Who is a Visiting Scholar?

A Visiting Scholar appointment is a non-paid, courtesy Purdue position. They do not receive a salary from Purdue but may be given a living stipend.

Departments may issue invitations to individuals to temporarily visit our campus as a visiting scholar if the department has formed the opinion that the invitation will support the individual in question in their pursuit of their research objectives, although often some alignment with Purdue research endeavors also may occur. 

Visiting Scholars may be international or US citizens - the appointment is not restricted to a specific citizenship status. meant to assist a non-US citizen in completing an objective required by their program.  

International Visiting Scholars may include: 

  • J-1 scholars, provided they hold the equivalent of a 4-year college degree
  • J-1 Visiting Undergraduate Students, provided they-
    • are currently enrolled in a qualifying college degree programin their home country
    • do not already otherwise hold a university degree
    • require the activities planned for the Purdue campus in order to complete their degree programs in the home country (in other words, but for the Purdue activities, the student woul dnot receive the degree), and
    • must return home to be conferred the degree. 
  • H-1B employees of Purdue's collaborating institutions and organizations, provided the indiviudal's involvement in Purdue activities is essential for the advancement of the collaboroative research endeavor as a whole,
  • J-1 students on Academic Training, provided
    • The visiting appointment at Purdue occurs after completion of their US degree or exchange student program, if they will receive funding from their home government during the appointment
  • F-1 or J-1 students, provided the visiting appointment at Purdue occurs before completing their US degree or program, AND provided:
    • They are not Purdue students AND
    • They have a letter from their US institution's international office permitting their stay at Purdue AND
    • One or both of these are true during their stay at Purdue:
      • They are receiving credit at their US institution AND/OR
      • They are paid by their US institution or their home government

Please note that as Visiting Scholars, they would receive an invitation letter, so the process to obtain permission to issue such a letter must be followed. In addition, the invitation letter must require their agreement to follow Purdue's policy regarding intellectual property as required by the Provost's office.


Who cannot be a Visiting Scholar?

Below is not an exhaustive list but represent typical cases of those requesting Visiting Scholar appointments that are not permitted to do so.

  • F-1 Students on OPT
  • J-2 Dependents (even with an EAD employment card)
  • F-2 Dependents
  • H-4 Dependents
  • B-1/B-2 Business Visitors/Tourists
  • WB/WT Waiver of Visitor Visa (also known as ESTA)

F-1 Students on OPT

Please note that F-1 students who have graduated and obtained Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment cards are not permitted Visiting Scholar appointments.

  • OPT regulations permit F-1 students to maintain their OPT status with a volunteer position, but Purdue's human resources department states that Visiting Scholar appointments do not qualify as a volunteer position.
  • OPT students are permitted a maximum of 90 days of unemployment from the start date of the employment card. If a Purdue department wishes to help a student avoid too many days of unemployment, they must offer the student a paid position.

J-2 Dependents

  • Before 2010, J-2's were permitted to be Visiting Scholars if they held an employment card.
  • US Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program officers clarified that J-2's do not have a program objective. Thus they cannot have courtesy positions such as Visiting Scholar positions.

B-1 or B-2 Visitors

International visitors to Purdue University who entered the US in any of the following may not be issued Visiting Appointments-

  • B-1 "Business Visitor" 
  • B-2 "Tourist" 
  • B-1/B-2 
  • "ESTA" 
  • Visa Waiver (which is not the same as being 'visa exempt' - which is what Canadians are)

All of the above terms refer to the same core two visa classifications in US law: tourst status, and business visitor status. Tourist and business visitor status are not compatible with visiting appointments.