic relationship to KU.  Any scholar who will be on the university payroll should be appointed to the specifications of their contract with the hosting department.  A copy of this contact will be submitted through iHawk.

For those scholars who will not be paid by the university, the appropriate appointment is generally KU Affiliate, Temporary Visiting Scholar.

Note: International Programs must approve and then submit an appointment request to Human Resources for those scholars who are not paid by KU.

Official Invitation Letter

All visiting scholars need an official letter of invitation, even KU employees.  This letter is critical to the DS-2019 issuance and visa application process.  The letter should detail the nature of the research or teaching that the scholar will conduct, who will supervise or advise the scholar, the agreed length of stay and dates the scholar will be on campus, ability to perform research or teaching based on scholar’s English proficiency and specifically what the department will offer the scholar.  It may explain if the department will be able to provide office space, staff assistance, departmental facilities, and salary and/or stipend.

The invitation letter should include the following information:

  • General field of research
  • Brief description of research / teaching activities (for teaching, list all courses)
  • Exact start and end date
  • Either KU funding (include exact dollar amount) or no funding from KU
  • Scholar meets English language ability to be successful in program
  • Health insurance as requirement of J visa
  • Additional benefits department is offering scholar (office space, staff assistance, department facilities, etc.)

template letter(word)   sample letter(pdf)


U.S. law requires J-1 scholars to show they have enough finances to support themselves and any dependents that accompany them at poverty guidelines»; however, International Programs strongly recommends that visitors secure access to additional funding to avoid living at poverty levels.  Proof of funding must be submitted during the J-1 Application process. If the visiting scholar extends their program, additional funding proof must be provided to cover the extension.

If the scholar will be living in Lawrence, the minimum funding levels are:

  • Scholar: $1,350.00 per month
  • Dependent: $550.00 per dependent per month

Funding can come from many different sources.  The most common sources are:

  • Home country government
  • Home University
  • Personal savings
  • Support from family members
  • Funding from the KU hosting department

English Language Proficiency

Every J-1 Exchange Visitor must demonstrate their functional level in English prior to participation in a J-1 program in the U.S. This serves two purposes:

  1. to ensure all scholars are able to live and function effectively in their host communities and avail themselves of the opportunities for cultural exchange, and
  2. to ensure all scholars have the language skills fundamental to the success of their unique J program objectives.

Submission of evidence related to the incoming scholar’s functional level in English will be done through iHawk. To ensure each individual’s level of English is sufficient for achieving his or her specific program objectives, the host’s invitation letter must address the J-1 Scholar’s language level as it relates to those program objectives and the capacity of the host and hosting unit.

During the J-1 application process the scholar will be able to choose their method of documentation and upload the appropriate material.  Only four options will be accepted:

  • The J-1 is from an English-speaking country (see list below)*
  • The J-1 has attended/is attending university where English is the language of course instruction.  Documentation includes copies of transcripts or diploma from US university or website of the institution that shows that course instruction is in English.
  • Submission of a score report from a widely recognized test that details the scholar’s functional level in English. Such tests include TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge, PTE Academic, and Pearson Verssant.
  • Interview with the J-1, in English, was conducted by KU inviting host faculty member. The KU faculty member will need to attest to the date of the interview, the interview method (video conference, skype, G-chat, phone, in-person, etc.) and that the scholar has sufficient proficiency in the English language to successfully participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.

*Examples of English-Speaking Countries based on official language and population usage statistics include: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada (except Quebec), Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, Trinidad/Tobago, and United Kingdom.

International Calendar

Founded in 1964 as part of a Ford Foundation campus internationalization grant
One of the first 12 intensive English programs in the United States
Each semester, the AEC enrolls about 250 students representing more than 35 countries on six continents
The Applied English Center offers field trips and conversation groups to our students
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times