For Visiting Scholars

University of Puget Sound welcomes international visitors and scholars from around the world. Lecturers, short term scholars and visiting scholars contribute a global perspective in the classroom and on campus. While in residence, Visiting Scholars pursue academic research and contribute to the intellectual life of the campus community.

Click on the following areas to learn more about preparing to be a visiting scholar at Puget Sound:

Pre-Departure Information

Visa Information

Arrival & Orientation

Housing & Dining

Finances, Tax & Employment

Driving

 Opening a Bank Account


Pre-Departure Information

Health Insurance: Exchange Visitors are required by the US government to have health insurance coverage for themselves and any
accompanying dependents for the entire length of their stay in the US. The minimum required is:
1. up to $100,000 per accident or illness
2. up to $ 25,000 for repatriation of remains
3. up to $50,000 for medical evacuation to the home country
4. and a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
Puget Sound has approved an International Student/Exchange Visitor Insurance Plan. A copy of this policy will be provided to you. Please read carefully and be prepared to purchase insurance upon arrival in the US.

*International Scholars and dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Transportation: The closest airport at PLU is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Airport pick-up service is convenient and available through Shuttle Express or Capital Aeroporter. A public transportation center is just 2 blocks from campus. To learn more about public transportation options, visit www.piercetransit.org.

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Visa Information

In order to make your visit successful, please allow enough time for processing the documents you will need to meet U.S. immigration requirements. We request that you complete either the B visa or J-1 visa form (depending upon your visa classification) to ensure that we have the information required prior to issuing a letter of invitation or DS-2019 Form. These forms include a checklist of the required documents. Please contact Allyson Lindsley in International Programs (Howarth 215) for all questions related to visas.

 

Visa Application:  Comprehensive Information about the Visa Process for Exchange Visitors can be found on the Department of State’s website: http://j1visa.state.gov/participants/. Exchange Visitor's are expected to to pay a $100 Visa fee and $180 SEVIS fee.

Entry to US: To enter the US in order to begin an exchange visitor program, carry the following documents: 

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay
  • J-1 (or J-2) visa stamp. (Canadian citizens are visa-exempt.)
  • DS-2019 Form
  • Receipt showing payment of SEVIS Fee
  • Documentation and the source and amount of your financial support
  • **You must enter no more than 30 days before your program start date listed on your DS-2019.  If you aren't able to enter the U.S. on or before your start date, please contact Allyson to request a new DS-2019 and you will enter using the new form.

12 and 24 Months Bar: Time spent in the United States as an Exchange Visitor (J-1 or J-2) may affect future eligibility for future J-1 categories. Such periods of ineligibilty are referred to the 12 and 24 month bar. These bars apply to the categories "Research Scholar" and "Professor", but do not apply to "Short Term Scholar" or "Specialist".

2 Year Home Residency Requirement: As an Exchange Visitor, you may be subject to the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement after completion of your program. Exchange Visitor subject to this requirement must return to their home country and be present for a aggregate of 2 years before returning to the U.S. in immigrant status, H Status, or L Status.

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Arrival and Orientation

Arrival: Exchange visitors must report to the International Programs Office for introductions, orientation, and immigration reporting. Allyson Lindsley, International Student and Scholar Advisor, will need to make a copy of your DS-2019, Passport, and Visa. She will also review your insurance policy and insurance bill with you at this time. Either Allyson or your Faculty host will take you to get your ID Card processed.

Depending on your activities at Puget Sound, you may be offered office space, a campus mailbox, and library access.  Your faculty host or Allyson will guide you through this process.

Orientation:

  • Visiting Scholars are invited to attend International Student Orientation if arriving at the beginning of the academic year.
  • For visiting professors and scholars, check with your faculty host to see which faculty meetings or orientations would be appropriate for you.
  • I-Connect: new international students and scholars are paired with a Puget Sound student to ease cultural adjustment and transition and for Puget Sound students to gain new cultural experiences on campus.  If you're interested in having an I-Connect partner, please let Allyson know.

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Housing and Dining at Puget Sound

Most of our visiting scholars choose to live off-campus and will have access to a kitchen.  Your department host or International Programs will help you find suitable housing arrangements.  Puget Sound has one dining hall on campus and several coffee shops. 

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Finances, Tax, and Employment

Working at Puget Sound:  If you are employed by Puget Sound, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number.  Short-term scholars employed by Puget Sound are recommended to apply for a Social Security Number in advance.  You may do so at your visa appointment.  More information can be found on this webpage. Any visitors not employed by Puget Sound and not eligible for an SSN must apply for an ITIN if receiving an honorarium.

Once you obtain a visa that allows payment of an honorarium or salary at Puget Sound, you will need to file tax paperwork with the university. In most cases, tax paperwork can only be filed after you are present on campus. IRS regulations require that the university examine and file the appropriate paperwork before any payment can be processed for our international visitors.

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 Driving

Driver's License
All drivers must have a valid driver's license. You may drive with an international driver's license obtained prior to your arrival, or a Washington State Driver's License. You are expected to be familiar with the laws for driving in the state of Washington. A Driver's Guide may be picked up from the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL).

If you apply for a Washington Driver's License, remember to take your identification (passport, DS -2019, home country driver's license, university identification card) with you. You must also take a copy of your SEVIS registration page in a sealed envelope. Three tests are required: vision, knowledge of laws, and driving. The fee for a new license is currently $89.00.

If you need to learn to drive, you will need a learner's permit. Study the driving handbook and pass the written test first. You can then be issued a learner's permit. This enables you to drive with anyone who has had more than five years of driving experience. The learner's permit is good for one year from the day of issue, and should give you enough time to prepare for your driving test.

Purchasing a Car
You may purchase a car from a recognized dealer who sells new and used cars or buy from an individual advertising through the newspaper. It is best to take an international student who has had the experience of buying a car, or an American friend with you!

If buying a used car it is best to take it to a reputable mechanic and pay to have the car checked. He can usually tell whether the price that is being asked is reasonable, whether the car needs repairs and, approximately what the repairs will cost. It is possible to check on-line to determine whether a car was previously in an accident. Having this information, you are better prepared to decide whether or not this is a reasonable deal for you.

Vehicle Insurance
Vehicle insurance in our state is required by law. The cost of insurance varies based on the year of the car, its make and model, and the driver's age, gender, and driving history. Sports cars are always the most expensive to insure. Unmarried males under the age of 25 in the U.S. also pay more because statistically they have the highest accident rate. When deciding on a car, keep these factors in mind.

Opening a Bank Account

If you plan to open a bank account, the following banks are nearby:

Bank of America
3408 S. 23rd St.
253.305.3000

Columbia Bank
2200 N. 30th St.
253.272.0412
&
1959 S. Union Ave.
253.627.6909

Key Bank
3917 N. 26th St.
253.593.3745
&
3501 S. 19th St.
253.593.3815

Umpqua Bank
2525 N. Proctor St.
253.926.4000

US Bank
3916 N. 26th St.
253.752.7786

Wells Fargo Bank
3607 6th Ave.
253.752.2340

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