Visiting International Student Engaged in Research (VISER)

As a student in the VISER Program, you will engage in a full-time, supervised research project at the University of Washington that fulfills the educational objectives of the VISER Placement Plan. The duration of the project must be at least 13 months.

Program Requirements

VISER students are required to do all of the following:

  • Not remain at the UW longer than 24 months
  • Not seek admission to the UW as an undergraduate, graduate or professional student
  • Not enroll, audit or unofficially audit UW courses
  • Return to their home institution to obtain their degree
  • Pay all required fees
  • Participate fully in the research and cultural activities described in the VISER J-Visa Request and follow the terms of the J-1 visa and all UW policies

Failure to comply with all of these conditions will result in the student's termination from the VISER program.

Although VISER students cannot enroll in or audit UW classes, they may (with permission from their supervisor and the VISER office) occasionally and infrequently observe classroom lectures, if the topic specifically relates to their research. With permission from their supervisor, they may also participate in an English language course administered by an outside source or by UW International & English Language Programs, but only if the course does not interfere with their research activities.

A VISER student's research project may begin and end at any time and does not need to follow the UW academic calendar. Students must enter the United States within the 30-day period prior to the start date indicated in item #3 of the DS-2019. Note: Quarterly fees cannot be prorated if the research activity does not span a full quarter.

VISER students are not eligible for employment. Although they cannot receive wages or any type of payment for work, they may receive a stipend from the UW that requires no service expectations or employment relationship. Stipends are at the discretion of the UW department or program.

Health Insurance

As a VISER student researcher, you are required to purchase a health insurance policy through the University of Washington International Student Insurance Program before attending your required J-Visa Orientation at the UW. This insurance is required even if you have insurance from your home country. The VISER office will provide insurance enrollment instructions when you receive your DS-2019, and at the J-Visa Orientation you will submit a Statement of Compliance with Insurance Requirements that includes your policy number.

J-1 Visa Orientation

Register to attend the mandatory J-1 Visa Orientation the first Monday after you arrive. Bring the DS-2019 forms for you and any dependents along with a printout of your I-94 card, passport, Statement of Compliance and Seattle-area residence address to the orientation. You will receive the Statement of Compliance included with your DS-2019 after acceptance into the VISER program.

2017–18 VISER Research Placement Expenses

Expense Amount (USD)
Required UW Fees
UW Registration Fee
(quarterly fee paid to Registration Services upon arrival and each academic quarter after that)
$45 per quarter
Additional Charges
Student Health Insurance
(available and required only for student; full amount for duration of program paid directly to LewerMark Insurance company online in advance; Statement of Compliance required upon arrival)
$113 per month
UW Department Fees
(paid to department administrator if applicable)
UW Student Transit Pass
(optional; paid to Registration Services if desired)
$150 per quarter
Cost of Living
(government-mandated estimate of living expenses, which is not negotiable regardless of your living arrangements)
Cost of Living: Self $2,100 per month
Cost of Living: Spouse
(if applicable; includes required health insurance)
$1,200 per month
Cost of Living: Child/Children
(if applicable; includes required health insurance)
$600 per month

A student's expenses will depend on the length of their internship. Expense estimates include all full and partial months or quarters. Travel expenses to and from the U.S. are not included here, but should be planned for.

Applicants will be required to provide documentation (in English) that demonstrates they have sufficient funding to cover all expenses for their internship.

All expenses subject to change without notice.


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