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Visiting Scholars

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The Exchange Visitor Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, allows the University to use the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa status to invite or employ foreign professors, research scholars, and short-term scholars in the United States temporarily.  CSUN Faculty Hosts requesting visa sponsorship for a visitor are required to comply with University guidelines and serve as hosts through the duration of the visitor’s stay.

To initiate a request for J-1 visa sponsorship, please submit a completed CSUN J-1 Visiting Scholar Request Form request form. 


  • Do not send the form through Adobe Sign for signatures as it will lock the document to future edits and approval signatures. Electronic signatures are accepted as are wet signatures. How to insert a signature. If you get stuck, try google! You may find something better or more fitting to your situation. *I would encourage you to use Microsoft Office 365 Word online as you can add collaborators. Requests that have been filled out in this manner have had the fastest processing times.
  • Carefully review and fill out all applicable sections of the request form. If something does not apply, enter N/A
  • Do not attach any documents to the Visiting Scholar Request that may be considered Level 1 Protected Data: https://www.csun.edu/it/protected-data.
  • Contact Faculty Affairs and request a BOX folder link for support document upload.
  • Provide translated versions of support documents when originals are in a foreign language
  • Add your initials to any area that is preceded by “_____”if you understand and agree with the statement.

The Faculty Host is responsible for understanding and retaining the J-1 Exchange Visitor program information provided in the Visiting Scholar request form even when a department or college staff person is assisting the Faculty Host by filling out the Visiting Scholar Request form.

If you have any questions on this process, please contact Ashley Thompson at 818-677-4758, or via email at international.scholars@csun.edu


Paid Visiting Scholar

The information in this section is for visiting scholars who will be paid by their faculty host's grant funds, department or college. Verification of funding is required. 

Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and temporary (working) non-residents (e.g.,) by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes; it is not intended to be used for identification purposes.  

All Exchange Visitors in the research scholar, professor, and short-term scholar categories are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) by right of their J-1 status. J-1 Exchange Visitors are not required to obtain a job offer letter or an SSN eligibility letter, the J-1 invitation letter fulfills these requirements. After the J-1 scholar completes the check-in process with Faculty Affairs, scholars must contact their local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to schedule an in-person appointment. Scholars must provide the following original documents to the SSA when requested: 

As paid J-1 research scholar, a Social Security Number (SSN) is required for your employment at California State University, Northridge or CSUN Auxiliaries. If you do not currently possess an SSN it may take many weeks to obtain one. Visiting Scholars are encouraged to notify the Social Security Administration that their ability to start work and be paid is contingent upon receipt of the SSN as this may expedite the process.

  • The application for an SSN is always free of charge. 
  • The Social Security Administration does not accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. SSA will verify the documents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before assigning the SSN. 
  • An SSN card will be issued within about two weeks of receiving certification from DHS. In most cases, the SSA can quickly verify the documents online. 

Visiting scholars entering the US without a SSN must be able to provide proof of financial support for the first two months of their visit, at least $2500 per month for living expenses. Please plan accordingly. 

Tax Information and Reporting Requirements for International Students

Unpaid Self-Support Visiting Scholar

The information in this section is for visiting scholars who will come to CSUN on a self-support basis. ALL unpaid visiting scholars must demonstrate the ability to self-support at $2500 per month for living expenses for the duration of their stay. Verification of funding is required. 

J-2 Dependent Request

The J-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a consular official at a U.S. embassy or consulate for spouses and/or dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 exchange visitors who accompany the J-1 holder in the United States.  

In order to request J-2 visa sponsorship for a dependent, please adhere to the following:

  • Dependent request(s) must be submitted along with the J-1 visa sponsorship request
  • All sections of the request form must be completed
  • Copies of the passport identification page for each dependent must be submitted
  • Proof of funding of $850 per dependent per month for living expenses in addition to the J-1 visiting scholar’s funding.
  • A brief statement must be provided that indicates what the J-2 dependent(s)’ plan is during their stay while the primary J-1 visa holder participates in their program.
  • An end date must be provided for J-2 dependents if they will not stay in the United States for the duration of the J-1’s program.  If the end date is not known until a later time, please ensure to complete this form again when the end date is known and it is different from the J-1’s program end date.
  • Per Department of State regulations, please include an email address for each dependent.  If the dependent is a minor and does not have an email address, please include one of the parent/guardian’s email address as an alternative.
  • Ensure that all dependents on J-2 status have insurance coverage for medical, evacuation and repatriation benefits just like the J-1 visa holder.  All visitors must be insured at all times during their visit. 

Request for Dependent(s) of J-1 Paid Visiting Scholar 

Proof of English Proficiency

The exchange visitor (must possess) sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.” 22 CFR 62.10(a)(2) [10}

The University requires that prospective visiting scholars provide one of the following proofs of English proficiency: 

Waiving the English Language Proficiency Requirement

The English language proficiency requirement may be waived if the applicant is a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or English-medium universities in Canada or South Africa.

Evidence such as transcripts or degree(s) associated with these studies must accompany this request in order to be considered for the waiver.