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International Visiting Scholar Orientation and Information

Rules and Regulations | Orientation and Information | Immigration Forms and Documents | Past and Present Scholars

Welcome to Western Oregon University! This is a brief overview of the information you will need to know about being a Visiting Scholar at Western Oregon University and about living in Monmouth, Oregon.

The links on this orientation site provides useful information and resources for all exchange visitors. The most important resource for exchange visitors is the International Students and Scholars Affairs office located in Maaske hall at WOU. Staff members, students, mentors, and other faculty on campus can offer answers and referrals to any questions you may have.

Rules and Regulations

By accepting to be an International Visiting Scholars to Western Oregon University you agree to the following rules and regulations in order to maintain your immigration status.

  • I understand that I must perform research and engage only in activities permitted as a visiting scholar (see regulations).
  • I understand that as a J visa holder, I must have and purchase health insurance during the entire duration of the Exchange Visitor program. I must pay for health insurance within 2 weeks of the start of EACH term or I may fall out of status. More information can be found under "Health Insurance Regulations and Requirements".
  • I understand that I must update the Office of International Education and Development within 10 days of changing addresses in the United States or I will fall out of status.
  • I understand that I may not take employment off-campus without first discussing my options or receiving approval in writing from an International Student Advisor.
  • I understand that I must update the Office of International Education and Development of the location and nature of activities, lectures, and consultations I offer.
  • I understand that I must maintain a valid and correct DS-2019, Passport, and I-94 card while in the United States.
  • I understand that I must notify the Office of International Education and Development if I plan to travel outside the United States, or transfer to a different program or visa status. Your immigration documents will need to be reviewed and updated.
  • I understand that I must check my WOU e-mail weekly (through WOU Portal) for important updates and information from the International Students and Scholars Affairs Office, Business office, and other departments on campus.
  • I understand that any J-2 dependent’s status is pertinent to my own and they must follow all rules placed by the Department of State.
  • I understand that it is my responsibility to comply fully with immigration regulations in order to maintain legal immigration status in the United States.  Lack of knowledge or understanding of the immigration or university regulations is not a valid excuse for failing to comply.

Questions about Visiting Scholars and immigration should be directed to Sarah Nagel, International Student Advisor and Alternate Responsible Officer, in the Office of International Education and Development.

Below is general information regarding Exchange Visitor regulations:

Health Insurance Regulation and Requirement

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents must be covered by sickness and accident insurance for the duration of their stay in the United States. Failure to purchase such insurance may lead to loss of legal immigration status and termination from the Exchange Visitor Program. These Department of State (DOS) regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR 62.14].

  • Minimum health insurance coverage must provide all of the following:

    • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
    • In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500;
    • In case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the Exchange Visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000;
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

For more information about the WOU Insurance please visit the International Health Insurance Information page. This page explains the costs of insurance at WOU, how to access the WOU insurance page, and the procedure for requesting a waiver of the WOU insurance if needed.

Orientation and Information

Initial Arrival at WOU and the United States:

International Visiting Scholars are responsible for finding housing and getting set up in their new accommodations. More detailed information can be found on the regular international student Pre-Arrival Guide and Page.

  • Report to the Office of International Education and Development (OIED) in Maaske Hall to make copies of your immigration documents such as your passport and DS-2019 within 3 days of your arrival in the U.S.
  • Meet with Sarah Nagel, Alternate Responsible Officer, in the OIED office to set up a time for Orientation, a campus tour, and to have any of your questions answered.
  • Find Housing
  • Get a Cell Phone (Optional)
  • Set up a Bank Account (Optional)
  • Get a Visiting Scholar Identification Card: Go to the Human Resources department on the second floor of the Administration building. You will need your welcome letter, passport and address in the U.S.
  • Set up your e-mail account: You will be sent an e-mail from OIED with instructions on how to create an e-mail account. If you have trouble, come to the Office of International Education and Development for assistance. You may need to wait a few days while the computer system is updated with your WOU e-mail address.
  • Pay the International Scholar Health Insurance within two weeks of the start of the term.
  • Meet with your Department/Faculty Mentor; OIED will contact your Faculty Mentor to schedule appointment and will e-mail you the appointment information for the initial meeting so that you can get to know each other and plan how to follow your research plan, decide what courses to sit-in on, what presentations you could make, or what data to collect..
  • Begin and follow your Research Plan.
  • Learn about life and customs in the U.S. and get involved on campus.

