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Visiting Scholars

COVID-19 UPDATE: Based on the United States Department of State Global Health Advisory and the suspension or limitation of visa services in many countries, approval of requests may necessarily be delayed, or the request denied. See the latest information and guidance on Iowa State University's response to COVID-19.

The University regularly welcomes international and domestic scholars and researchers to the Iowa State campus for a specific, approved visit. Non-Iowa State University scholars (i.e., non-students and non-employees) benefit from this temporary educational and cultural opportunity in a university setting and under the guidance of, or in collaboration with, outstanding Iowa State University faculty.

Iowa State confers "Visiting Scholar" status with limited rights and privileges according to the Visiting Scholar policy.

What is a Visiting Scholar?

The designation of Visiting Scholar or Visiting Student Researcher (hereafter referred to as “Visiting Scholar”) is a privilege accorded to an individual visiting from, and affiliated with, an outside university, institution, or business who is temporarily in residence at Iowa State. The definition of visiting scholar includes any unpaid visiting faculty (i.e., Fulbright Scholars and faculty from other academic institutions during a period of sabbatical at their home institution).

The reason for the visit is generally to conduct research in a university facility, collaborate with university faculty on specific projects, or observe university research, extension/outreach, instruction, or administration. The specific purpose must be stated in the Visiting Scholar Request form, managed by the Individual Host and Administrative Host, and approved by the respective college dean/vice president and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost as required. The maximum duration of each visit is one year. At the conclusion of the visit, the visiting scholar is expected to return to their home institution or country to utilize the experience and skills acquired while at Iowa State.

Visiting Scholars are not employees or students of Iowa State University and are therefore not entitled to compensation or to benefits available to regular faculty, staff, or students. Visiting Scholars must abide by general University policies during their stay.

Visiting Scholars Policy

The Visiting Scholars policy and the associated Guidelines/FAQ (PDF, 342KB) detail the designation and role, requirements, responsibilities, and privileges of visiting scholars and their hosts at Iowa State University.

Procedures – Individual Host

Iowa State University faculty who wish to host a visiting Scholar shall follow the procedures below:

1.  Review the policy and ensure that the proposed visiting scholar meets the minimum eligibility criteria.

2.  Consult with your department chair/director and the Office of the Dean/Vice President, respectively, prior to initiating a request to host a visiting scholar. For assistance, contact the Administrative Support Staff in your college office.

3.  Submit the Visiting Scholar request via the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System (YPVRS). Required information for the online request includes: Name of proposed visiting scholar; start date and estimated end date of visit; Iowa State department/unit and Administrative Host; visitor type (visiting scholar or visiting student researcher); purpose of visit; Iowa State resources needed; whether the activities are high-risk (Environmental Health and Safety check); and proposed visiting scholar’s country of citizenship, affiliation, highest degree, home/email address, and emergency contact information.

4.  (IF APPLICABLE) For all proposed international visiting scholars, especially those requiring a J-1 visa sponsored by the University, consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISSO) at this time. Note that the J-1 visa authorization process may require significant lead time, and the Office of International Students and Scholars will need to complete the filing (upon approval of the visit in the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System) and authorization must be secured prior to the commencement of the visit.

5.  You will receive an email notification from the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System indicating additional steps that both you and the proposed visiting scholar must complete.

a.  EXPORT CONTROL WORKSHEET (ECW). Regardless of the duration or purpose of the visit, all international visiting scholars are subject to export review prior to arrival. The Individual Host is responsible for completing the Export Control Worksheet. The request to host will NOT be approved until the Export Control Worksheet is completed by the host and reviewed/approved by the Office of Research Ethics. 

b. CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND COMMITMENT (COIC) DISCLOSURE. All visiting scholars who will design, conduct, and/or report research at Iowa State must complete a Conflict of Interest and Commitment disclosure form. The proposed visiting scholar is responsible to submit the form available at Visiting Scholar Conflict of Interest and Commitment Disclosure. (Once the Visiting Scholar request is approved by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and/or the Administrative Host and College/Unit designee, the proposed visiting scholar will receive an email with this link embedded.) The Individual Host shall alert the proposed visiting scholar to this requirement. The visit is contingent upon review by the Conflict of Interest Program in the Office of Research Ethics prior to the start date. 

6.  You should continue to monitor your request form in the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System. (Your request will be reviewed in the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System by the Administrative Host, the College/Unit Designee, and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, as required.) 

7.  Upon notification of final approval of the request to host in the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System, the Individual Host and Administrative host jointly issue the Letter of Invitation (PDF, 180KBDOC, 15KB) and can now host the visiting scholar at Iowa State upon completion of International Students and Scholars support and visa authorization, if applicable. Please review the responsibilities of the Individual Host and related requirements and procedures found in the Guidelines/FAQ (PDF, 342KB).

At this time, the final steps will be taken by others, including the proposed visiting scholar:

a.  Background check. The Office of Risk Management will initiate the background check. Note that approval for the visit is contingent upon a successful background check.

b.  Visiting Scholar Agreement form. The visiting scholar will be notified and referred to the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System to agree to the terms and electronically sign the Visiting Scholar Agreement form (PDF, 136KB). The visiting scholar will consent to University policy and all requirements of visiting scholars when signing this Agreement and this step must be completed prior to the commencement of the visit.

