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International Office

Inbound International Scholars Guidelines and Application

California State University, Fresno accepts International Research Scholars from different countries to come to our university to conduct research. The presence of these research scholars enhances the international dimensions of the educational program at California State University, Fresno, and allows our faculty the opportunity to work with colleagues from around the globe.

Faculty and graduate students may apply for affiliation with California State University, Fresno as a visiting International Research Scholar by sending their materials to potential host faculty/mentor at Fresno State. If it is confirmed that the department has the time and resources to support the proposal, a packet of information will be sent to the appropriate academic offices for review (see process below). Please note, in exchange for assistance from the academic department, and access to our campus resources, international scholars are expected to offer similar services to the department such as classroom guest lectures, colloquia or other work that engages the department.

Requests for visiting scholars begins at the department level with a review the credentials of the potential scholar and ensure they align with those of the host department and college.  Unsolicited requests from individuals requesting to come to Fresno State are common; departments have no obligation to host.  Individuals nominated by a department should be those whose body of professional research and/or teaching is established and known within their discipline.  

Departments and the potential faculty host/mentor then must have an open conversation about the benefits of hosting an international scholar to students, the department and the college.  It is the department’s responsibility to ensure the researcher’s presence on our campus adds to our campus’s culture and intellectual discourse.   The potential faculty host/mentor will need to develop a plan to integrate the scholar into their department’s activities for the time the international scholar is visiting.  The best plans will identify specific courses for the scholar to guest lecture, colloquiums or other engagement activities scheduled that showcase the areas of expertise the scholar brings to the campus.  The College/School will need to commit to office space, computer equipment and any other resources aligned with the applicant’s research project.

The faculty host/mentor will be the primary point of contact between the university and the visiting scholar.  The Faculty host/mentor and Department have supervisory responsibility of international scholars they invite.  While there is no institutional requirement that the visiting scholar comes to campus each day, campus attendance and the role of the international scholar should be discussed in great detail within the department, including the participation expectation in classroom presentations, research colloquia, and other department/school events.  If the scholar disappears, the department faculty host or department chair must immediately contact the Senior International Officer (Dr. Sarah Lam) who would inform the Department of State as required by the scholar’s visa. 

Please note, there is no central office space reserved for visiting international scholars; providing adequate office and research space is the responsibility of the Department and College/School. 

Faculty Host Responsibilities

It should be noted that being a faculty host/mentor could amount to a significant amount of time.  Following is a list of responsibilities for the faculty host/mentor.

  • Screening and selecting qualified foreign nationals to carry out exchange initiatives in cooperation with the department;
  • Maintaining a calendar of events (guest lectures, colloquia, etc.) for the visitor.
  • Monitoring the visitor throughout their stay and reporting any issues or changes to Fresno State’s International Office; 
  • Ensuring that the foreign national makes progress to completing the responsibilities for which entry to the United States was granted; 
  • Assisting the visiting scholar’s application preparation and submitting the complete application to the International Office; 
  • Immediately notifying the International Office of any serious problems or controversy.
  • Answer questions about the Fresno area, including housing, banking, mobile phone availability, etc., and facilitating the organizational acclimation to Fresno State.
  • The faculty host must be familiar with Fresno State Research protocol, such as Fresno State’s Human Subjects Research policy, if the visiting scholar plans to conduct research at Fresno State.  For a full list of compliance policies, please visit: 

Department Host Responsibilities

  • Maintaining regular communication with the visiting scholars;
  • Actively engaging the scholar to university events and ensuring they are included in university culture; 
  • Arranging logistics of visits, arrival, and departure of the scholar;
  • Encouraging research presentations.  Arranging for event rooms and times; publicizing events in appropriate venues; 
  • Assisting the scholar with securing living resources and help with adjustment to the local area, with the assistance of International Office staff 
  • Securing office and research space, computer equipment and any other resources aligned with the applicant’s research project. 
  • Immediately reporting a non-attending scholar to International Office,
  • Providing necessary equipment for the scholar (computers, research equipment, etc.) when available 

Exchange Visitor Responsibilities

  • As required by US Homeland Security, the scholar must maintain sufficient funds for the duration of the proposed activity including funding support for family members, if any. The scholar is required to provide evidence of personal funds in the amount of U.S. $2,000 per month and an additional $10,000 per dependent per year.   
  • Scholars are required to purchase a mandatory health insurance policy for themselves and dependents upon arrival.  The cost of the policy is the responsibility of the scholar. 
  • By the last month of the DS-2019 program date, the scholar is required to submit a report to summarize the visiting and cultural experiences at Fresno State and the United States. 
  • The scholar must inform Fresno State’s International Office when the following occurs:
  • Changes in financial support;
  • Planned travel outside of the United States.  The scholar is strongly cautioned that international travel during their program needs pre-approval.
  • Failure to obtain pre-approval may lead to the scholar being denied remittance to the United States; 
  • Changes of address, phone, email or emergency contact information;
  • Changing the program end date originally printed on the DS-2019;
  • Adding a dependent on their DS-2019;
  • Extending the date of their departure from the United States;
  • Planned transfer to another program or university;
  • Disclosure of compensation from a sponsor or third party for the activity that is part of the approved program; 
  • Any serious problems or controversy. 

