Information for USD Administrators

Hosting an International Scholar

Academic departments may host an international scholar (exchange visitor) in the following categories:

PROFESSOR/RESEARCHER (from six months up to five years)
someone who is engaged in this program for the purpose of teaching, conducting research, or both.  The maximum stay in this category is five years that must be used consecutively in a non-tenure track position.

someone who is participating in a USD program for six month or less.

NOTE: For questions relating to foreign nationals filling tenure track faculty and permanent positions, please contact our Human Resources Office.

  1. Please consult with Chia-Yen Lin and Rhona Reyes to determine whether or not the prospective scholar or visiting professor is a good candidate for the exchange visit program. If it has been determined that the scholar/professor may be brought in under a J-1 visa, the hosting department will identify a point person who will be required to undergo SUNAPSIS Training with our department. SUNAPSIS is our student and scholar database case management system. The person assigned will be tasked with the administrative duties of creating a profile for the scholar or visiting professor and collecting the necessary documents, in order to issue a DS-2019, Certificate Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.
  2. The documents below are typically required for the issuance of the DS-2019, please review carefully.:
    • For paid positions: A teaching/payment contract is required.
    • For non-paid positions: prepare an invitation letter for the visit. The invitation letter must state the following:
      • Name of the hosting department
      • Name of USD faculty member serving as host
      • Duration of the visit: Beginning and end dates
      • Purpose of visit (research topics)
      • Title of the position
      • Office space available to the exchange visitor, if any
      • Party responsible for funding the exchange visitor's health insurance* (If the exchange visitor is expected to cover his own medical insurance expense, it must be clearly noted in the letter. If the academic department will cover the exchange visitor's health insurance coverage, the academic department should communicate directly with the Student Accounts to arrange payment)
        Note: Invitation letter must be signed by the Dean or Department Chair
  3. Present evidence that the exchange visitor has adequate English skills to function as a visiting scholar
  4. Proof of funding (applies whether scholar is USD-funded, self-funded, or other institution-funded)

For more information on the process of sponsoring a visiting professor or scholar, you may contact (619) 260-4598 to make an appointment with either Responsible Officer (RO) Chia-Yen Lin, or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) Rhona Reyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the appropriate visa to bring an international visitor to teach, conduct research, do a presentation or participate in a conference?

Before the proper visa category for an international visitor can be determined, the academic department must first figure out the answers to the following questions:

  • What activities will the international visitor be engaging in during his stay?
  • Is the international visitor going to be paid/compensated for his activities at the university? If so, how is he going to get paid?
  • What is the expected length or duration of the visit?
  • If the international visitor will engage in paid activity, what would be the classification of his employment (temporary vs. tenure-track)?

The type of visa used in different categories is closely tied to the circumstances above.

What are the visa classifications most commonly used to bring international visitors to the university, and when are they appropriate?

There are 3 visa categories that may be used by an international visitor to conduct official business at the University of San Diego, namely, the J-1, H-1B, and B-1 visas.

 to teach, conduct research, do a presentation, or participate in a conference.

To determine whether a visitor may be suitable to receive a J-1 Visa, the following must be established:

  1. That the visitor will be teaching and/OR conducting research that will take place for a period of MORE THAN NINE (9) days
  2. That the visitor possesses adequate English skills
  3. That the visitor has credentials available to prove qualifications
  4. That the visitor is not subject to any of the J-1 participation bans
  5. That the visitor is NOT going to be placed in a tenure track position

For more information on how to bring in a visitor on a J-1 visa, please see our .

What are circumstances that require an H-1B Worker Visa?

If the position being offered is a tenure-track faculty and/or a permanent position. The H-1B visa requires Labor Certification.  If this is the case, please contact our  Office.

What are instances when a visitor may come in on a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor Visa?

If a visitor will be at the University rendering service for no more that NINE (9) days, he or she may just come to USD on a B-1 visa, especially if the visitor has already been previously granted an unexpired B-1 visa.

The specific purposes for the B-1 Temporary Business Visitor Visa are as follows:

  • Engage in commercial transactions, which do not involved gainful employment in the United States;
  • Negotiate contracts;
  • Consult with business associates;
  • Litigate;
  • Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or
  • Conduct independent research

(Source: )

If the visitor has yet to receive a B-1 visitor visa, he or she must provide evidence to the US Consulate that shows the purpose of the trip, an intent to depart the Unites States, and that arrangements have been made to cover the costs of the trip.  Persons traveling to the US. on business can present a letter from the US business firm indicating the purpose of the trip, the bearer’s intended length of stay and the firm’s intent to defray travel costs.

