Visiting International Student Engaged in Research (VISER)

Admission Requirements

To apply to the VISER Program, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • You are pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the United States
  • You have come to the United States primarily to engage in a student research project rather than to engage in employment or provide services
  • You are in good academic standing at your home institution
  • You have established a relationship with a UW department or center
  • You intend to return to your home institution after completion of the VISER project to finish your degree
  • You have a level of English language proficiency sufficient to perform successfully in the VISER program
  • You have at least 51 percent financial support of the total expenses from your home government or other non-personal/non-family sources, or your university is part of a written exchange agreement between the UW and the foreign educational institution, signed by the Vice Provost of Global Affairs
  • You have not previously held J-1 visa status as a non-student degree
  • You agree to comply with University of Washington policies, including the Student Conduct Code and intellectual property policies

Evidence of Language Proficiency

Applicants must demonstrate a higher level of English proficiency and have test scores meet the following minimums:76 TOEFL iBT, or 6.0 IELTS. English speaking countries are not exempt from this requirement. You will turn in these test scores with your VISER application. Copies not accepted.

  • Previous ESL coursework or English composition courses, even when taken in the United States, will not satisfy the English proficiency admission requirement.
  • An associate degree from a community college does not exempt applicants from submitting English proficiency exam scores. All applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores to be eligible for admission consideration.
  • International students currently enrolled in U.S. or Canadian schools must also submit official TOEFL or IELTS exam scores.
  • TOEFL code: 4854
  • IELTS: email with TRF registration number

Application Steps

The following steps are required for admission to the Visiting International Student Engaged in Research (VISER) program. You should allow at least 3–5 months to complete this process, including your visa interview. Be sure to turn in your completed sections of the VISER application and any additional paperwork to the UW host department or program in a timely manner, so that the complete application packet can be submitted to the VISER Coordinator at least 12 weeks before the start of the research project.

The following steps are required for admission to the VISER program. You should allow at least 3-5 months to complete this process (see the VISER Program Timeline for more details), including your visa interview:

  1. Contact the UW VISER Office ( for more information on the VISER program. The VISER Coordinator will give you resources on how to connect with the UW academic department or program where you would like to conduct research or work-based learning as an intern. The department should match the area of specialization in your degree program. (Note: Individuals who wish to enroll in coursework at the UW should not apply for an internship but instead contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office or the Graduate Admissions Office for information about applying as an international student.)
  2. If you and the department agree to the general goals of the internship, you will be interviewed by phone or in person or by your supervisor
  3. Working with your UW host supervisor, choose the start and end date of your internship. You must enter the United States on or 30-days before the start date listed on the VISER application and the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status–Form DS-2019 (DS-2019). Keep in mind that it may take up to 5 months for you, your UW host supervisor, and the UW to complete and process your VISER application. From the time the VISER Office receive your completed VISER Application from your UW host department, it can take another 4-6 weeks until you receive your DS-2019. The DS-2019 is the document you will use to complete your visa interview and later, obtain your visa.
  4. The host department completes Part A, B and C of the VISER J-Visa Request and the student completes Parts D through H. The student’s home institution is required to complete Part I. Do not complete Parts J through L.
  5. Return the form via mail or email to your UW host department, along with a copy of your passport ID page, financial documentation (bank statement and/or sponsor letter on letterhead – IN ENGLISH), a copy of your curriculum vitae or résumé, and official score/report from a standardize English test (minimum TOEFL 76; IELTS 6.0). Other language proficiency test scores will not be accepted.
  6. The academic department fills out a VISER Placement Plan (DS-7002) and emails it to you to sign and review.
  7. Sign the VISER Placement Plan with either a signature or electronic signature then email, scan or post mail the VISER Placement Plan to the UW host department. Leave the Sponsor signature blank.
  8. The UW host department will communicate with the VISER Office of your selection for participation in the VISER program by submitting your completed VISER Application through email or UW campus mail.
  9. Within 4–6 weeks of receiving the completed VISER application paperwork, the VISER Office express mails the you the DS-2019 (prepared by UW International Scholars Operations [ISO] Office), and a welcome packet with helpful information regarding insurance, information on Seattle, transit help, how to find housing, how to set-up your Net ID and UW email, and other resources. Some of this information will be directly emailed to you.
  10. You pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for a J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate (the visa application will include the DS-2019 form).
  11. You must enter the United States on or within 30 days prior to the start date listed in item 3 of the DS-2019 form. You may not enter the country after the start date listed on the DS-2019. If you must enter the country after that date, inform IELP immediately so that the DS-2019 form can be updated and reissued.


We are happy to answer any questions you may have about applying to VISER.