Responsibilities of Individual Host and Administrative Host

Individual Host

Regardless of the duration of the visit, the individual host is responsible for hosting and facilitating the visit and ensuring that the visit concludes satisfactorily. The individual host must agree to provide ongoing oversight in conjunction with the administrative host for the full duration of the visit. At the conclusion of the visit, the individual host is responsible for notifying the administrative host, International Students and Scholars (if applicable), and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (if applicable) of the visiting scholar’s departure from the university. Failure to comply with these responsibilities may impact the ability of the individual host to host future visiting scholars.

Administrative Host

The administrative host or their designee is responsible for ensuring the completion of all requirements to host a visiting scholar (e.g., Visiting Scholar Request form, Export Control Worksheet, Conflicts of Interest and Commitment Disclosure, etc.). The administrative host shall consult with the office of the dean of the college, Office of the Vice President for Research, or equivalent administrator when the delegate administrative host is not the Dean/Associate Dean/Vice President for Research, etc. for approval and signature of required documents as applicable.

The administrative host is responsible for providing space for the visiting scholar, if appropriate, and for orienting the visiting scholar to applicable university policies and university resources.

The administrative host must ensure that authority for use of university facilities/equipment or access to university facilities/equipment is appropriate and issues the appropriate authorization letters, if applicable.

In addition, the administrative host is responsible for ensuring that the visiting scholar:

  1. Is aware of all applicable university policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws while visiting Iowa State and reports any violations of university policy or the law in accordance with university policy and procedure;
  2. Receives all required university training (e.g. non-discrimination and anti-harassment, health and safety for the facilities and equipment, if any, they will use or other mandatory training);
  3. Understands that proprietary work for his or her home organization may not be carried out in university facilities during the visit, unless the university has entered into a written agreement with the visiting scholar and/or the visiting scholar’s home institution to perform such work;
  4. Returns all issued office or laboratory keys, computer equipment, the ISUCard (if one is issued – see Section III), and all credentials upon completion of the visit.

The administrative host also is responsible for ensuring that any concerns expressed about the visiting scholar or by the visiting scholar regarding the conduct of university personnel, student(s), or other visiting scholars are addressed in accordance with university policy and procedure.

Administrative Fee and Additional Requirements/Information

Administrative Fee:  The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost administers the visiting scholar program and thus manages the assessment of the Administrative Fee ($500) to be paid by each visiting scholar. The fee recognizes that there are costs associated with hosting such visitors; the fee will directly pay for issuance of the University ID (ISU Card), Net ID (email) and for the background check. Each visiting scholar will be assessed this fee via the U-Bill. The visiting scholar must pay the fee within 90 days of issuance of the U-Bill. Failure to pay the U-Bill may result in early termination of the Agreement and visit.

Insurance:  All international visiting scholars are required to enroll themselves and their accompanying dependents in the Iowa State University Student and Scholar Health Insurance (SSHIP) regardless of nonimmigrant status or length of visit. The cost of the monthly premiums for Student and Scholar Health Insurance is in addition to the administrative fee assessed to the visiting scholar. Enrollment must be completed within 31 days of the visiting scholar’s arrival. 

International Visiting Scholars and Visa Application:  The Individual Host is responsible for initiating the DS-2019 for each J-1 visa application. Consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars early for all proposed international visiting scholars, especially those requiring a J-1 visa sponsored by the University and continue to utilize the CyStart system (NOTE: the process has not changed with the implementation of this policy, however, the Office of International Students and Scholars will act upon the request only after final approval of the visiting scholar request through Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System ).

The Office of International Students and Scholars charges each hosting department a Scholar Support Fee for J-1 applications (this cost is in addition to the administrative fee assessed to the visiting scholar).

Upon arrival, the visiting scholar is required to check-in with the Office of International Students and Scholars. The Office of International Students and Scholars will issue the University ID (UID) number and refer the visiting scholar to the Iowa State University Card Office to obtain the ISUCard.

ISUCard:  For those not requiring the Office of International Students and Scholars support, the Individual Host should refer the visiting scholar, upon arrival, to the ISU Card Office to obtain the UID number and ISUCard. Because the internal administrative systems are not yet integrated, for all approved visiting scholar requests (international or domestic), the Individual Host must print the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System email approval notification and have the visiting scholar present that notification to the ISU Card Office – this ensures that the ISUCard is issued promptly and without another charge to the Iowa State department. 

Net-ID (Email): An Iowa State University ID (UID) number is first required to obtain a Net-ID and Iowa State email account. The Individual Host should contact the Administrative Host to initiate the sponsorship of the account.

Federal Programs: Fulbright Visiting Scholars Program (non-United States Scholars) and other Fellowships (i.e., United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Borlaug Fellowship Program):  There are several opportunities available to foreign scholars to visit Iowa State through the prestigious Fulbright program and other prominent fellowship programs. These scholars coming to Iowa State University will be considered visiting scholars and the Individual Host/department must complete the steps above to register the scholar through the Youth Program and Volunteer Registration System, however they will not be assessed the administrative fee. Also note that Fulbright Scholars will not be required to enroll in Iowa State University Student and Scholar health insurance and the Office of International Students and Scholars does not provide visa support, thus there is no Office of International Students and Scholars scholar fee charged to an Iowa State department.