International Services

The Tampa Office of International Services is now located in BEH 255. Please see our contact page for more details and the new walk-in schedule for services.

Application Process


Please note there is a new online request process that replaces ALL previous paper forms.

  1. USF department or faculty member decides to invite an international scholar to engage in research, teaching, observation or other appropriate academic activity at USF for duration of 1 week to 5 years.
    1. The department verifies that the scholar’s academic credentials are appropriate to the proposed academic activity.
    2. The department agrees to supervise the activity during the stay at USF and to arrange for office space and access to office equipment (computer, phone, etc.), as deemed appropriate to the proposed activity. (See the Department Responsibilities)
    3. The department sends the scholar an invitation letter. Here is a sample invitation letter, though you can use your own format.
  2. The department begins the online J-1 Scholar Application process (instructions below) three to six months prior to the planned start date at USF. This ensures that the scholar will have adequate time to apply for the visa and arrange travel.

     The department will be asked to:
    1. Gather the scholar's full name, date of birth, gender, and email address, and any existing U#, to begin the online J-1 Scholar Application
    2. Enter the proposed program information. Form Preview & Scholar App Worksheet
    3. If the scholar is a medical doctor (physician), verify there will be no patient care or contact
    4. Verify English Language proficiency per US Department of State guidelines and USF Protocol. See the Scholar English Proficiency Requirements (PDF) for details.
    5. Receive USF Export Control certification.
    6. Provide faculty sponsor, department chair, and college dean approval via e-form electronic signatures.  All signatories must be USF employees as listed in USF’s HR database and have the ability to sign into the eforms using their USF Net ID. Requests from USF Health are forwarded to the appropriate USF Health Vice President.

    The scholar will need to provide:
    1. Copies of current passport biographical page for self and any accompanying dependents.
    2. Proof of funding such as: scholarship letter, home institution funding letter, USF offer letter, or personal/family bank statement.
    3. Their CV or detailed resume
    4. Proof of their highest degree level. (copy of diploma or transcripts – translated into English)
    5. Copy of the department invitation letter.
    6. If currently  inside the U.S.,: current visa stamp, I-94, and DS-2019’s OR If spent time as a J-1 in the past, all previous DS-2019’s
    7. Dependent information: Accompanying dependents are defined by immigration as spouse and children under 21 years of age. 
      1. If the dependents will live with the scholar for the majority of their stay at USF, OIS may issue a J-2 DS-2019. The scholar must provide an additional $5000 in funding per year for each dependent and purchase health insurance for all dependents for the duration of the scholar’s stay even if the dependents travel back and forth.
      2. If the dependents plan to visit for a short time or make several short visits, the scholar should consider using the visitor visa program for the dependents.
  3. OIS issues a DS-2019 within 10 business days of submission of a complete and correct online J-1 Scholar Applicaton
    1. OIS notifies the department to pick up the DS-2019 to send to the scholar via express mail. 
    2. This packet is sealed and should not be opened by the department.  The department may send additional departmental materials to the scholar with the sealed packet.

Detailed Instructions for Completing the Online Scholar Application Eforms

To get started with the online scholar application process, please follow the instructions below. See the J-1 Scholar Application Instruction for Departments.pdf for a detailed walkthrough of the process.
  1. Determine who the ‘department contact’ will be. The department contact is the person who will be responsible for logging into iStart and going through the online scholar application process. It might be a department administrator or the professor from the department who is inviting the scholar. It is okay to let an administrative person in the department handle the application, but please remember that the faculty sponsor is responsible for the scholar and the accuracy of the data.

    Important Notes:

    • College of Engineering: All scholar applications are required to be completed by Khoa Dinh. Please contact Khoa ( to begin the process.
    • College of Business: All scholar applications are required to be completed by Alex Miller or Barb Bushnell. Please contact one of them to begin the application process.
  2. The department contact will log in to We suggest creating a bookmark in your browser for easy access.
  3. If it is the first time the department contact has logged in, they will fill out the Department Access Request Form and then email the scholar advisor ( to let us know they’ve applied.
  4. Once we approve their access, the department contact should log back in to and begin the application process.
    1. Find the Add Person E-form to add the new scholar to the iStart system.
    2. Once the scholar is added, they can click on the J-1 Scholar App and Check-in link to officially begin the application process.
    3. Follow the instructions on each E-Form and at the top of the application page.

Getting the J Visa or J Status After Receiving the USF DS-2019(s)
  • Obtaining J-1 status outside the US:
    1. The scholar pays the SEVIS I-901 fee ( and applies for a J-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.
    2. The consulate officer approves the J-1 visa and the scholar makes travel plans to arrive in Florida.  Tampa International Airport is the closest airport to USF Tampa.
    3. The scholar and dependents may enter the US up to thirty (30) days before program start date on the DS-2019.
  • Obtaining J-1 status inside the US
    1. OIS contacts current J-1 program sponsor to arrange transfer of the scholar’s J-1 SEVIS record to USF. 
    2. The scholar’s category, subject/field code, and program objective cannot change. 
    3. USF will not have access to the SEVIS record to produce the final DS-2019 until the scholar arrives at USF.

Pre and Post Arrival to USF
  • Mandatory Document Check and Orientation
    • Scholars are notified via email to begin their iStart process to upload specific documents and provide information via eforms.
    • Scholars report any changes to their arrival date. Scholars must arrive on or before the arrival date on the DS-2019.
    • Scholars report to OIS for a mandatory Document Check during one of the days/times below.  Scholars who have not uploaded or completed all post arrival eforms in iStart, should arrive one hour early for assistance with eforms. During Document Check, OIS will “activate” the SEVIS record.  Two days (48 hours) after SEVIS activation, the Scholar can apply for an SSN number at the local SSA office.

      Day Time
      Monday 10:00am – 11:00am
      Tuesday 10:00am – 11:00am
      Thursday 1:00pm – 2:00pm
      Friday 10:00am – 11:00am
    • After Document Check, scholars may complete university procedures such as Right Start or department on-boarding.
    • OIS conducts Scholar Orientation on the second Tuesday of each month at 2pm. Note: The August 2019 session will instead occur on THURSDAY August 15 at 2 pm. Scholars are required to attend the next available session. J-2 dependent spouses are welcome to attend the orientation.
  • Airport Pick Up Resources:
  • Housing/Accommodations:
  • University systems
    • Scholars are assigned a U Number and USF Net ID that allows the department to provide them with access to internal computer systems, shared files, keys, USF email, and library services.
  • Cultural Engagement
    • OIS offers a full range of activities for scholars and their families during their stay at USF.  Scholars are notified via email. 
    • Departments are expected to include scholars in departmental meetings and events.
Upcoming Events
Guatemala: Current Conditions and Realities
Mon. Jul 22
Click Here>>
Education Abroad Program Launch
Tue. Sep 10
Click Here>>
Fall 2019 Education Abroad Fair
Thu. Sep 26
Click Here>>