Continuing and Global Education’s International Office Responsibilities

  • Screening J-1 exchange scholar applications for DS-2019 eligibility;
  • Issuing eligible J-1 DS-2019;
  • Ensuring that the visitor has the appropriate insurance per the government regulations; and 
  • Reporting the J-1 visitor’s arrival to SEVIS within 30 days of J-1’s program start date to Homeland Security. 

Inbound Scholar Application

Application materials are listed below:

  1. Engagement Plan:  After reading the responsibilities above, the faculty host/mentor, in cooperation with the department will author a plan for integrating the scholar into the department.  This plan should include courses in which the international scholar might guest lecture, colloquia that the scholar must present, or other responsibilities the scholar may have in the department during their visit.  
  2. Complete the Research Scholar Application form with the following information:
    • Complete name as it appears on your passport. Please clearly indicate which name is your last/family name, first/given name, and middle name.
    • Current email address
    • Current mailing address
    • City and country of birth
    • Date of birth
    • Country of Permanent Residence
    • Country of Citizenship
    • Name and department of the faculty member with whom you plan to conduct your research. Please forward this application to the faculty member hosting you and have him/her obtain the required signatures.
  3. The Scholar should author a cover letter summarizing their qualifications, research agenda and justification for choosing Fresno State as their host campus.
  4. Research Proposal: A one to three page research proposal including the topic of research and the dates requested to conduct research on our campus.  The research proposal must clearly identify if any Fresno State students will be used in research. The proposal must also clearly identify if other human subjects will be used in research, if the research will generate biohazards, use radiation, carry seeds, plants or animals across international borders, or utilize unmanned aerial systems (drones). The visiting scholar is bound by all university research policies including intellectual property, use of human subjects and conflicts of interest.  The researcher should familiarize themselves with all relevant policies and clearly state in their research proposal any potential variance from our established research protocols:  The university is required to enforce US Treasury Export Control: 
  5. Degree Certification: A photocopy of both the original and English versions of the diploma of the highest degree awarded to the applicant  (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate).
  6. Resume: A detailed curriculum vitae that includes all educational and professional accomplishments.
  7. Proof of English ability sufficient to carry out the proposed research. This may be in the form of a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)/ IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score or a letter of recommendation from a professor of English in their home country.
  8. Financial Support Documentation: A letter of financial guarantee on official letterhead in English, including the amount of financial support and the dates for which the support is offered.  This documentation should indicate whether funds from a foreign government are part of the individual’s support and the relationship of private sources.
    Note: Most scholars who come to our university are funded by sources such as sabbatical leave pay by the home institution or a grant from the scholar’s home country. However, if the visiting scholar is not receiving such financial support, they will need to submit a letter stating that they are self-funded along with a bank statement demonstrating sufficient funds to meet all needs for the duration of the US visit.
    Financial Support Standard:
    • J-1 visiting scholar, $2,000 per month; $24,000 a year.
    • J-2 dependent, $800 per month; $10,000 a year.
  9. Declaration of Previous Presence in the United States: The applicant will need to complete the Declaration of Presence form and include it in the package.
  10. Passport: A photocopy of the main page of the applicant’s passport including biographic information and photo.
  11. Dependent Information: If the applicant’s spouse or dependent children (under the age of 21) will accompany the scholar, then include the following documentation for each dependent family member:
    • Photocopy of the biographic page of each dependent’s passport
    • Complete name indicating each dependent’s last name, first name, and middle name.
    • Dependent’s relationship to the applicant (ie spouse, son/daughter)
    • Dependent’s city and country of birth
    • Dependent’s country of citizenship
    • Dependent’s country of permanent residence
  12. Invitation Letter from Department and approval letter/email from the dean of the School/College.

Applicants should allow at least three months for processing of all documents. Once the proposal has been assembled, the complete application is sent by the faculty host/mentor to Continuing and Global Education’s International Office for screening and issuance of DS-2019. Applicants will be sent a formal letter of invitation, a DS-2019 for the applicant and any dependent family members and general orientation information.  This information will be presented by the visiting scholar applicant to a US Embassy or US Consulate in application for a J-1 scholar visa.

If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Jasmine Cao in the International Office at