Can I reimburse or grant per diem expenses payment to a B-1 visa holder?

Enrollment Restrictions Guideline for Nonimmigrants

This table below outlines study restrictions for various visa types and intends to serve as a general guideline for USD admission offices/administration. When approval or clarification is needed, please consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars for detail information and restriction. In general, most nonimmigrant visa catergories permit incidental study* (either part-time or full-time basis) while maintaining the primary nonimmigrant status.


  • *Enrollment Requirement for Incidental Study: A letter from the specific visa sponsoring employer clearly indicating 1) duration of status and 2) enrollment in incidental study on a part-time/full-time basis is permitted while maintaining the nonimmgrant status.
  • Assistantship can only be granted for degree seeking F or J students unless the individual has a valid EAD card (Employment Authorization Document).
Nonimmigrant Visa Types
A-1/ A-2 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
A-3 Incidental Study Only
B-1 Not allowed (casual, recreational classes only)
B-2 Not allowed (casual, recreational classes only)
WB, WT Not allowed (casual, recreational classes only)
C-1, C-4 Not allowed
C-2, C-3 Not allowed
D-1, D-2 Not allowed
E-1, E-2, E-3 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
F-1/F-2/ Full-time
*F2: Part-time ONLY *Children: allowed at K-12 level only *F3: Part-time ONLY
F-3 Part-time only
G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
G-5 Incidental Study Only
H-1B Incidental Study Only
H-1C, H-2A, B, H-3 Incidental Study Only
H-4 Part/Full-time
I PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
J-1/J-2 STUDENT: Full-time
SCHOLAR: Part-time only (incidental to visit)
L-1/L-2 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
M-1/M-2 PRINCIPAL:Full-time
*Spouses: Part-time *Children: Full-time from K-12 only
NATO 1-7 Part/Full-time
O-1 Incidental Study Only
O-2/O-3 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
P-1, P-2, P-3 Incidental Study Only
P-4 Part/Full-time
Q-1, Q-2, Q-3 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
R-1/R-2 PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time
TN/TD PRINCIPAL: Incidental Study Only
DEPENDENTS: Part/Full-time

International Students in the Classroom: 10 Practical Tips for Faculty

  1. Be proactive in communicating with international students.  Even a short conversation after class about the student’s home country can help the student feel more comfortable and can build rapport. Do your best to learn how to pronounce students’ names, even if it takes a few attempts.
  2. Normalize “office hours on the first day of class as most international students are reluctant to visit faculty offices unless they are compelled to do so. Keep in mind that in many parts of the world, professors and students rarely interact directly so some international students may seem initially distant or avoidant.
  3. Check –in with students after assigning group work and offer suggestions. Clear group/individual expectations are also helpful as international students may not be accustomed to cooperating in an academic environment.
  4. Talk to students individually about participation and encourage students to share their unique perspectives; ask questions like “how would this issue be perceived in your country?” to inject an international perspective on global issues.
  5. Be conscious of discussions/topics that presume a nuanced understanding of American history and politics. International students will often nod along in agreement although they may not follow the discussion.
  6. Recognize that language proficiency is not usually their primary barrier to academic success; most international students struggle more with academic writing and the volume of reading assigned. Help international students to prioritize readings and refer students to resources like the Writing and Math Centers for more help.
  7. Clarify your expectations on class policies including attendance requirements, homework submissions etc.  If you notice an international student missing a deadline or arriving late to class consistently, use these situations as teachable moments and emphasize the importance of promptitude and deadlines in the United States. Remember that international students are going through a process of cultural adjustment.  Classroom culture is only one of the many ways they have to confront cultural differences every day.
  8. Provide examples of successful coursework.  Often international student struggle to understand what qualifies as an “A” paper or presentation. Providing samples of “A” work can help international students to track their progress and to identify areas where they need to improve.
  9. Understand the difference between degree-seeking and exchange students.  Exchange students make up the minority of international students at USD (though many assume the opposite) and are less likely to be familiar with US academic culture and may experience more initial challenges.
  10. Collaborate with the Office of International Students and Scholars. Unsure if an issue with one of your students reflects a cultural difference? Working directly with our office is a great way to handle challenging interactions with international students. Keep in mind that international students may have to make academic decisions to protect their immigration status. In these cases, it’s best to advise students to seek help in the International Center.

Read the full article "Helping Faculty Teach International Students"

Please don't hesitate to contact our office if you need some assistance in working with a specific student.