Graduate Studies

Hosting a Visiting Scholar

Please contact Dana Sistko, Immigration Specialist at (309) 298-1806 or if you are interested in hosting a scholar. 

Required Document Checklist:

  • Visiting Scholar Information Form completed and signed by the department
  • Visiting Scholar Request Form completed by the scholar
  • Copy of the scholar’s current resume/vita
  • Copy of scholar’s biographical page from passport
  • Copies of all previously issued US visa
  • If bringing spouse/child, copies of each dependent’s biographical page from passport
  • Proof of adequate funding


Once the Immigration Specialist has all the paperwork from your department, please allow at least 5 working days to process and issue the DS-2019 as well as the other necessary immigration documents required. The DS-2019 is the document the scholar will present at the U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for the J-1 visa stamp.

The completed DS-2019 and other appropriate documents will be sent via express mail to the scholar by the School of Global Education and Outreach. 

Arrival of a J-1 Scholar:
The scholar must check in with the Immigration Specialist within 30 days of the program begin date. This is mandatory.  If the scholar fails to do so, his/her SEVIS record will be out of status and the scholar must leave the country. To check in, scholars must bring their passport and DS-2019 to the School of Graduate Studies during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). 

The scholar will also meet with International Student Services for a short orientation session.  Arrangements will be made for the scholar to meet with the Executive Director of the School of Global Education and Outreach as well. 

Note: If the scholar is unable to make the arrival date, the department must contact the Immigration Specialist so that the scholar’s entry date can be deferred in the SEVIS system. If this is not done and the scholar checks in beyond the 30 day grace period, there will be no way to activate them in SEVIS and the scholar will have to return home immediately. It is critical for the department to be in contact with the scholar to confirm arrival dates.

Upon check in, the scholar must provide the Immigration Specialist with their U.S. address. This address must describe a residence. It cannot be a P.O Box or an office address. It can be an “in care of” address.


While the Scholar is Here:

  • Scholars must report any change of address to the Immigration Specialist within 5 days.
  • Scholars must also report any life event that may affect their immigration status such as birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name, divorce or death. This rule also extends to J-2 dependents.
  • Scholars must see the Immigration Specialist to have their DS-2019 signed if they will travel outside the U.S. Signatures are valid for 6 months.
  • Scholars are required to have an appropriate amount of medical insurance and coverage for repatriation of remains while they are here.  Information on amounts required is provided to the scholar in the packet with the DS-2019. 

Departure of the Scholar
Scholars should contact the Immigration Specialist to inform of their date of departure from the University.  This is required to be reported in SEVIS. This is the date the scholar completes a program. It could be the end date on the DS-2019 or it could be a prior date.  It cannot be past the end date on the DS-2019.  

Extension of Stay:
Request for extension must be made by the host department by contacting the Immigration Specialist in writing (email is sufficient).  Contact should be made at least 30 days prior to the program end date listed on the DS-2019 to ensure a smooth transition. 

The scholar’s program must be extended before the end date on their current DS-2019. If the end date lapses then no extension is possible. The scholar must leave the U.S.

Transfer to Another J Program:
J-1 scholars who plan to transfer to another institution must inform the Immigration Specialist of their intent to do so prior to transferring so that this can be properly noted in the SEVIS system.

Other issues of Concern:
Inappropriate advice given to the scholar by a faculty member, academic advisor or international advisor that results in loss of legal status is not accepted by INS as grounds to reinstate the scholar to legal status.

Reinstatement to legal status will rarely, if ever, be granted in the U.S. to scholars who lose their status. The scholar must return home with no guarantee of being issued a visa to return.

J-1 scholars must always be in possession of a current DS-2019 which accurately reflects their purpose for being at WIU. If it is close to expiring the scholar should request an extension from his/her program sponsor.