Inviting International Visitors

If you are interested in a temporary research or teaching appointment at Cal Poly, please contact the academic department at Cal Poly associated with your field. The department will initiate the invitation process through the appropriate Dean’s office.

Inviting International Visitors to Cal Poly

International Students and Scholars (ISS) staff will assist in determining the best visa type for international visitors to Cal Poly.

Please email Susan Tripp ( or Judy Mitchell ( the name and email of the with the name and email of the visitor and the name of the faculty or staff member who will be assisting or supervising the visitor. ISS will initiate the sponsorship approval form and reply with the recommended visa type for the visitor. If the J-1 visa is determined to be the best visa type International Students and Scholars will guide the process and create visa eligibility documents for the visitor.

After reviewing the International Visitor Sponsorship Form, the International Center will notify the department or Dean's office contact that the J-1 visa is the appropriate visa for the visitor and the steps below are followed.

A master's student coming to do research can come in a scholar category. A bachelor’s student coming to do an internship at Cal Poly must use the Student Intern category and the department must follow the process for J-1 Interns. Cal Poly cannot sponsor visiting students to do internships off-campus unless they are exchange students qualifying for academic training after completing full-time.

1. Visitor completes online request form

International Students and Scholars emails the visitor with a link to the appropriate online request form, either the DS-2019 Request Form for professors or research scholars, or the J-1 Student Intern Request Form for undergraduate interns. In the online form, the visitor will provide information needed to produce the visa documents along with copy of the passport, résumé, and proof of funding. The scholar will indicate the Cal Poly faculty mentor who will be sent an email to complete the Exchange Visitor Mentor Agreement.

2. Invitation letter

Once the form is complete, International Students and Scholars will request your Dean’s Office for two original copies of an invitation letter (see samples below) specifying the terms of the arrangement. A scanned copy of the letter with the Dean’s signature is emailed to International Students and Scholars for review. If the appointment needs approval by Academic Personnel (a paid academic assignment for instance), please also send a copy of the approved appointment to International Students and Scholars.

3. Send DS-2019 and invitation letters to visitor

ISS will notify the Dean’s office when the visa eligibility documents are ready to send. The Dean’s office will send them via courier along with two original copies of the invitation letter.

4. Visitor signs and returns invitation letter

The International Center creates DS-2019, instruction letter and notifies Dean’s or Department office it is ready to send to visitor along with invitation letters (and Volunteer Assignment Form if a volunteer).

Visitor signs both copies of invitation letter and returns one copy to Dean’s office along with the Volunteer Assignment Form if applicable. Email scans should be sent to Dean’s office before putting paper copies in the post.

5. Additional forms

ISS will send the Export Compliance form to the mentor or intern supervisor if applicable. The Dean’s office initiates the Volunteer Assignment Form if the visitors are not paid by Cal Poly and verifies that it is fully signed.

6. Cal Poly ID and email account

When the Volunteer Assignment Form is completed, Academic Personnel (AP) will provide Empl ID when record is created. The academic department will submit an Affiliated Account Request to Information Services to request an email and portal account.
Affiliated Account Request (PDF).

7. Proof of Funding

All visiting scholars and interns must show they have funds to support themselves and any accompanying spouse or children during their stay.

The amount they must show to be issued a DS-2019 is estimated as follows:

  • Student Intern: $1900 per month
  • Research Scholar or Professor: $2100 per month
  • Spouse: $500 per month
  • Children: $250 each per month

The sources of funding can vary and documentation of the funds will be submitted to the International Center along with the online forms. Tax returns and long-term investment accounts are not acceptable financial documents.

Sample Letters


Sample Letters


See the Volunteer Program for more information about inviting non-paid scholars and interns

If the visitor is to be paid, Academic Personnel will need to approve the appointment by seeing the offer letter.

The visitor must complete their check-in process with ISS prior to going to the Social Security office to apply for the SSN and card.

Receipt for Payroll

The visitor will need to provide Cal Poly payroll with a receipt for applying for a Social Security Card no later than 3 days after the start of work. The visitor should arrive early to apply for the card in order to be paid. It can take about two weeks to receive the card.

For short stays up to 90 days, a scholar (not a student) may try to visit on a B-1 visitor visa for business.

Many U.S. Embassies will insist on the J-1 visa so it is best to only try for entry in the B-1 visa category using ESTA Visa Waiver. See the list of countries online whose citizens qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. If it is determined that the visitor will come on a B-1 visa, the process is much simpler.

1. Invitation Letter

The Dean's office will issue an invitation letter (see samples below)

2. Signed copy

Department sends signed copy of offer letter and V-1 (if volunteer) to Academic Personnel to create a PeopleSoft entry for the visitor.

3. Visitor completes International Visitor Registration Form

All visitors on B-1 / B-2 visas or Visa Waivers must register their visit.

Sample Letters


See the Volunteer Program for more information about inviting non-paid scholars and interns


Please contact Judy Mitchell ( or Susan Tripp ( if you have any questions.