The Current Student Handbook will have the most up to date information on getting settled at WOU and life and customs in the U.S. Please review this information before coming to and while in the U.S.



  • Visiting Scholars are strongly encouraged to join the WOU International Student Club, and attend events at WOU and in the community. Participation in club events such as the Chinese Spring Festival or International Night are welcome.
  • During OIED trips or events, fee-paying international students and WOU students get priority for sign-up and attendance. Contact Ermie Buncal to get onto the International-Activities listerv which includes information about events specifically of interest to international students and scholars <intl-activities@wou.edu>.

Other WOU Resources:

  • The WOU Student Health and Counseling Center is available for scholars ONLY if they pay an additional fee to use the on-campus facilities. The Office Coordinator in the Office of International Education and Development should be contacted prior to using the Student Health and Counseling Center, and the fee needs to be paid at the cashiers office. This must happen every term the scholar plans to use the center.
  • The Health and Wellness Center gym and recreation center on the WOU campus. Scholars who are interested in using the gym are required to pay the membership fee and should contact the Director of the Health and Wellness Center for approval and the Business Office to pay the fee every term.
  • Local Banks and ATMs
  • Libraries ( WOU Library, Monmouth and Independence Public Library)

DS-2019 Extension:

If scholars would like to extend their program to continue their research, they must provide written consent from their home university specifically stating that they are able to extend. The scholars must also provide a new financial guarantee showing that they will have financial support during the extended period.

Inviting a Dependent Spouse or Child:

It is highly recommended that the exchange visitor get settled and begin his/her research plan before inviting a dependent husband/wife or child. A visiting scholar's primary purpose of being in the U.S. is to conduct research and follow the original learning plan at Western Oregon University. Scholars who do not follow their research plan may be required to exit the U.S.

WOU Policy: A DS-2019 immigration document will not be issued for a dependent spouse or child to apply for a J-2 visa unless the Visiting Scholar's program is at least 1 year in length as Western Oregon University only has a limited number of DS-2019s that can be issued. Instead, a family invitation letter of recommendation will be issued which states the scholar's status in the United States, financial situation, and address. Please see the Family Invitation Letter Request Form and submit a copy of the dependent's bio page in the passport.

Children Dependents who will attend a U.S. school (kindergarden through 12th grade) will need to submit an Immunization Record/International Certificate of Vaccination translated into English. Dependent children are not authorized for employment during the program, or attend school beyond the 12th grade. Local schools in Monmouth/Independence.

Dependents need to be aware of the rules and regulations about their immigration status and visa. Individuals who violate his/her immigration status may have their immigration record terminated and be required to depart the U.S. immediately.

Meeting your Mentor:

Tips for meeting with your faculty mentor and instructors:

  • Introduce yourself to your faculty mentor before arriving in the U.S. through email.
  • Review the department website and see what resources and opportunities they have available
  • Plan to meet with your mentor at least once a term to plan how to proceed with your research plan
  • Develop a tentative schedule before meeting with your mentor of courses you wish to sit-in on
  • Keep track of progress towards your research plan goal by keeping a daily journal or by setting deadlines
  • Get to know other professors within the department

Benefits of talking with professors and faculty at WOU:

  • Personalizes your learning in and out of the classroom
  • Personalized letters of recommendation from close mentors and professors
  • Creates long lasting relationships with professionals in the U.S.

Forms for Current Visiting Scholars

Photos and Articles of Past Visiting Scholars and their Research Topics

See what research and projects the current and past Visiting Scholars at WOU have been active in at the Past and Present Visiting Scholar page.


International Education & Development ph:503-838-8425 fax:503-838-8338 | or e-mail: global@wou.edu

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