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 received at least 51 percent of the total program expenses from your home government or home university, or your university has a written exchange agreement with the UW that has been 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 office 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 office will provide resources on how to connect with the UW academic department or program where you would like to conduct research or work-based learning. 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 UW host 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 receives 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 obtain your visa.
  4. The host department completes Parts A–B, E, H and K of the VISER J-Visa Request, and the student completes Parts C–E, G and I–J. Your home institution is required to complete Part F.
  5. Return the form via email to your UW host department, along with a copy of your passport ID page, financial documentation (English translation of bank statement and/or sponsor letter on letterhead) and official score report from TOEFL iBT (minimum score is 76) or IELTS (minimum score is 6.0). Other language proficiency test scores will not be accepted.
  6. Sign the VISER J-Visa Request by hand or electronically and send it back to the UW host department.
  7. The host department sends all application materials to the VISER office for review and processing. The VISER office will express mail your DS-2019 with information regarding insurance coverage, housing, transportation, how to set-up your UW Net ID and UW email and other resources. Some of this information will also be emailed to you.
  8. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for a J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate.
  9. Present the DS-2019 form at the visa appointment. Accompanying family members should bring their DS-2019s and apply for their J-2 visas at the same time.
  10. You must enter the United States on or within 30 days prior to the start date indicated 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 cannot enter the country by the start date, contact the VISER office immediately so that the DS-2019 can be updated and reissued.


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