J-1 Exchange Visitors

Pacific Lutheran University extends a warm welcome to its international scholars! The Exchange Visitors and Visiting Scholars are a valued part of the PLU community. The Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education is committed to providing support to our visiting scholars each year. We are here to provide assistance with campus logistics, as well as support with immigration services.

The broad purpose of the Exchange Visitor program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange in order to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

Exchange programs exist in a variety of formats and permit visitors to come to this country for a wide range of activities. Comprehensive information about the J-Visa Exchange Program can be found at http://j1visa.state.gov/.

Health Center Requirements: Exchange Visitors are required to complete a Medical History Record before their arrival or as soon as they arrive on campus. All international students, faculty, and scholars are required to have their immunizations up-to-date. The Health Center will review your Medical History Form and tell you if immunizations are needed. Please be prepared to incur additional costs for immunizations. Please inquire with the Health Center (health@plu.edu) as to how much you will be expected to pay.

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

PLU does not provide an International Student/Exchange Visitor Insurance Plan. Visiting Scholars should be prepared to purchase their own insurance for the duration of their program.

Exchange Visitors may be subject to the regulations of the Affordable Care Act.

Arrival Upon arrival to PLU, exchange visitors must report to the Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education for introductions, orientation, and immigration reporting. A staff member at the Wang Center will need to make a copy of your DS-2019, I-94 Card, Passport, and Visa. She will also review your insurance policy with you at this time. Once this process is finished, you will be given a tour of campus and get your picture taken for your PLU ID card. Please email the Wang Center (wangctr@plu.edu) to schedule a meeting time.


  • Visiting Scholars are invited to attend International Student Orientation. International Student Services conducts an orientation for incoming international students to PLU, and all Exchange Visitors are encouraged to attend as many relevant sessions of this orientation as possible.
  • For visiting professors and scholars, there is a fall faculty orientation and University conference. Please check with your supervisor as to if your attendance at these faculty sessions is mandatory

Food & Dining: Exchange Visitors, depending on if they are living on campus or off campus, can choose between a university meal plan, or can prepare their own meals. If you prefer to utilize the campus dining facilities, PLU Dining Dollars can be purchased. Please contact the Wang Center at (wangctr@plu.edu) if you prefer this method.

Living Arrangements: On-campus living arrangements are available. Some of our past scholars have resided in Hong International Hall. Learn more about on-campus housing options.

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.

Finances and Money: Upon your arrival, you are encouraged to open a checking or savings account when you are here. You can meet local banks at First Year Orientation, or the Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education is happy to assist you with finding a bank. The PLU Business Office will cash personal checks up to $75 with valid PLU ID.

Working at PLU: If you are employed by PLU, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. Short-term scholars employed by PLU 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. Before the program start date, please report to Payroll with a copy of your SSN application receipt or SSN number, and non-immigrant documents. If you are employed by PLU, it is important to note that PLU staff and faculty are paid at the end of each month, so please budget accordingly.

All non-citizens receiving payment from PLU are required to register with the Glacier Program. PLU’s Business Office will generate an automated email from the Glacier system that the individual should complete within 5 business days. Any visitors not employed by PLU and not eligible for an SSN must apply for an ITIN. The Business Office has developed a guide for paying non-US citizens.

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 $160 Visa fee and $180 SEVIS fee.

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 ineligibility 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.